If I were to make fortune cookies with real estate advice in them, these would be some of the best ones:
1) “Don’t buy a 2 bedroom house.” They are harder to sell, especially in today’s computer age when most every buyer enters “3” for the minimum bedroom count on searches. A two bedroom listings is like playing Marco Polo alone. You’re shouting Marco, but there is nobody listening to reply with Polo.
2) “If you buy a house that has been on the market for a long time and is realistically prices, you will have the same thing happen to you when you go to sell.” I find usually that means there is something odd about the house that most buyers don’t want, or else it would have sold sooner.
3) “It is a good thing to be in multiple offers.” My experience tells me that when this happens in a slow market, you either have a fantastic house or one that is priced below market. When you go to sell you will either have a house that everybody wants or are buying it right, or maybe both!
4) “If you have to use the word ‘Except’ when you describe your purchase, it is a bad one.” Except is a code word meaning there is some major negative that will bite you on the bum if you need to sell in a slow market. “We got a great house…..EXCEPT for the tiny yard…..EXCEPT for backing to a wharehouse…..EXCEPT for being on a busy road.”
5) “Avoid a bad school district.” Now there are exceptions here….like a condo complex that appeals mainly to empty nesters, but if you have a house whose target buyer will have kids….it is important to them even if it wasn’t to you.
6) “A fixer upper isn’t always a bargain.” I learned this one the hard way. If you buy a house for 80% of the potential market value, but must spend the 20% savings to make it just as good as any other house on the street, all you have gained is experience that will help you if you ever decide to get into real estate.
7) “Buying the least house in the best neighborhood doesn’t always make sense.” This one runs contrary to what most people think. But the reality is that the typical buyer for the nicer neighborhood is going to find your house plain or too small. Your only real market will be to people who still believe that old generality about house buying. I see it all the time where people will pick the better house in a nice neighborhood before they pick less of a house in a better neighborhood for the same price.
8) “Don’t buy a house on a street you will have to spell every time you order pizza.” Just kidding with this one…..but I only bring this up because just about every street I have lived on I had to spell for everybody. As a kid, we lived on Castile Ct, which everybody thought was Castle. Then we lived on Lincoln, which shocked me how many people don’t know there are 2 L’s in Lincoln. Then I lived on Tanforan, which is some kind of race track somewhere. We would get mail to Tanfran, Fanforan, Panfram, and just about any other 2-3 syllable combination of vowels and consonants you could make. I thought I hit the jackpot when we lived on Kentucky St. I thought, finally, I have an address that isn’t a problem. But, the house number was seven, and I was always having to reassure everybody that yes, it was only a single digit. When we talked to people out-of-town, they would always be like, “Hey, you live in Kentucky and also on Kentucky Street!”
So, follow these rules and you should be on a good start to not losing your shirt when you need to sell!