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Reflections: Father’s Advice to New Homeowners

Father’s Day last month has had me thinking a lot about my dad and how his influence was incredibly positive on my life, including my first real estate purchase. It was immensely comforting to know that I could lean on his experience and knowledge, and it helped to validate my purchase. I learned a lot about homeownership with his gentle hand guiding me, not just through life but through the mechanical and other kinds of workings of a home too. 
Dads are great at dispensing advice. That advice can be oh so valuable to widen one’s eyes or answer questions that naturally arise. Throughout my real estate career I have had the pleasure of hearing some of my clients’ fathers’ advice regarding a home purchase. When it is offered, it is from the heart, mostly through experienced eyes.  

I thought it might be fun‚ as well as helpful to home buyers, to share some of that advice that I have heard dads relay to their children about real estate.

  1. About Making Changes. I have heard many a dad say, “Live in the house for a year or two before you go making any changes to it.” They are not talking about cosmetic changes like paint or flooring, but major things like moving a wall or three. Their experience leads them to know that living in a home day to day might have you changing your mind several times.  If you make alterations too soon, you might later wish you had done them a different way.
  2. Regarding Buyer’s Remorse. Most buyers get the jitters at some point during a transaction.  Sometimes it happens before an offer is accepted. One of my clients’ fears were put to ease when their dad simply said, “Don’t worry about it. If you find out later on that you don’t really like this house, you can always sell it.” Those words of wisdom put the buyers at ease, alleviating the “forever” concern. I have found myself relating this to others more than once. Putting things in perspective seems to help simplify the large purchase.
  3. About Non-Decision Makers Influencing Decisions. Here is actually my own dad’s advice to my brother, who was intent on purchasing a fixer, fixer, fixer upper: “I don’t think I would show your mother the house until after you buy it,” Dad said. Wise advice because by the looks of that mess before the renovation she would have freaked out. Of course, to tell the truth, this little piece of wisdom came with some controversy after the closing when Mom finally heard of that fireside chat!    
  4. Regarding location. Location, location, location—right? Always front of mind when selecting a home. I remember one particular take on where the kids decided to settle that was pretty funny. I do forget whose dad said this, but even if I did remember, I wouldn’t dare to reveal who it was. This gentleman said to his children, “Move close enough to visit, but not close enough that the family will be just dropping by!”  
  5. Regarding repairs. “If you are buying a home, you should own a hammer.” The dad who said this was spot on; it’s so true! There are always things to do around a home. Even with the purchase of a new home there is at the least general maintenance. There will always be something to fix or stay on top of. If you can do it yourself, all the better.       
  6. Where to put things. “Keep a flashlight by the electrical box and a fire extinguisher handy.” Sound, commonsensical advice. When the breaker needs to be reset, it is nice to be able to see what you are doing. And on the rare chance that you would need a fire extinguisher, it’s super helpful to know exactly where to find it when there is no time to think!  
    Dads have a huge influence over home ownership because they have generally had invaluable experience. These are just a few fun tidbits of fatherly guidance that I have heard given to buyers over the years. There have been tons more. I hope when reading this, you will think of your dad with a smile, remembering the impact he has had on some of your most important decisions.

 written by Carol Ann Palmieri, of Al and Cal Realty Group, RE/MAX Executive Realty. Palmieri may be reached at 508-494-9061 or [email protected].

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