Denver Real Estate Tips
Most people receive all sorts of advice from friends and family when they decide to purchase a home. The amount of information available on the web is astounding!
I've been selling real estate for many years now. I field questions from buyers and observe common mistakes quite frequently. Typically I try to educate my clients on the things they should be concerned with, particularly when it comes to buying a property they may regret.
Here are 10 things to consider when buying a home:
- Your Exit Strategy. You may be in the buying mode right now, but one day you will be in the selling mode. Make sure what you are buying will sell. By that I mean if you are in a family neighborhood where all the homes have 4+ bedrooms, don't be a maverick and buy a 2-bedroom house. Well don't do so unless you can live with the idea it will take longer to sell or don't fool yourself!
- How long do you plan to stay? Recently I sold a home where the owners made over a 50% profit in less than 2 years. This is an exception to the rule, certainly not the norm. The real estate market goes up and down. Generally if you have a secure job and plan to stay in the house 3 years or longer you should be fine. If your job is iffy and you're in a field that might require a relocation, I'd advise to buy with caution. You can buy, but be prepared that leaving might cost you.
- Buy with your head and not your heart. Buying a home in an emotional process. Sometimes buyers "fall in love" with a home that is priced well above their means. Yes, there maybe a way to get the sale done, but will you be happy if you have to forego furnishing the home and eating beans for a decade or two?
- Review the neighborhood demographics. Once when my kids were little we bought a home in a neighborhood where there were NO kids. None. Nada. Lucky for us after a few months the empty nesters started selling their homes and the neighborhood started turning over. So if you want playmates for your tykes, cruise the neighborhood for clues; swing sets, basketball hoops and bikes are good signs. Conversely if you are a young single looking for a neighborhood of the same, you can cruise with a different intend. Or ask me for the demographics of the area. I have access to all that!
- Look beyond the staging. When a homeowner moves out, so does all that pretty furniture and art work. You get plain vanilla. Visualize the home without the decor. Does the house still work for you?
- Consider ALL the costs. The house payment consists of Principle, Interest, Taxes and Insurance. You will also have utilities and maybe HOA fees. Additionally you need to plan to budget for those other expenses, exterior maintenance like paint, roof, windows, landscaping, fencing which might need repair or replacing. It happens to every house. If you don't keep it up it will deteriorate and your home value will go down. Homes where these things have just been replaced should be recognized for the value they bring to the table. Today we see so many Fix 'n Flip where all they have done is put a pretty dress on the house and ignore the expensive (to replace) components that aren't as romantic. It is called putting "lipstick on a pig."
- Cost of Exterior Maintenance. Some homes are easier to maintain than others. For example, a brick home will only need to have the trim painted where a frame home will need painting/stain all over. The difference in that can mean thousands of dollars. So yes, you will pay a little more for a brick home but over time you will gain that back plus some. In Colorado we see many 40-year tile roofs which are a better value than a regular asphalt roof. Once again there's value that's not exciting, until you consider the savings.
- Cost of a new home vs resale. Many people turn their noses up at resale homes because they prefer a new home. That's fine, just remember few new homes are completely finished. Oh I so learned that once when I had to dig deeper into my checkbook to pay for window coverings, sprinklers/landscaping and fencing! After that I looked at resales with a new appreciation!
- View, view, view! Colorado is known for its views, some are permanent and some are temporary. Just because a home has a view today doesn't mean it will be there tomorrow. No the mountains aren't sinking but subdivisions are growing and open space unless it's "dedicated open space" may have a bunch of big old house blocking that million dollar view next year!
- Open your mind! If you are looking for a deal don't pass over those homes with crappy pictures. Because the photos are crappy means the agent is a crappy photographer and the home may (or may not) be awesome. I can't tell you how many deals I've found for my clients where the agent didn't take the time to post good images of the house. It's a disservice we LOVE to find!
Please note, this simple list is not complete! A real estate purchase brings with it many individual needs. If you want to discuss your goals and how to properly align them, call/text/email me! I look forward to hearing from you.