Tips for New Buyers
When you are ready to buy a new home, or need assistance in helping to make that decision, it might be silly to tell you this, but start from the beginning. I'm telling you this because I don't know how many times I have found people touring homes on the open houses and NOT doing any of the required steps when beginning the buying process. Here is what I will recommend you do first.
Consider if Buying a Home is for You
Many people harbor secret fears about buying a home, and some of those fears are justified. Not everybody is cut out to own a home, and if you’re one of those people, it’s better to find this out now than when you’re under contract. Some of the questions you may ask yourself is how many years you plan to live there (minimum od five to seven years are recommendation), are you planning family or not, can you afford mortgage with your current paycheck or could you easily find another job in your area in the event of loosing your job. These are some examples.
Get Your Finances in Order
Line up your financing, set aside a down payment and study the loan programs available. By doing your homework, you will know exactly how much you can pay and what it will cost you.
When you first decide to buy a home, and plan on applying for a mortgage, immediately check your credit score. If you plan ahead, you will have enough time to correct any surprises and even work on improving your score. Talk to your lender and get pre-qualified.
Pick a Real Estate Broker to Help with Buying a Home
With so much information available online, you might wonder why you need a broker at all. But all local markets vary from one another, and a good real estate broker can guide you by giving you information based on experience and market knowledge.
While you're in the process of house hunting, all you want to do is find a keeper, get the keys and settle into your new life. But it pays to think long-term when buying a home because you're probably going to be selling it sometime in the future, and you want to get a good return on your investment. So, keeping certain factors in mind when purchasing a home is key to ensure that it has good resale value. Here's what you need to pay attention to.
People always emphasize "location, location, location" - and for good reason. You can change many things about a house, but not where it's located, so think wisely about where you're buying. If you choose a home in a desirable location, odds are that location will always attract a larger pool of home buyers. My recommendation is also to take into consideration walkability of the area: is the home close to schools, grocery stores, restaurants and parks? These neighborhood amenities can all have a lasting impact on your home's value.
Even if you do not have school-age children or do not intend to have children, you should pay attention to the local school system. When you sell the property, many of your potential buyers will have concerns of this nature. You can check which school is assigned to your targeted property by going online at www.greatschools.org
Homes with a view often sell at a premium above similar homes without a view. Check that into consideration.
Lot & Landscaping
Even though most real estate value is concentrated in the building, the lot is important, too. Level lots are the most desirable to buyers. Assuming the property is in a typical neighborhood, the lot should be rectangular. Odd shaped lots or oddly situated lots are harder to sell because use can be limited.
Yard sizes are and can be important for entertaining and raising families. Yards can be scarce in the city, so anytime you can find a house with a yard, patio and gardens, it will be more desirable.
An overly landscaped yard will cost you a premium. You will get your best value if the house is moderately landscaped or under-landscaped for the area. You can always improve the landscaping during your ownership by improving the grass and adding bushes and trees.
In each residential neighborhood, houses will vary in size and rooms, but they should not be too different. If resale value is an important consideration, you should not buy the largest model in the neighborhood. When determining market value, the homes nearest to yours are most important. If most of the nearby houses are smaller than your house, they can act as a drag on appreciation.
On the other hand, if you buy a small or medium house for the neighborhood, the larger homes can help pull up your value. This is one of those times where determining your “wants” versus your “needs” can be extremely important. Buying what you need in a more prestigious neighborhood may provide more financial reward than getting what you want in a less desirable neighborhood.
Although renovations can be made to change the layout of a home, they are time-consuming and costly. So try to find a space that's appealing and flexible.
Three and four bedroom houses are the most popular among homebuyers. If you can stick in the 3 to 4 bedroom range you will have more potential buyers when it comes time to resell.
There should always be at least two bathrooms in a house, preferably at least two and a half. One bathroom with a place to wash up for day-to-day visitors, one for the master bedroom, and at least one to be shared by the other bedrooms.
Closets, Garages, Laundry & Storage
Walk-in closets are extremely desirable for the master bedroom. For the rest of the house, just be sure there is plenty of closet space. Don’t forget space for linens and towels.
Garages add to the resale value and you should always make sure to get at least a two-car garage. Lately, three-car garages have become desirable in some areas of the country.
The laundry facilities should be located somewhere convenient on the main floor of the house, but not in a place it will create an eyesore. Think about whether you want to walk up and down stairs when carrying loads of laundry.
The kitchen is the most important room in the house. Family activity and entertainment centers around the kitchen. Larger kitchens are better, and they should be provided with modern appliances. The dining room and breakfast nook should be located adjacent to the kitchen. In newer houses, the family room should also be extremely close to the kitchen.
A great kitchen will have easy access to the back yard, as there will be occasions for barbecues and outdoor entertaining. In addition, the kitchen should be easily accessible to the garage so hauling groceries in from the car does not become a horrendous chore.
Consider a Cosmetic Fixer & Improve
Buyers shy away from cosmetically unattractive properties (the reason that so many homes are staged before marketing). An ugly duckling can often be improved with simple and inexpensive enhancements. You may find value in replacing a bad paint job, removing carpets to refinish hardwoods or overlooking clutter that can be removed. Reap the benefits on future resale value.
Whether you're buying a condo or a single-family home, you may have to pay fees on a regular basis, such as homeowner association or condo fees. Keep in mind that such fees can deter future buyers if they're too costly. It's also important to determine whether the community or building you're considering is in good financial standing with plenty of money earmarked for unexpected costs. If not, you're more likely to pay special assessments (extra fees required to pay for unexpected community projects, like landscaping or a new pool), which could also turn off potential future buyers.