These are new terms to me that attempt to describe how people make decisions.
Satisficers are “those who make a decision or take action once their criteria are met. That doesn’t mean they’ll settle for mediocrity; their criteria can be very high; but as soon as they find the car, the hotel, or the pasta sauce that has the qualities they want, they’re satisfied.”
Maximizers, in contrast, “want to make the optimal decision. So even if they see a bicycle or a photographer that would seem to meet their requirements, they can’t make a decision until after they’ve examined every option, so they know they’re making the best possible choice.”
Like any behavioral or personality description, people are usually a blend of the two, or, might be a satisficer in some decisions and a maximizer in others. I see it all the time when I am helping people search for lake homes. Most of the time, couples make decisions the same way when it comes to real estate. If they aren’t on the same wavelength, it can be difficult.
The advent of the internet has helped the home search process in many ways. Obviously, viewing homes for sale online – along with the accompanying pictures, videos, and descriptions of homes has really changed the game. Beyond just the basics, as the years go by, more and more websites vie for the attention of eyeballs by adding more and more information that they think might help buyers make decisions on a home purchase.
For instance, school zoning is a really important part for many home purchases. So are crime rates, or distance to commuter trains. I get it, these type of metrics can be highly helpful to know, especially when you are coming from out of town. I totally understand why websites would post this information, and then once they do, buyers naturally might think these things matter. But, real estate is like politics in that it is all local. Clearly, here at Lake Martin, we are not too worried about how close our homes are to the nearest subway. Normally, lack of performance wouldn’t matter much, but if a buyer is coming from out of state and also comparing Lake Martin to other vacation areas, like Rosemary Beach, it could matter if we don’t score well on things like “walkability.” Even if walkability doesn’t matter here.
But, we at Lake Martin would score off of the charts on some factors that are hard to chart. Difficult to distill to data. Problematic to parse to a paradigm.
For instance, Lake Martin is very boatable. We don’t have to worry about tides or sharks or getting swept out to Cuba. The lake is pretty deep (in most places) and, thanks to local volunteers, the shallow spots are well marked. Also, in my opinion, Lake Martin is not “gross” or “snakey.” Let me tell you – the snakey factor is important and I get asked about it all of the time. How would you graph that?
Also, Lake Martin is a place that rallies around lost pets. That might seem kind of random, but I think it reflects well on our sense of community. When someone loses a pet around Lake Martin, I don’t care if you are a weekend renter or a lifelong resident, we respond. We try to tell you if we have seen your lost loved one. We get serious and we let you know that we care that you are hurting. Sincerely. Would you want to live in a place that was indifferent to your pleas of help to find Fido? I think not. Does lost pet rallying appear as a ranking on Zillow? No, but it should if it were possible.
So, whether you are a maximizer or a satisficer, if you are considering Lake Martin as a place that you might live, I would offer some advice. Satisficers – don’t settle too quickly on a lesser community. You might need to consider other metrics like boatability or pet rallying. Maximizers – once you realize how nice our lake is, go ahead and pull the trigger. There’s no need to search for a solution more perfect.
Note: I originally published this article in my column in Lake Magazine. I am proud to write about Lake Martin Real Estate for Lake Magazine and ACRE – the Alabama Center for Real Estate.