Are You Really Ready to Buy or Sell a Home?
Your home. It's likely the biggest investment you will make in your lifetime. It can also be the biggest asset you own. So, making a move to buy or sell a home can be one of the most consequential decisions you make in your lifetime. Certainly, you will have a primary reason for doing either, but have you weighed other important considerations? There are guideposts that can help to ensure you are being necessarily thoughtful when approaching the purchase of a new home, or selling the one you're in.
Buying a home? Think about...
• Financials. How much can you afford in a down payment? If you put down less than 20%, you will pay a lot more for your house in fees like mortgage interest because lenders see you as a riskier buyer. Look at what the taxes and other fees, as well as maintenance costs, will be and how much you will need to save every month in addition to paying your house note.
• Growth. How long do you plan to stay in this home? As your family grows or your lifestyle changes, will this home be able to grow with you or will you find you will quickly outgrow the home? The flexibility of a home design and the opportunity to make expansions or remodel should be considered.
• Resale. How will your home fare in pricing to re-sell? If you buy the best home on the block or in the neighborhood, it will be harder to get a higher asking price. Look for homes located in a good school district, offer walkability to shops and restaurants or other community features, and have lower crime rates. These aspects will raise the value of your home and make it a real asset.
Selling a home? Think about...
• Pricing. Pricing your home correctly will save a considerable amount of angst and frustration. Aim too high and you will get little response. The market determines what your property is worth – what a buyer is willing to pay for a house comparable to yours. Work with your real estate professional to get your home priced right.
• Timing. In California's perennially hot markets, "peak season" for selling a home is virtually year-round so timing really means looking at aspects of different seasons. In late spring and summer, more buyers are trying to get into a home before school starts but this means greater competition with other properties for sale. Selling around the winter holidays may mean fewer buyers but it also makes a great home highly sought after – and potentially higher sale prices at this time of year.
• Financials. Preparing your home for sale may require repairs and even some renovations to maximize the value and the appeal to potential buyers. Do you have enough money set aside to invest in upping the value of your home? Talk to your real estate professional about key features buyers look for in a home, as well as where updates and upgrades will pay off.
Real estate moves are often an exciting new chapter in your life but it's important not to allow emotions to drive those decisions. Give serious consideration to all that is involved in the process and you will end up with a move that you can feel good about for years to come.