The Perfect House: How Buyers see the Process of Buying a Home

Perfection is often defined as the condition, state, or quality of being free or as a free as possible from defects. Which brings me to the topic of the perfect house. The process of buying a home begins at several points. It may start with saving for a down payment. It may begin with the news that a baby is on the way. It might even come as the result of a new job. These and numerous other reasons spark a buyers search for what quickly morphs from a new home to the perfect house. Is there such a thing? Or is it something home buyers create in their own minds, ignoring many of the other characteristics of the houses they might be interested in?

I have occasionally quipped that too much HGTV is not good for those looking for a home. Cameras frame shots to seek out the best qualities while people touring homes make small talk about what they like and what they don’t. How often do the things they want changed involve a gallon of paint? These folks are often attempting to balance wants with needs in the hope of making an argument one way or the other about the property in question. That, in my opinion, is searching for a home to buy from the wrong direction.

Happiness in home buying is much more nuanced. While buyers have some sort of style in mind, or even some square footage they desire, they are often discouraged because the older home with character lacks the open concept kitchen they hear is so desirable on these television shows. People often look for the largest home for their dollar, pushing the budget to the max, only to find out they can’t afford to furnish it. But, believe it or not, studies suggest that isn’t what impacts your overall happiness. So what does if not the home’s features?

The answer, in a primary home purchase, may be the commute. A Scandinavian study conducted in 2008 titled “Stress That Doesn’t Pay: The Commuting Paradox” suggests that this may be the single biggest contribution to the happiness you might find in a home purchase. Noted economist Daniel Kahneman once suggested that commuting offers the lowest benefit or affect and highest negative affect for any activity we might consider a daily activity. That activity in the United States can drain up to 20% of the household income, which is more in some cases than the average food bill. Time spent traveling also has a personal cost as well.

While commuting distance is not the only factor that is overlooked in search of the perfect home, it is not something that should not be ignored. The cost of transportation will also consume a substantial portion of the household income. For some buyers, this is not worth considering, citing independence and the needs for a car no matter where they might live. But to those, one could argue the cost of environmental considerations.

In Central Oregon, and especially in the resort areas, commutes are non-issues especially when comparing to most other major housing markets. For some, their commutes are to those major housing markets where their professional lives are centered.

We will continue to explore some of these buyer paradoxes in future posts. Why? Because the pursuit of the perfect house, in what has repeatedly been called an historic interest rate environment, will push people to expect increasingly more happiness with the perfect house.

How can we assist you today?


On behalf of The Jones Group @ Sunriver Realty

Nola Horton-Jones, Principal Broker/Realtor | ABR, C-RIS, e-PRO, GREEN, RSPS, CCIM Candidate

Bryce Jones, Broker/Realtor | ABR, CRS, e-PRO, GREEN, GRI, RSPS, SFR

The Jones Group @ Sunriver Realty | 57057 Beaver Drive | Sunriver, OR 97707

Mobile: 541-420- 3725 | Mobile: 541-420- 4018 | Fax: 541-593- 5123



Licensed in Oregon