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THE ART OF COMPROMISE You Can’t Always Get What You Want

Terraced houses

“The moment you hit the market is the point where confusion sets in. Just like in life, what you think you want often isn’t the best choice for you.”

When buying real estate, knowing when to stand firm (and when not to) is key.

In everyday life, most people assume they’re good at compromise. After all, life is full of it: where to eat lunch with a workmate, buying shoes more useful than fabulous, picking out a car that’s practical instead of sporty.

But somehow, when approaching a real estate purchase, our ideas become fixed rather than fluid, and that’s what can throw us into a tizzy during the process.

For many, buying a place is about finding (the abode version of) The One – within reason. Out there is the house/apartment etc. that’s meant for you, exactly as imagined, waiting to be found.

Okay, maybe you’ll have to compromise on something like the garage (open instead of enclosed), or the shade of floorboards (wanted dark, ended up with light), but that’s life, slash the real estate game.

The moment you hit the market is the point where confusion sets in. Just like in life, what you think you want often isn’t the best choice for you. Potential buyers soon discover one of the biggest causes of stress when house hunting is indecision in the face of a call for compromise (or not).

Perhaps you find the exact place you want, every box ticked, except it’s three suburbs further from work, and family, than you wanted to live. Then you see the perfect place, a suburb closer, with an extra bathroom and bedroom, and cheaper, but in a townhouse design. Are you definitely set on a house, or, having seen this new option, is a townhouse suddenly more ideal?

Another quandary – two houses within streets of each other are your final choices. One is perfect, but you can’t move in for four months, meaning you need to find somewhere to rent. The other is almost perfect, noticeably cheaper, and you can move in straight away. What’s your decision?

Prioritising elements of the purchase, rather than having a locked down vision, is key, as is being open-minded from the outset. Otherwise by the end of the adventure, you’re bound to be so confused by the whirl of decisions, you’ll wish you’d thought it through more at the beginning, rather than cracking under the pressure and yelling yes or no willy-nilly in the moment.

House with a terrible kitchen, perfect lounge room and garden, or house with incredible kitchen, terrible garden, and okay lounge room? The place with the amazing vegetable garden, but no spare room, over the other place with a spare room and attached en suite, but no garden? Decisions, decisions.

Then there’s discovering an apartment so incredibly suited to your needs you can’t remember why you were determined to buy a house in the first place. Not to mention the buying process itself; hold firm on your offer because that budget is definite, or enter into the fray with a higher bid?

The best idea is to begin the real estate search with a list of the elements you’re looking for, sure, but to prioritise said list. You will probably compromise, and then compromise on your compromises… Or maybe know exactly when to put your foot down, and stand firm. Frankly, the whole process is a lot easier if you have an answer ready when someone asks if solar panels are a game changer.

GILLIAN O’MEAGHER