Do you trust yourself when it comes to choosing the right home? I am usually working to decode a client’s comfort levels when it comes to how much they want my opinion. I never want to come off pushy in any environment, yet some need a bit of a “heave-ho” when it comes to making a decision.
Today’s market has challenged every single personality style and those who are extremely decisive or thrive in the rush are winning this game. And I am fully convinced that “game” is an appropriate description of what you will experience if you are buying a home today.
Regardless of how quickly you choose to move on a home, here are some tried and true rules of real estate that will not steer you wrong. If you can weigh your decision against these five concepts, I feel confident you will secure a favorable outcome in the long run.
1. If you cannot keep this home for a minimum of five years, then you should rent. You do not have to stay in the home for five years, but you need to be fully prepared to rent the home if you get relocated or can no longer live there. Traditionally, you can expect to be able to sell a home and not have to bring money to closing if you have owned it for at least five years. I am not saying you will 100 percent make a penny, but you are very likely to have paid the mortgage down enough to offset your selling expenses and walk away.
2. Location is always king in real estate. You should always choose a location over the home amenities. Often, people want bigger, newer, nicer homes within their price range. I’m certain you will get way less house than you really wanted for your budget if you are buying in the most sought-after and desirable area. Do not be swayed by a “house” if it is located in a less desirable area. This is 100 percent the situation where less now will equal more later. Good areas rarely depreciate. Buy a small home that needs a little lipstick in the best area of town!
3. Avoid a home zoned for a poorly rated public school district. Kids or no kids, now or never, this is a big no-no. Even if you have kids and they are going to private schools. Schools are all publicly rated so it is easy to do the research in a new place. See concept number 2 for help with this one. I’m willing to bet that those expensive, tiny, old homes are zoned for a top-rated school district.
4. Buy something conforming to your area. This means going with the main style of your community. If 95 percent of the homes in your area are two-story brick, do not buy the only log cabin in the area. This is a great time to be boring and get what all the rest of the residents are getting! Conforming is good in this situation.
5. Look for properties in a walkable area. These would be communities with sidewalks or walking paths, parks and schools, shopping and restaurants, trails and lakes, and community amenities. Rural homes seem like a great idea, but it is sometimes isolating and the majority of the population genuinely does want to be near these things.
We all find ourselves in times where we are unsure of the future and real estate today seems to be one of those that can cause high anxiety about what you should do. You will always need a place to call home. Hopefully, these suggestions will help you feel like you can safely navigate a smart investment no matter what the market is doing.