“Sometimes I don’t like being married to a realtor.” Oh no she didn’t? Yep, she went there alright. See, after casually looking for a new house for what seems like forever, we are finally going to pull the trigger on something this summer. Problem is I keep shooting down every house my wife falls in love with. She also told me that she wished she could just find a house she likes, get excited about it, and buy it. I told her that the reasons I shoot down some of the houses we’ve seen are for things she will thank me for years from now.
One of her favorite houses (and mine) backed to a big field full of tall trees……for now. I hit the PVA to see who owns that property and if it is inside the urban service area. The owner is a developer who has never had a truly successful project, so I shoot that one down. It would only be a matter of time before the bull dozers regrade that field and we’d have all the runoff potentially flooding the basement. It was zoned for single family housing, but zoning can be changed. Sure, the neighborhood’s HOA would have fought putting apartments back there, but you never know. Then there is resale value. If you pay a bit extra to have nothing behind you, you’ve lost that money once there are houses back there. NEXT!
Then, we find one we both really like. My issue there? There is a similar neighborhood right next to this one. No big deal, right? There is when there is a $50-75k price difference for a similar house. I wonder if in 10-15 years buyers will perceive a difference between the two neighborhoods, or at least enough to justify the price difference…..NEXT!
There is one she totally loves. Has a pool, kitchen in the basement, everything. Price isn’t bad for all that…..but, it is in an area surrounded by much cheaper houses. There are only about 10% of the houses in that area that are in our price range. The rest are about half the value. Never a good thing to have an island of more expensive houses surrounded by less expensive ones. Over time, the less expensive area is more likely to impact the values of the more expensive ones than the other way around, especially when there are more of the less expensive ones. Plus, right around the corner, there are a few streets with the same houses as the one we liked that are only about 5-6 years older and sell for much cheaper. I kind of think that once the newness wears off of this area, the prices will be more in line with the streets full of the slightly cheaper houses that are 5-6 years older. NEXT!!
So, now we are considering one that we both like due to the neighborhood. It is a good value. The area is old enough that the dust has settled and we shouldn’t have any surprises about its future. Problem with this one is that it is on the main road through the neighborhood and sits diagonal on its corner lot. I’m having a hard time thinking about being on the main drag of the neighborhood since I am always telling people that you’ll lose some buyers when you go to sell. Plus, the backyard is really small where the house sits diagonally on the lot. That doesn’t bother me personally, but you’re losing some buyers with several kids since it is not the backyard they will want. I’m only going to buy this one if I can get it at the low end of the comps since I will always have to sell it at the low end of the comps due to the lot and road. We’ll see.
I think my wife would sometimes like one of those realtors whose advertising says something like “Let me find the home of your dreams!” For some buyers and realtors, that is all they think a realtor needs to do. Take people out in a shiny car and open doors for them until the dream home is found. I often get listings from sellers who used an agent like that when they bought. All they knew was that they liked their house. The agent didn’t tell them that their lot sucked, their floor plan was odd, or anything that would have an effect on their ability to sell their house later……SEE HONEY, I’M JUST TAKING CARE OF YOU LIKE I DO ALL MY BUYERS!!
All joking aside, my wife knows I’m watching out for us. I shot down a great house when we last bought because there was a vacant field across the road. I looked at the zoning. It was so broad that practically anything could have been built there. Ground has just been broken for a large apartment complex in that field. The same house is for sale again for much less, and still hasn’t sold. Meanwhile, our current house has turned out to be a good investment because it is in a popular neighborhood with a good school district, and I bought it right.