We’ve all heard the real estate mantra: location, location, location. However, this repetition is completely warranted, as it can’t be stressed enough how important location is to the value of a home.
Neighborhood obviously plays a role in a house’s value, but so does the location within that neighborhood. It’s generally best to find a house that is on the low price end in a good neighborhood. The reason for this is the already high-value homes in the area will help bring up the value of the others homes as well.
Research a neighborhood before casting any judgments on it, whether good or bad. While it may seem best to simply invest in an already “good” neighborhood, what does the future of that area look like? Have any large businesses moved in nearby that could affect the immediate vicinity and desirability? When looking for the right neighborhood, see if you can find any projections on where that area is headed. In some cases, the best bet could be to buy into an average neighborhood that shows promise.
Rub Off that Genie Lamp
The best place to start your house hunt is actually in your own mind. Before you pore over hundreds of listings online, first think about what you really want in a home. This is the fun part! Pull out a sheet (or sheets if needed!) of paper and jot down the things that make a house truly your dream home.
While it might seem simple to write down the things you want, it can be overwhelming to organize the what and why of your list. The best way to cut through the confusion is to break up the list into categories. Not everything you want in a house is about the physical appearance and location. Many elements are intangible, such as the feel of walking through the front door. Do you feel at home when you step through? If the house you are looking at is not staged, imagine what it would be like filled with furniture? Does it start getting a little cramped?
Is having a big yard critical to you? How important is the square footage of the house? Does a million-dollar-view matter?
One of the most important, and most amorphous, elements of a house is convenience. How this is defined will depend on the individual buyer. This is a good time to make another list, one that keeps track of your deal-breakers. Sometimes it’s easier to realize what you have to have in a home by thinking of the things you can’t do without.
Stay on Track
As listings catch your eye, ask yourself what it is that makes them jump out to you. Make note of these important things and add them to the wish list you made above. Now is the time to start browsing listings online and attending open-houses. Your wish list will keep you on track and free from distractions. Any time you get that good feeling looking at a house, notice what causes your excitement.
It’s a good idea to keep a list of the houses you like too. By doing this you can compare and contrast to discover the pros and cons you may have overlooked when viewing them individually.