Allen Norwood

Buyers want perfect homes

Young couples, even those buying their first homes on moderate incomes, sometimes can be powerfully picky about features and finishes. If the walls are the wrong color – or, heaven forfend, the kitchen isn’t decked out in granite and stainless steel – they’re not interested.

Some older buyers with more financial resources, meanwhile, can be less picky about colors and finishes – and even willing to tolerate some issues that might be more serious.

Sounds backward, doesn’t it?

It does, said Kelly Cahill, an experienced Realtor with Allen Tate’s Fort Mill office. But there are reasons for differences.

Cahill wasn’t labeling or pigeonholing her clients. She was fielding questions about which issues prospective buyers ought to look past when searching for a home.

Some minor turnoffs are easily correctable. You can change the wall color in a room for $50. Brass light fixtures are easy to replace. “Even the cost of granite is so inexpensive these days,” Cahill said.

But you can’t eliminate that loud street in front of a house, increase the size of the backyard or move the place to a different school district.

Cahill would explain all that to prospective buyers.

She said competing forces in the Charlotte market shape choices for prospective buyers.

On the one hand, inventory remains low. In October, there was less than a six-month supply of homes on the market across the regional multiple listing service. A six-month supply is generally considered balanced between buyers and sellers. In Mecklenburg, the low inventory was more dramatic: There was only a 3.4-month supply.

If you love the house, if it’s in your price range and favorite neighborhood and matches your checklist of must-haves, you might want to look past minor issues. You might not have umpteen more homes to choose from.

On the other hand, there’s a resurgence of the new-home market. Builders can offer incentives such as appliances and help with closing costs. New-home buyers can choose their colors and countertops, of course.

Some buyers are more willing than others to look past minor issues, though. Young buyers, especially those who’ve never owned before, might lack the skills, budget and time to tackle improvements, Cahill said.

Older buyers who’ve owned previous homes know which projects they can tackle themselves. They’re learned which features matter a lot to them and which matter less. They’ve learned to be, well, less picky.