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The Turn-key buyer

I had an interesting conversation with a fellow real estate colleage the other day about trends in our current market. We both began describing a trend that seems to be reappearing these days with buyers we encounter in the market, which is quite a bit different from the buyers we've come to know (and love) circa 2004-2006.

For the lack of a better term, I'm going to coin this buyer the "turn key buyer".

What is the Turn Key buyer? Well, it's more of a mindset or an attitude of a buyer, than the buyer itself. Going WAY back to the era of 2004-2005, I seemed to have nothing short of a running list of buyers who were looking for "that next great deal" in real estate. Wanting to find something that was in the "next up-coming neighborhood" that "needed a little work" or fixing-up. Their expectations weren't high, but their dreams were. Actually, their expectations usually matched their pocket books and mortgage pre-approval amounts (surprise!).

But today, there seems to be this new mixed-signal attitude from buyers. Even those that say "Christopher, I would consider a home that needs some fixing up, or some cosmetic improvements" don't ultimately mean it at the end of the day. Perhaps I'm slacking a bit on my job by not asking them to "clearly define" what their idea of cosmetic improvements is, so perhaps there is a disjoint in the levels of expectations right from the begininng. But, there are SO MANY great opportunities still out there!

The turn-key buyer is this new buyer who doesn't even want to paint a wall. If the house is perfect (meaning that it meets at least 85% of their major criteria in the price point they're shopping in) and has a wallpaper border going around the dining room that they wholeheartedly dislike, it's immediately rejected as an option. Carpet in a couple rooms that is worn or a color that doesn't go with their current bedspread causes them to run screaming from a well-priced home.

Why is that? Has the media beat into the minds of the public the idea of it being a "buyers market" to the point that buyers come to expect perfection? There truly is no such thing as the perfect turn-key house, yet it seems that is all that most people are out shopping for.

I guess my bottom line in this rant and rave is this: don't be afraid of a paint brush, don't fear peeling wallpaper, don't shy away form replacing tile or refinishing a hardwood floor or two. See these as OPPORTUNITY!


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