Potential buyers spend a lot of time looking at homes online, touring open houses on the weekends, and talking to real estate agents. They’re focus is on finding the best home that meets their needs. The problem is, homebuyers sometimes don’t take the long view of a property. They’re only looking at a home as a potential buyer—and not as someone who, years down the road may also have to sell the property. As the home buying market starts to heat up again, here are some things you should consider when purchasing your next home:
Location, Location, Location: perhaps nothing is more important than location. Location is extremely important when it comes time to sell. You can have the worst house in the world with the ugliest kitchen and bath, but put it on a great block or in a good school district, and your home will be coveted. Location also matters on so many levels. At the highest level is the town where the house is located, then the school district, then the neighbourhood and the block. Keep all of this in mind when shopping for your new home.
The School District: the school district is up there on the list of what’s most important to many homebuyers. It’s not uncommon for buyers to start their search based solely on the school district they want to be in. parents want their children to go to the best school, which can drive up prices of homes in those districts. Even thought you might not have children, buying a home in a school district is always smart. If the schools are desirable, homes tend to hold their value. As a homeowner, you should always be aware of how schools are doing.
The Home’s Position on the Lot: where the home sits on the lot in relation to the street or the overgrown oak are key elements in picking out a home. In the case of a condo, an end unit vs. an interior unit is a key consideration. You may have chosen the most beautifully renovated home in the best school district and figure it’s all good. But if the main living areas are shaded by a neighbour’s extension or the master bedroom looks into the neighbour’s family room, you may have a location problem. Light or privacy may not be a big issue for you, but chances are, they might be a concern for a future buyer.
Crime: it’s a good idea to check the latest crime figures for a neighbourhood. It can give you a good snapshot about the number and severity of crimes over a period of time. So much information is online now that when you find your perfect home, a quick Internet search on the area should provide you with the much-needed information. Most municipalities post their crime statistics online. Don’t worry if you notice more crime that what you’d have expected. Crime, especially petty crime, is everywhere. If you’re new to the area, consult with your real estate agent if you have concerns.
Walkability: more than ever, ‘walkability’ is becoming a key factor in the home searching process. There are websites, apps and algorithms that help people figure out how walkable their future neighbourhood is. As people get out of their cars, they want a home in a walkable neighbourhood. People put high value on the ability to walk to a store, the gym, school, work or public transportation.
The Neighbourhood’s Character: you may have found the absolute most perfect home, on the block, in the best school district and on a great lot. But there could be circumstances outside your control that might make you reconsider—like, the character of the surrounding neighbourhood. Check out the area late at night, early morning and in the middle of the day. See if there are any odd weather or traffic patterns and try to observe some of the neighbours. You may even want to speak to some of the neighbours. It’s important to walk around, open your eyes and ears and make sure there isn’t anything you’re overlooking.
Don’t Buy the Best House on the Block: avoid buying the best house on the block because there may not be any room for your investment to grow. It’s better to buy the worse house on the best block, because you can improve the house to add value to an already great location.
Is It a Fixer-Upper?: if you’re buying a fixer-upper, make sure you understand what you’re getting into. Did you set out to buy a home that needed work? Or does the home just happen to be in the most desirable neighborhood, the block of your dreams? Do your homework upfront. If you want to build an extension or add another story to the property, make sure it is within local zoning or building codes. Have the property inspected so that you know exactly what you’re getting yourself into. Sometimes, what appears to be a simple kitchen needing cosmetic work turns out to be a huge project. Ask yourself repeatedly if your life can support a home renovation. Not only does a renovation take money, it takes time, energy and emotional stress.
Will the home hold its value?: a good real estate agent who’s been working the neighborhood for some time can vouch for the long-term value or investment potential of the property. But be sure to find ways to add value, or at least be certain the home will hold its value. The market may be strong when you purchase, but ask yourself, “Am I in a seller’s market?” “What would happen to this property if the market changed tomorrow”? Check out the median home value in the neighborhood as it compares to neighborhoods around it.
CENTURY 21 Miller Real Estate Ltd.
Brokerage Independently Owned and Operated
#4 Office in Canada
By Production CENTURY 21 Canada 2013
467 Speers Road, Oakville, ON L6K 3S4