There are a couple of new shows on HGTV that I've watched a few times, House Hunters and Hidden Potential. These shows really tell me how much my buyers choose houses that THEY love and not choose houses for themselves that I love.
House Hunters is where they take people out and show them house after house. I remember when I first saw it, the people were given the choice of three houses and they had to make a decision. The last time I saw it, they made a comment to the effect of, "three weeks and several houses later, choice #4 is such and such house." That's great that they're now acknowledging that it takes more than seeing just a couple of houses to make a decision.
Hidden Potential is where you take a couple that has looked at several homes already and they're just not finding what they like in their price range. Typically, these buyers are trying to get into a pricey neighborhood for the lowest end of the price range possible and then they're not happy with the condition of the homes. Hidden Potential takes them to three houses with a designer and he completely redesigns the houses on his computer. Then the buyers go "WOW!" The problem with this show is that you take someone's budget of 300k, and you show them houses around $200k, but you show them $100k worth of improvements to the house. What they don't acknowledge is that if you're buying a house in a $200k neighborhood and you're putting in $100k of repair, you just over updated your house and there's a huge possibility that you're never going to see that money back on resale.
Anyway, back to the point of this post... On both of these shows, I listen to what the buyers are saying that they want and watch intently as the hosts are explaining the different features and the Hidden Potential of each house. I then make my educated guess on which house they should choose. I have been correct ONCE!! That's right, only once! Can you believe that?! This is my job, and it takes into account my degree in Psychology and I've been picking the wrong houses for these people all these years! It's no wonder why I get so shocked sometimes when my buyers call and say they want to write an offer on such and such property though I'm prepared for them to say the other property.
No matter how much training you've had over the years with reading people, most are still going to shock you with their decisions. I mean, a family that keeps talking about how they need more space and an extra bathroom actually "settles" for a 2 bedroom, 1 bath home just because they liked the designers plans... I don't get it. If I was the agent working with them, I would keep reminding them over and over again about resale and how 3 bedrooms and 2 full baths will resell so much better than a 2 bedroom with 1 bath any day of the week! My job is also to remind them that the point of their move was for more space and how does 2 bedrooms accomplish this. I wish they would do follow ups on these people later to see when they resell and why.
Does anyone do any better when guessing which houses these people are choosing on the shows?