Home Buying Part 2
Home buying can be an exciting, scary, unfamiliar, and difficult experience. For the five years that Matt and I have been married, we have rented and moved Every. Single. Year. A little bit about me, I have a hard time with committing to decisions. While I find it easy to commit in the relationships I am blessed with, I sometimes struggle with finding direction in the less consequential parts of life.
If I could, I would move to a new city and a new residence every year. I call myself a gypsy sometimes haha. Matt isn't that way at all. He is a builder and prefers to stay grounded in one place.
SO. . . you can see where my dilemma lies with home buying. I've been very hesitant about putting roots down someplace and calling it home for the long haul. Not only did the emotional aspects of buying a home give me pause, but until I entered the real estate industry all the details about the transaction seemed overwhelming as well.
I've been a real estate agent for over a year now, and I can confidently say that home buying isn't as scary as I once thought it was. I've learned a few things along the way, and as Matt and I decide on where to settle down, you can be certain I am going to make our first home-buying experience a great one.
Here are a few things we're keeping in mind as we look for our home. If you're doing a search of your own I think you might benefit from minding them too:
1. Location, Location, Location
I can't stress enough how important location is but I will do my best. Whether you are buying a home for the next five years or the next twenty, consider the location you're buying in and how attractive it will be to someone you will sell the home to down the road. A good location will tend to preserve and increase a home's value over time, while homes in outlying areas are more speculative in nature and are susceptible to price drops as the market fluctuates. Buyers usually want to be around shopping places, grocery stores, and freeways. Buy a home in an area that has quick access to these things.
2. Buy in the bottom price range of the neighborhood you want
Found a neighborhood you absolutely love? Buy the cheapest house in that neighborhood, because the value of your home will tend to appreciate at a faster rate than others around it. The home may need a little TLC, but thats okay! Because when you invest money into your casita, you're increasing the value of your home as you haven't hit the max of the comps in that area. You never want to be the most expensive home in your neighborhood, which will limit the amount that upgrades will add to the home's value.
3. Use a Real Estate Agent
I know I'm tooting my own horn here but let me explain the value of a real estate agent. Real estate agents have tools that the public doe not and can provide a valuable sounding board to help you make a well-educated decision. An often unseen value that realtors add is helping buyers stay true to their original home-buying goals when the emotions of the search are flaring up. Additionally, Realtor.com and Zillow often have outdated information on homes available for sale, and there's nothing worse than falling in love with a home that really isn't actually available for purchase. Using an agent gives you access to the history of the home, the average income in the neighborhood, realistic home value, comp analysis tools, etc. DISCLAIMER: Most agents have these tools, but not all. This is where you put your interviewing skills to the test and screen multiple agents before you decide on who to use. A good real estate agent will walk you through the entire process and handle the details for you, so you can stay focused on making the big decisions.
4. Home Insurance vs. Home Warranty - And what are they?
Before my real estate career, I didn't know the difference between Home Insurance and a Home Warranty. And who would!? But let me straighten this out for you so you know what you need when you buy your home. Home Insurance is coverage you can get from any insurance company that covers your home structure from natural disasters and unexpected events. So if a hurricane, tornado, or fire tears your house down Home Insurance covers you. So think Home Insurance = natural disasters, vandalism, theft.
On the other hand, a Home Warranty is coverage you get on your appliances such as the air conditioning unit and water heater. If your air conditioning unit goes out in 120 degree weather, your Home Warranty kicks in and it gets replaced, usually at no extra cost. Many home appliances are crazy expensive to pay for out of pocket. Do yourself a favor and get a Home Warranty.
5. Selling a home? Think like a retailer.
Lastly, when you decide to sell your home, take a step back and put on a fresh set of eyes to pretend you're seeing it for the first time and give yourself some honest feedback. The most important aspect of preparation is attention to curb appeal. Some new paint and a couple extra trips from the landscaper can go a long way. Additionally, it is probably worthwhile to spend a little extra cash for a stager. I know you love how you arranged your furniture but let them do their job and help you sell your home.
If you have any questions about the home buying process or need an agent to help you find your home, reach out to me and I'm happy to help in any way! :)