The last couple of weekends have included a few hours helping our son decide what car to buy. We’ve been to this dealer and that, had him prequalified … and have driven a number of cars, usually with the all-chatty salesman in the backseat telling us exactly why this car is THE one to buy. We’ve driven some brand new cars and are now taking a look at a few that a just a couple of years old (Mom insisting that maybe the payment will be a bit easier on his monthly budget.)
Now that we’ve graduated to the used car market, I’ve been busy reading CarFax reports, looking over my son’s shoulder and hanging onto the passenger “Lord Help Me!” strap conveniently located just above most of the passenger windows. (Word to the wise … don’t ever go on a test drive with a 21-year old male …. )
Now that I’m safely home, I’ve been able to reflect on the disparity between buying a car and buying a house. We’re out driving around in a $18,000 car, testing the brakes, going around corners, up steep hills, accelerating on the freeway–all with a eye on making sure that the vehicle seems safe, feels good, and is worth going to the step of taking it to our trusted mechanic before going down the buying path.
However, buying a house … many times more expensive, doesn’t include that same test drive. There’s no chance to sit in the house long enough to decide if it’s drafty, cook a meal in the kitchen and see if the layout really truly works or pack the closets to see if the clothes all fit. All of those things are a bit subjective. We think it’ll work. We walk through the house–maybe a few times–then begin the purchase process. With careful thought and due diligence, we hire a trusted inspector to test and prod the house to reveal its strengths and weaknesses. We measure the rooms, sometimes draw them out on paper and hope everything fits.
But test drive? Nope. That’s reserved for much smaller purchases … like cars, trucks, and RVs.
As Agents/Brokers, it’s important to provide as many opportunities for our Buyer clients to look at a house at their own pace. To figuratively kick the tires, lay on the floor of the empty bedroom to see if the bed fits and stand in the pantry to evaluate the food storage. Because buying a home is truly the largest purchase they’ll ever make. It’s the best we can do .. their test drive begins the day they move in.
*photo courtesy of egg on stilts via Flickr