It wasn’t all that long ago that the typical buyer’s choice was between the one house on the market in their price range and no house at all.
We are now back to a much more normal market. Today’s buyer has the luxury of picking the best house among all that are on the market.
This post is mainly aimed at first time buyers, but holds true for any buyer really……its time for a refresher course on how to pick the right house and why!
To most of us, our home is our biggest asset. It’s how we build wealth. It’s where we live. It’s an expression of ourselves.
It can also be a noose around our necks if we need to sell in a tough market.
I got my real estate license in 2005. Many people who had used another realtor to buy their home would call me to sell it for them in the middle of the worst market in history. Back then I wondered why some of them chose the house they did. After seeing the frenzy of having no inventory for the past couple of years, I now see that their choice was the loser home they purchased or no home at all.
Back quickly to why the first time buyer needs to get it right. Most first time buyers are younger. Younger people tend to meet somebody and marry, start a family, climb the corporate ladder, accept a job somewhere else, etc. This means first time buyers typically don’t stay in their homes as long as they will for their subsequent homes. Also, the equity you have when you sell your first home will be used to buy your next home. You want to pick a house that will always be another buyer’s top choice because it will be easy to sell and will net you the most equity to apply towards your next home.
So let’s look at The LEXpert’s Guide to Picking a Home:
- NEVER compromise the lot. Things like a very steep driveway, the backyard with the Eiffel Tower looking electrical thing, a backyard that sharply slopes up or down hill, a house that backs to stuff like apartments/commercial/busy roads are big negatives. Try to find a fairly flat lot whose size seems normal or better than average for the neighborhood.
- NEVER compromise location. Within every price range, there are preferred choices for neighborhoods. Most of the time the preferences are for things like having shopping/dining/retail/parks close by, school district ratings, crime ratings. Try to pick one of the more desirable neighborhoods.
- NEVER buy the house that doesn’t somewhat conform to the other houses in the neighborhood. Buyer’s are usually looking at other houses in your neighborhood and know what is typical. If your house is lacking in something that is considered typical for your neighborhood, it can keep it from selling.
I could go on and on for days but I have found that these top 3 items will eliminate about half the houses on the market.
Why does it matter? Shouldn’t I just pick the house I like best? Because when a buyer has choices, they get pretty picky. If two identical houses are for sale for the same price and one has a steep driveway, which one are you picking? If two identical house are for sale for the same price and one backs up to the interstate, which one are you picking?
I know it is tough to do when your goal is finding a place you love, but think about that day when you need to sell it.