Buying a home is rarely ever about finding that one perfect, turnkey dream home. We’ve talked before about how all home buyers should make a list of must-haves and a list of nice-to-haves when shopping for a house, but what happens when those must-haves throw a kink in your plans? That’s when the art of compromise comes into play. “Buyers are lucky if a home checks off more than three-quarters of their ‘must-have’ list,” says one of our expert agents. Sometimes you have to make concessions in order to get the things that are most important to you. Let’s look at a few compromises that are worth making when searching for a new home.


Just about everyone wants to live in a safe, aesthetically pleasing neighborhood that’s within walking distance to most of their needs. Because location is one thing that cannot be changed about a house, it’s one of the key things that affects its value. That means if the home is in a prime location, you’re going to have to pay a premium price even for a house that’s too small for you. Most buyers are more willing to compromise on location before the size of the home. Your actual living space is probably more important than having the ability to walk to the grocery store.

Square Footage

On the flip side, maybe you want to downsize and move to a more convenient or more walkable area. Maybe you decide you can live without a guest room (that’s what hotels are for, right?) or a formal dining room or a home office. If the location of the house is more important to you than the living space, then perhaps you won’t mind giving up some square footage to get a home in the perfect neighborhood for you. A caveat: this option is more suited for established or small families without the possibility of future growth!

Outdoor Space

Lots of buyers come to us with the desire to find a house on “at least half an acre of land.” Some see themselves putting in gorgeous landscaping, a pool, and an awesome outdoor entertaining area. Others simply want enough room for the kids or dogs to run around and play. The truth is that you need—and will use—far less outdoor space than you think you do. When you think of all the mowing and weeding and other maintenance involved, it won’t be too difficult to make this compromise.

A Specific Style

Okay, so you’ve always loved the idea of a mid-century modern home with huge windows and fun 1950s and ’60s design details. But when you start to look into buying one, you might find the price of an upgraded, modernized one is a little out of your budget. So maybe you end up with a traditional brick ranch instead, and you actually love it. Honestly, a home’s style doesn’t belong on a “must-have” list, but it ends up there more often than not. Even less important are the smaller, changeable details. If you really want granite countertops or hardwood floors, they can always be put in at a later date. Finding a home that’s the right size and in the right location is far more important than a home’s style, which can always evolve later on down the road.

Compromise is a necessary thing in life. We compromise with ourselves, our partners, our colleagues, our kids… Sometimes you need a little give-and-take when it comes to house hunting too. Just remember before you start shopping for your new home that even if a house doesn’t check every box on your list, the compromise you make in one area might bring you a lot more value in another.


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