We have some houseguests with us this week — a family from our old haunts in Southern California (where the sky is blue every day and budgets have even less meaning than in Washington). They are on an extended vacation using their travel trailer (look it up if you’re not sure) and currently are parked in our driveway.
We were catching up last night over dinner at the Belvedere and it came out that the wife has been “helping” a mutual friend look for a home to purchase in Los Angeles. Our guests are renters but interested in buying in another few years. The husband was poking fun at his wife for shopping vicariously through the mutual friend and seemingly knowing every home on the market in the area.
We all shared a laugh, but the discussion reminded me of a real estate truism — there will always be what I call “2 a.m. shoppers” out there.
The 2 a.m. shopper is the person who starts poking around on the Web looking for a “good deal” home. Then it mutates into a sort of obsession, one that is fed by the easy availability of online tools today that will tell sold prices, neighborhood trends and estimated prices of any home out there. They begin poring over maps and listings throughout the night, appearing at the breakfast table with a pile of printouts to share.
In the last phase, the 2 a.m. shopper begins correcting everyone else in the room (especially Realtors; don’t ask me how I know) when the discussion inevitably turns to real estate.
The only cure I’m aware of is to actually close on a home and be faced with the remodel projects coming up.
Our friend from California is just the latest person I know of who’s been sucked into this vortex of data; I hear about this from our agents almost every week. Usually the wife, but sometimes the husband, is stricken by the need to research home prices sometimes two years before they plan to get a mortgage. In my observation, singles seem less prone to becoming 2 a.m. shoppers. Good for them, if that’s the case.
Do you know a 2 a.m. home shopper?
Jeff Geoghan is vice president of marketing and communications for Coldwell Banker Select Professionals and Select Services, based in Lancaster City, with 10 offices in eight Central Pennsylvania counties. Jeff lives in East Petersburg where he also serves as mayor. Jeff has been actively involved in local government and business and has been used as a source by local, regional and national publications.
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