Lost Dog

A lost dog posting at Lake Martin puts neighbors on alert - that's worth something.

Are you a maximizer or a satisfier?

These are new terms to me that attempt to describe how people make decisions. 

Satisfiers 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 satisfiers in some decisions and maximizers 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 home purchases.

For instance, school zoning is a really important part of many home purchases. So are crime rates and distance to commuter trains. I get it: These types of metrics can be highly helpful, especially when coming from out of town. I totally understand why websites 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 is 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.

Then, too, we at Lake Martin would score off 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 snaky. Let me tell you – the snaky factor is important, and I get asked about it all of the time. How would you graph that?

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 we are weekend renters or lifelong residents: 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 satisfier, if you are considering Lake Martin as a place that you might live, I would offer some advice:

Satisfiers, 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.


John Coley is a broker and owner of Lake Martin Voice Realty.