Recently, we were invited to a wedding, and I was reminded that we needed to get the happy couple a gift. Tradition teaches me that you get a gift to help them “establish” a new home, which makes perfect sense for two young kids who are fresh out of college, for example, and they’re moving out of mom and dad’s house. The rub here, though, is that both the bride and groom have been living on their own for quite some time and had “established” their homes LONG ago. My bow to tradition notwithstanding, I was overruled and the search for a gift commenced.
Fortunately, there’s the Wedding Registry – and it’s online! As you know, it’s a helpful list of a bazillion things, hand picked by the bride and groom (read: by the bride), that lets you know what items they will “need” to start a home and begin their new life together. As I had already mentioned, both had homes and weren’t lacking in the housewares department. Oddly enough, though, when we went online to check out the several registries, housewares and furniture were exactly what they had on their lists. (We did notice that the groom had chosen some beer mugs from Crate & Barrel . . . but the @#$% quantities had already been purchased!) So, rather than trying to decide between the Casablanca Round Placemat and the Savoy Mocha Placemat (which, incidentally, is rectangular for all of those who are scoring at home) or between the Cookie Dough Scoop and the “Y” Peeler (yes, the letter Y was in quotations, and come to think of it, I’ve never had occasion to peel the letter Y or any other vowels for that matter), we decided to get them a crock pot, which wasn’t on the registry. You laugh now, but they’ll thank us when they’re looking to make a great chili to go with the hot dogs and beer at their first tailgate party as a married couple. We’ll be their heroes – we’re patient and can wait for the accolades from them.
Getting ready to buy a house (whether it’s your first or your fifth, a vacation property, or an investment) is very similar to compiling a wedding registry. You sit down and come up with a list of things you want and need – and depending on the persons involved, this list could kill a couple of large trees if one were to print it out. But that’s okay, because this is an exciting time and should be enjoyed. The fundamental difference, of course, is at a wedding, you wait to see what others have picked out for you; when buying a house, you have the ultimate say on what you will or won’t negotiate/trade to complete the transaction. This is where you separate the GREAT real estate agents from the good and the mediocre ones, too.
For example, at present, it’s mostly a seller’s market. The great agent, before she even puts you in a car to start looking at properties, is going to ask to see your “registry”. Because it’s a seller’s market, she’s going to tell you what will and won’t fly, and she’s going to be very firm about it – this is like the mother of the bride “reminding” the couple that a number of relatives who have been invited to the wedding won’t be able to afford even one place setting of jewel-encrusted flatware so they need to put something (like a crock pot, perhaps) on the registry. An agent’s job is to help you purchase a house. A great agent’s job is to do the legwork up front to determine what can be crossed off the wish list and what is absolutely NOT negotiable – and then she moves heaven and earth to get that for you.
At the wedding I mentioned at the beginning of this article, we didn’t stick around to watch them open their gifts, but I was really curious to see if they got a “Y” Peeler – because if they had, I would have insisted they show us all how one peels the letter Y, and that would NOT have been negotiable.