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Are buyers too picky these days?

Posted by Scott Van Voorhis September 12, 2012 10:54 AM

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It has been open season now for years on sellers. They are a favorite target in the comments section of this blog, often derided as greedily holding out for prices that made sense during the real estate bubble, but not in today's market.

And yes, some buyers are out of touch with market realities.

But what about buyers? After all, while some sellers may very well have unrealistic, ego-inflated expectations, some buyers may not know a good deal if it hit them over the head.

Some buyers, for example, are unwilling to deviate from their rigid idea of an acceptable home, or, for that matter, an acceptable town.

And more often than not, it is the 2,000-square-foot, four-bedroom colonial.

One recent home seller in the western burbs found this out firsthand - to her chagrin.

Her 1980s colonial was certainly spacious enough, 2,700 square feet, and well-kept.

But the lack of a fourth bedroom was clearly a nonnegotiable for many buyers, our recent home seller told me during a chat the other day. She recently found a buyer, but it took a couple years.

"I can't tell you how many people said, 'it's a nice house, but only if it had four bedrooms,'" she said. "I would bite my tongue."

Of course, who really needs four bedrooms in this day and age?

I guess I do, but I am in the minority, with three children. That counts for a large family these days when the average family has roughly two children.

Our children each have their own bedroom, but frankly bedroom is a perk - we bunked the girls together and could do it again.

Let's face it, the size of the average family has been on a steady decline since the baby boom in the years after World War II, yet the appetite for ever larger houses and more and more living space has only grown.

I think holding out for four bedrooms is silly - but that's just me.

I wonder how many buyers holding out for four bedrooms are of the getting-ready-to-start-a-family variety. They may be daydreaming about a house full of children, but aren't yet dealing with the reality of changing diapers and sleepless nights.

Is it foolish to hold out for four bedrooms? Can buyers here in inventory starved Greater Boston really afford to be picky?

What's your take?

This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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About boston real estate now
Scott Van Voorhis is a freelance writer who specializes in real estate and business issues.

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