It is all about location, location, location. And this one fact will determine the cost of your new home more than anything else. Many of you want to live in the trendiest areas when you should be looking in the up and coming areas that show the most potential for increasing home value.
When You Look at a Home’s Value There are Two Core Considerations
Market Appreciation – The market value of the home over time – Economic conditions, specific neighborhoods, tax rates, and local employment will determine this number.
Forced Appreciation – Is a way to increase the value of your property over a short period of time by upgrading things like kitchen, bathrooms or adding square footage. This is a sure fire way to protect your investment and increase the value of your property.
A Few More Considerations for Finding the Right Home
- Does your lifestyle match the neighborhood or community you are interested in?
- Is it urban, in the suburbs or rural?
- Does a noisy neighborhood bother you or invigorate you?
- Is it an easy commute to work, friends and family?
- Is there shopping, parks, activity areas and great schooling for my kids close by?
When you first start visiting neighborhoods, and you are looking for the “best neighborhoods in Atlanta”, take it all in. Have coffee at an outdoor cafe, have a picnic in a local park, explore the community and see the local sights to get a feel for the area. Consider visiting the area in the evening to see how the atmosphere is at night.
When you have settled on a few areas consider hiring a Real Estate Agent to start showing you some homes and give you a local take on the area’s strengths and weaknesses.
How to Assess Potential Value When Buying Real Estate
Finding the right home is often a stressful and emotional experience for most people even at the best of times. There are so many points to consider: schools, neighborhoods, livable space, age and the condition of the house, yards, exterior and so on. For many people they get caught up in the aesthetics of a home. If things are well painted, decorated and they can visually see their furniture fitting in the place without any difficulty – they fall in love with it.
This short sighted thinking can severely limit the potential of growth in your real estate investment. To maximize your return on investment you have to put your emotions aside and clearly think like a home appraiser would by evaluating a home’s potential. Are the home’s weaknesses only on the surface and can be easily fixed? Is the house priced low enough that you can make a few serious renovations like a new bathroom or kitchen if needed? Keep this top of mind when you’re house hunting and you will more easily spot home bargains that you can maximize the home value with.
Your home is your sanctuary, you spend a great deal of your life there so it has to match the way you live, work and entertain family/friends. The other way to look at your home is an investment that will pay dividends in the future. So you want to focus on increasing the value of your home gradually by choosing the right area to live in and potential future upgrades.
Making the Right Choices
Few homes are absolutely perfect for each person’s taste, here are a few things to consider:
- The age of the home: Late model home, turn-key, older, fixer-upper
- The Condition of the Home: Foundation problems, structural issues, larger expenses and upgrades required, or just some new paint and floors
- Bathrooms: Are you a larger family that needs more full bathrooms or can you live with less
- Bedrooms: Do you need multiple bedrooms or an office den or extra space
- Yard: Do you want to maintain a yard and gardens or do you prefer no maintenance
- Decks and Patios: Do you need a view of the city skyline or are you content with a few nice trees
- Create a Checklist: Include your must haves and what you can’t live without.
Home Search Pro Tips for Finding the Right Home
Once you found a great neighborhood you need a trustworthy realtor who can help you make informed choices:
- Focus on homes that are in your pre-approved price range
- Pay close attention to property taxes paid as this will affect your future payment
- Rely on your realtor to help you find homes that meet your criteria where you are actively searching
- Have your agent prepare an offer when you have settled on a home
- Negotiate through your realtor and don’t be afraid to to put forward a strong offer
- As a home buyer you are not obligated to paying commissions to the realtor, the seller will absorb this cost.
Pro Tips While You’re Visiting a Potential Home
- Bring a camera or smartphone to record the notes on each home you visit
- Take pictures of the exterior, yard and balconies, take pictures of each room
- Bring a measuring tape if you want to measure room sizes
- If you come across more serious issues make a note and take a picture for later reviewing
- Does the home check off most of your boxes?
- Is there opportunity for expansion?
- Does the home have good bones – meaning if I knock a wall down to make it open concept will it work, these types of details really matter
- How would the house look visually to you if all the walls were white, try to see past the aesthetics
- Just because they have furniture and decorating that does not meet your tastes this should not sway your decision
- Try to be open minded about your must haves and things you are willing to compromise on.