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Home Buyers’ Biggest Mistakes and Other Traps to Avoid

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By Kathleen Lynn

We’re pulled in a certain direction because we think that’s what we should do, but we don’t always listen to what actually would fit best in our lives.

Q: I’ve occasionally interviewed people who expanded their house or moved into a big house when their children are in high school, and I’m thinking, “In five or 10 years, you’re going to have a lot of extra space because the kids will be gone.”

A: Exactly. Take the long view of where you’re living and how your family might shift — both in terms of the downsizing when the kids move away or even getting bigger because maybe elderly parents might be moving in.

One of the things we try to encourage in the book is really looking at how you’re going to live in your space. What do you do on weekends, what do you do in evenings, where do you eat your meals? When you start to really look at those elements, you’re going to get closer to the home that’s the best fit.

Q: You say that buyers need to look at three things: function, cost and delight.

A: When you link all of these together, you end up with the most sustainable home in terms of livability. Does it work, does it have the number of bedrooms I need, is it close to where I need to be — that’s the function. If you’re focusing on cost, if you’re looking at a price point, you can get a price point. Delight — that’s the piece that’s not always allowed a seat at the table. If you add that in and balance it with cost and function, if you get the right mix of those, you hit a sweet spot.

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