Lake Ridge Virginia Real Estate News: The Perils of the Statistic Junkie Homebuyer

The Perils of the Statistic Junkie Homebuyer

The Internet is a wonderful place for those who love information and data.

Today's blog is about homes-buyers who feel the need to run spreadsheets.

Google Drive allows you to set up Spread Sheets to your hearts content for FREE.

You are admittedly a "Statistic Junkie."

  • Your mind works on overdrive compared to most consumers.
  • You can not make a purchase without information in great detail
  • You must check, chart and theorize every aspect of  your upcoming purchase.
  • You adjust for Age, Condition, Location, and Features 
  • You pride yourself on all the information you are gathering
  • You are used to comparing and preparing to negotiate and get the best deal.
  • You are uncomfortable if you cannot go through this exercise.

With all that said. You are, who you are. This is how you process. We get it!

Fair warning: You may face several heart breaking setbacks during your house hunting search.


  • Because buying a home is not like buying a car. ( unless of course you are buying a brand new tract home where everything is the same)
  • Prices, inventory and interest rates can change in the blink of an eye.
  • Each home is different, personalized and each sellers has a different need, motivation.
  • You can spend every night burning the midnight oil looking at homes you find online that look good to you. Run all your calculations, and then get ready to pull the trigger on one only to learn the buyer who saw the home the same day as you bought it three days ago.
  • You must do drive by's on homes you choose before you can really crunch the numbers.You could have the best priced home per square footage that looks great online. Only to learn when you drive by, the house has five barking dogs next door .(The house may be perfect but your lifestyle could suffer)
  • Over the years, I have seen Spread Sheet Junkie buyers go through the pain of loss so many times. Becoming so frustrated that they go through many agents blaming them because they felt the REALTOR didn't tell them the market was fast, or that they needed to act quicker or that they were upset because they felt pressured to make a decision.How do I find the right home at the right price


It's not your fault. It's how you think.


Unfortunately the message you receive will always be the same. "The real estate market doesn't care."

Chances are by the time you get from behind the computer and take a drive you will be seeing SOLD Signs in the rear view mirror.


The real estate market is very much like the  Stock Market. Say you want to buy shares of stock. After a great deal of research you are comfortable with a price. You hesitate and the price goes up. You are now mad and cannot afford or are unwilling to pay the price.

That's how the real estate market is. He who hesitates, crunches the numbers,vacillates, ponders, sleeps on it, looses to the buyer who is laser focused on their need, the lifestyle they want and the location. The Purchased the home you wanted and needed. OUCH!

My advice for anyone who is a "Statistical Junkie" and you are hoping to buy a home in 2015 before the interest rates increase. Align yourself with a local real estate specialist who has a proven track record of helping people successfully buy homes. Try to wrap your brain around the fact that a good REALTOR can be your best advocate. Help you negotiate the terms you need for the home that best fits the way you live, your budget and your needs. Isn't that what really matters?

If you need help, please reach out to us. Remember our goal is your goal. My number is 703-851-3085. Don't hesitate to pick and let's talk about your options. 



Peggy James
 My direct #:703-851-3085

Search homes for sale in or local Prince William County Virginia area and Eastern Fairfax County near Fort Belvoir Virginia.

Twins Selling Real Estate

"Our Goal is Your Goal!"

Twins Selling Real Estate EXIT Realty Associates 8998 C Lorton Station Blvd, Lorton Virginia 22079 Equal Housing Opportunity Call 703-851-3085
Comment balloon 52 commentsPeggy James • January 09 2015 06:13AM


I support being informed, data rich and able to dialog on the target subject

Posted by Richie Alan Naggar, agent & author (people first...then business Ran Right Realty ) over 3 years ago

Richie- I totally agree, however there has to be a balance. I know of two two home-buyers right now, who are loosing out on the homes they need because they are paralyzed by running the numbers. It is difficult to watch them spin through agents.



Posted by Peggy James, Woodbridge Virginia Area Real Estate Specialist (EXIT Realty Associates) over 3 years ago

Wow Peggy! I couldn't have said it better myself. I love helping the buyers who know what they need to make a decision, but sometimes speed is a huge factor. 

Posted by Dana Hollish Hill, Lead Associate Broker (Hollish Hill Group, Keller William Capital Properties) over 3 years ago

Well said Peggy! I hope that everyone finds a balance in 2015!

Posted by Bill Kennedy, Homes For Sale Greenville SC (Keller Williams Realty) over 3 years ago

Peggy, you've nailed it!  You snooze you lose - to buy or not to buy is so very easy to overthink.

Posted by Patricia Kennedy, Home in the Capital (RLAH Real Estate) over 3 years ago

I once had a buyer who prepared a spreadsheet for the different lenders he'd spoken with. It took him weeks to choose a product. Fortunately, the seller had requested a 90 day close so it all worked out but you are definitely right, one can overthink the options.

Posted by Tammie White, Broker, Franklin TN Homes for Sale (Franklin Homes Realty LLC) over 3 years ago

The market doesn't wait. Not making a choice is a choice. Reminds me of people I've known years ago who made lists of people they were considering marrying, with a pro and con column for each one. These are the people who never married, or married several times -- in their minds there's always something, or someone better that will come along. 

Posted by Pamela Seley, Residential Real Estate Agent serving SW RivCo CA (West Coast Realty Division) over 3 years ago

As Real Estate agents we all would like immediate gratification when working with buyers. Just doesn't happen that way. Just have to explain the pros and cons so hopefully they get it at some point.

Posted by Bill Reddington, Destin Florida Real Estate (Re/max Southern Realty) over 3 years ago

Patricia thanks for reading and suggesting my blog. Over thinker buyers have a hard time trusting. They want to get it right.  Good coaching can help. But it is so difficult to watch from afar when you know you can really, really help them.

Tammie- I can't even imagine! Luckily here in Virginia our time lines are quick. Five days to meet with a lender to finalize the loan you are going to use.

Pamela Saley- I like that. "Not making a choice is a choice!"

I'm going to have to add that one to my aresonal of quick responses.  Your comment made me laugh out loud. I've known ( dated in my past life) a few men like that. Guess what they are still unmarried and still looking. SMH

Posted by Peggy James, Woodbridge Virginia Area Real Estate Specialist (EXIT Realty Associates) over 3 years ago

I'm working with a client now who is very well-versed in all things, but he's emotional as all get up.  Analysis paralysis.

Posted by Carla Muss-Jacobs, RETIRED (RETIRED / State License is Inactive) over 3 years ago

I honestly can only think of 1 buyer that clearly fits this category in my years in real estate.  Not sure if he ever bought a house, certainly wasn't from me.

Posted by Tammy Lankford,, Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville (Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668) over 3 years ago

Most data is only as good as the person that posted it and then is only good if you know what to do with it. I see so many buyers come in with these lists and stats that get tossed aside quickly when realty sets in, 

Posted by Scott Godzyk, One of Manchester NH's Leading Agents (Godzyk Real Estate Services) over 3 years ago

Last week a potential client presented me with a spreadsheet.  He was trying to decide if he should use a Reverse or Forward Mortgage to purchase a home.  The spreadsheet was comprehensive, and he was weak on the variables for the Reverse Mortgage side of the spreadsheet.  I told him I could provide all the variables he needed, but couldn't assist him with analyzing his spreadsheet.  I've travelled down that road before, and it's a painful way of losing lots of time.

Posted by Raymond Denton, Simple Man (Academy Mortgage Corporation) over 3 years ago

They sometimes do not realize that data does not always tell you the whole story.

Posted by Russ Ravary ~ Metro Detroit Realtor call (248) 310-6239, Michigan homes for sale ~ (Real Estate One) over 3 years ago

Peggy James - paralysis of analysis!

Liked your quote --

"Chances are by the time you get from behind the computer and take a drive you will be seeing SOLD Signs in the rear view mirror."

Sometimes, it's even sooner - as they complete too much of analysis and search for the car keys, the status for the home is updated on computer 'Under Agreement!'!

Posted by Praful Thakkar, Andover, MA: Andover Luxury Homes For Sale (LAER Realty Partners) over 3 years ago

Great post! I've often run into clients who do this and try to convince me that their's is fair market value. I tell them FMV is what a buyer is willing to pay for a home and if they are continually below what are values other buyers are putting on homes, they will never buy a home.

Posted by Nina Hollander, Your Charlotte/Ballantyne/Waxhaw/Fort Mill Realtor (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage | Charlotte, NC) over 3 years ago

Peggy James . Like Nina, I tell my clients the same thing. I had one Buyer that was just arbitralily taking the price of condos and subtracting 10% from any potential offer because he felt that everyone overprices their homes. When asked why he said "that's what I would do".


Posted by Richard Robibero, ABR, SRS, Selling Your Home as if it were My Own! (Panorama R.E. Limited) over 3 years ago

The "bubble" caused a lot of Buyers to become instant statiticians. The informed Buyer is my favorite customer and if their criteria urges them to put offers out there all the better. Many do not have the wherewithal to suffer another 59% loss on the investment. Each compiles their own set of data to make the leap more palatable and I agree with them. I am not the one who's going to live there. 

Posted by Kevin J. May, Serving the Treasure & Paradise Coasts of Florida (Florida Supreme Realty) over 3 years ago

Great post~! I can see why Patricia included it this week in her summary!

Posted by Kristin Johnston - REALTOR®, Giving Back With Each Home Sold! (RE/MAX Realty Center ) over 3 years ago

Well said and some great analogies (coming from the Wealth Management world prior to real estate, I also use that investment analogies quite often).

Posted by Mike Belobradic, Your Trusted Advisor in Oakville Real Estate (Johnston & Daniel Oakville) over 3 years ago

Yes, I can see how it's not an exact science.  Afterall, humans are involved.

Posted by Debbie Gartner, The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers (The Flooring Girl) over 3 years ago

Hi, Peggy!  You can find this post on today's "Last Week's Favorites".

Posted by Patricia Kennedy, Home in the Capital (RLAH Real Estate) over 3 years ago

Hi Peggy,

Great post..caught on Patricia's favorites for the week. No doubt about it you snooze you lose!!

Posted by Dorie Dillard CRS GRI ABR, Serving Buyers & Sellers in NW Austin Real Estate (Coldwell Banker United Realtors® ~ 512.346.1799) over 3 years ago

I love this post. Have had this conversation with many buyers especially the engineer-types who only think in black or white. 

Posted by Paula McDonald, Magnolia Realty ~ Granbury, TX 936-203-0279 (Magnolia Realty ~ Granbury) over 3 years ago

If real estate couldl only be boiled down to numbers, then the best house would have the lowest price per square foot. Never gonna happen.

Posted by Richard Iarossi, Crofton MD Real Estate, Annapolis MD Real Estate (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage) over 3 years ago

Boy, haven't we all had a few of those. I have had people sit down in the middle of the front room of a house we are viewing and start to graph the possibilities! Ah Peggy James 

(I missed this; thank goodness I read Pat's "Last Week's Favorites on ActiveRain")

Posted by Paul S. Henderson, REALTOR®,CRS,, Tacoma Washington Agent/Broker & Market Authority! (RE/MAX Professionals.) over 3 years ago

Peggy ~ You are so right, numbers are only part of the equation.

Posted by Diane M. Phillips Realtor 443-286-4365, Specializing in Carroll Co., MD (Frankly Real Estate Inc.) over 3 years ago

Thank you for the well-written post. Indeed, one can overdo the graphing and planning and miss out on the very thing one wants.

Posted by Sylvia Jonathan, Broker Associate, SFR (Coldwell Banker Platinum Properties) over 3 years ago

I like those statistic junkies....I send them the listing of a property they considered for too long when it goes pending or when I notice it has actually closed escrow.

I'll drive the statistic junkie to see homes that they're analyzing as chances are I need to actually 'see' that property for a client who will pull that trigger instead of analyzing something to death.  I do CMAs when a buyer is making an offer...I know the hidden market nuances and that makes me the go to person for a buyer who wants, appreciates and needs my help.

Posted by Debbie McKnight, Mentoring to the future stars... (Deborah McKnight Real Estate) over 3 years ago

I was having flashback to a client I had that not only had "analysis paralysis" but a slew of family/friends advising them on the loan process, attorney, home inspection -  who had outdated information on "how real estate" works.  Coupled with a loan originator that was p/t, family member no longer active in real estate, etc. it was a transaction that went no where and everyone walked away dissatisfied.  I lost a commission but the potential buyer got stuck in a underwater home too small for their growing family with only their sense of being "right" and getting all the "right" advice.

Sometimes you can only help those that truly value our experience and professional advice.

Posted by Evelyn Santiago, Managing Broker Heart Realty Group, Inc., Passionate About Real Estate & Our Clients! (Heart Realty Group, Inc..) over 3 years ago

Data data data... Lots of data is speculative,  after all, it's what a buyer is able and willing. People these days over analyze rather than just moving forward probably because the market is more volatile and now a days people can get upside down pretty easy. While people may like Vegas, they definitely don't like to roll the dice on property even though there odds may be better.

Posted by Doyle Lee Austin Davison Iv, 28+ years serving Investors/Banks/Buyers/sellers (Surf City Realty 714-968-6767) over 3 years ago

This is so common with the engineers I have worked with.  My son is one of them.  He is buying a house this Spring.  Perhaps I should pity the Realtor that works with him; better yet, I'll send him your article.  This article is well written and to the point.  Thank you 

Posted by Mary M. Kandell (Russell Real Estate Services) over 3 years ago

I currently have a buyer couple and both are very much statistical driven with a very limited scope for value and location.  They have missed a couple of opportunities and at this point will hope that the spring market gives them an opportunity

Posted by Ed Silva, Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally (RE/MAX Professionals, CT 203-206-0754 ) over 3 years ago

Dear Peggy,

A home is not a commodity, that lends itself to this kind of analysis. You can probably find out which of, let's say three, homes is the best for you very quickly by deciding how well it fits your particular habits and needs. That is why Baskin Robbins has 31 flavors or more. Everyone likes something different. 

Posted by Dörte Engel, ABC - Annapolis, Bowie, Crofton & rest of Maryland (RE/MAX Leading Edge) over 3 years ago

Very well said and oh so true!

Posted by John DL Arendsen, Crest Backyard Homes "ADU" dealer & Contractor (CREST BACKYARD HOMES, ON THE LEVEL GENERAL & FACTORY BUILT HOME CONTRACTOR, TAG REAL ESTATE SALES & INVESTMENTS) over 3 years ago

I have been working with a buyer like that. Two trips to Florida have not brought results but we have not given up.

Posted by Gary L. Waters Broker Associate, Bucci Realty, Fifteen Years Experience in Brevard County (Bucci Realty, Inc.) over 3 years ago

Hello Peggy,

Relying on only one tool is generally not a good idea.  Running a spreadsheet can be an important tool though.  We bought a house, in a rising market, for $8k less than the sellers paid a year earlier.  Using a spreadhseet with key info as part of the negotiating process validated our offer. They realized they had overpaid a year earlier by a significant amount, due to the perceived urgency and their emotional buy-in. The spreadsheet was not the only reason but it helped close the deal. 

Posted by Mel Ahrens, MBA, Kelly Right Real Estate, Customized Choices for your Real Estate Needs (Kelly Right Real Estate) over 3 years ago

 Great point.  I tend to do spreadsheets for my investor clients.  They want to know bottom line.  When they think too much they loose.  Wants they get to know the market and trust us they started going on their gut more.

Posted by Gene Riemenschneider, Turning Houses into Homes (Home Point Real Estate) over 3 years ago

Great advice for anyone looking to buy a home...

Posted by Richard and Beth Witt, Long Island Cash Home Buyer 516-330-6940 (Long Island Cash Home Buyer) over 3 years ago

"The paralysis of analysis" slows many buyers down.

Sometimes we just have to learn to trust our gut.

Posted by Thomas McCombs (Century 21 HomeStar) over 3 years ago

Great article for first time buyers to read...Thanks for putting your thoughts together

Posted by Maya Garg, Moving you Forward.... Buyers, Sellers, Investors (Royal Lepage Signature Realty,Mississauga, Ontario) over 3 years ago

Engineer types by training and experience live in the world of mathematical modeling and looking for the best quantitative solutions, which can be extremely time consuming. They tend to never have enough data and relish talking, often to themselves, about the stengths and weaknesses of their derivations. While they are not uncomfortable with postponing their decisionmaking, qualitative analysis and intuition are often way out of their comfort zone. Consequently, they are apt to miss excellent purchase opportunities as many here  have experienced. 

Great post Peggy. You explain the situation very well and by gosh you did not even have to use statistics!

Posted by James (Jim) Lawson, DBA, Broker Associate, RSPS, BPOR, HI & PE ( LLC) over 3 years ago


Paralysis by analysis I call it. In our market lack of a decision means you get beat out by someone who does not need to analyze everything or think it over for a few days.


Posted by Jeff Dowler, CRS, The Southern California Relocation Dude - Carlsbad (Solutions Real Estate ) over 3 years ago

There's this past investor client who always wants pictures, data, etc. just to say it's not a good deal.  I send him quick, 5 min., spreadsheets. (Actually that's all I do for investors.)

Another investor just wants to know the address, the size, room count, and price, and he tells me yes or no on the spot.

Posted by Ernest Villafranca, 3923 Grand Ave. Oakland CA, 510-418-9443 (Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate ) over 3 years ago

I love that you two are twins!  It just makes me smile! I don't think I have met a statistical junkie buyer yet.  It sounds like it would be a nightmare!

Posted by Evelyn Johnston, The People You Know, Like and Trust! (Friends & Neighbors Real Estate) over 3 years ago

Hi Peggy,

Great article and very funny too, oh so true!!! The confused mind does nothing and the statistical junkie may very well lose out while they are looking at all the numbers and facts.  I myself have got caught up at times. LOL

Posted by Adele Langdon, Exclusive Realty Inc. over 3 years ago

I represented a research junkie late last year. He analyzed everything about each house so much he lost out on three homes before he was finally able to get an offer accepted. You snooze, you lose. 

Posted by Nicole Doty - Gilbert Real Estate Expert, Broker/Owner of Zion Realty (Zion Realty) over 3 years ago

You know people like this do not like change so interest rate fluctuations, other offers coming in, etc put these people in a tail spin. They are 'static types' just like their numbers on paper.

I think they crave security & not making a mistake which means in the end, you do nothing.

Posted by Lyn Sims, Schaumburg IL Real Estate (RE/MAX Suburban) over 3 years ago

There are lies, there are damn lies and then there are statistics.  I always tell buyers and sellers that statistics are certainly helpful.  Statistics don't write the check or sign the loan documents.  People do.  Real estate is not only a statistical analysis.  It is an emotional decision, unless you are selling to an investor who is looking for a specific return on investment.  Statistics also do not allow for differences in conditions, views, locations, etc.  They are pretty much square footage based. 

Posted by Donna Davis over 3 years ago

Oh gosh yes.  I've seen them.  They call me so we can review their spreadsheets.  (I'm a numbers fiend too so I can play with them).  One memorable client was reviewing standard deviations on asking prices versus sold prices in the past year or so.

Others will walk through homes with pen/paper and take notes, and it's all about numbers.

And then....then....then they walk into THE home. and that's it.  numbers don't matter.  As someone said to me this month "I REALLY want that one".

And the same is true for some sellers. They'll focus on numbers, but sometimes they find out more about the buyers, and then numbers aren't quite so important.

Posted by Claude Labbe, Realty for Your Busy Life (Real Living | At Home) over 3 years ago

A super post I came across among the many archieves and frequent bloggers. Thanks for being apart of Active Rain.-

Posted by Winston Heverly, GRI, ABR, SFR, CDPE, CIAS, PA (Winston Realty, Inc.) over 3 years ago

I had a software engineer looking for investment property.  He ran spreadsheet after spreadsheet... and never did buy.  Paralysis by analysis.  

Posted by Carol Williams, "Customized Mentoring & Marketing Services" (U.S.: I specialize in helping agents who have been in the business 2 years or less create a thriving business.) about 3 years ago