Thursday, February 23, 2012

Buying A Home

It's springtime, when a lot of people are thinking of buying a home. This may be the first experience in home ownership for some, for others it will be a move up, a scale down, a relocation or a second home.  One thing is for sure, interest rates are terrific and if you are in the market to buy a home, now is a good time!

The old Realtor's mantra of Location...location...location still holds true today.  You may not get as much for your money in a more desireable location, but the trade off is worth it. The location may be closer to a city, lower tax rate or a better school system, but location is king.

Infact...the #1 regret of buyers is that they didn't check out the location better. The reason?  Not what you think, I bet.  It's because of commuting time to work.  People that have a long commute time report lower satisfaction with their home purchase.

#2 The next regret of buyers is that they didn't consider the windows. This is a bit of surprise to me.  Usually one takes windows for granted.  What the report shows is two-fold. The first being, the number of windows.  People generally like to live in light, bright homes.  They associate this with living in a cheery, happy home. If you have few windows or they face to the north, you are going to have a darker home.  The second idea on windows is the quality. Double pane windows are a must for energy conservation. Any condensation between the panes cuts down on the efficiency of the possible energy savings. Check to be certain they open and are not painted (or warped) shut also.

#3 The third regret of buyers is the neighborhood. For whatever reason, the neighborhood doesn't fit with their lifestyle. It may be due too much crime, not friendly enough, different age/interests groups, different ideas in how to keep up a neighborhood for appreciation. (Home Owner Associations help with this last one.)

Some house buying tips:
* Look at the house morning, noon and night so you can see what the house looks like at all times during the day.
* Walk the neighborhood at various times.  Make note of how you feel there, how it looks, what kind of cars people drive, what the kids are doing, how friendly they are, etc.
* Drive your commute; both going to work and coming home from work.  Do this during rush hour to simulate the real thing. Ask yourself if this is doable for tthe foreseeable future.
* Plan on owning your home 5-10 years to realize appreciation potential.
* Have a home inspection to determine if there are any structural defects.

** Three regrets of buyers is in a report by HGTV Magazine; Feb., 2012.

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