Buyer's Articles – For the smart consumer

Factors to Consider Before Making an Offer
Before you make an offer on a home, you obviously need to know what the home has to offer in terms of location, size, number of rooms and amenities.  If you are buying for the first time, you may not realize that you also need to pay close attention to the list of comparables provided by your realtor.  If you don’t have a list, ask for one.  Also, find out how the homes in the same neighborhood are faring in terms of value and sales prices.  You can often find this information online,  and you can always ask your realtor to share this kind of information with you. 

The Condition of the Home
Condition is a huge factor in evaluating the price that you are willing to pay for a particular home.  While it may be counterbalanced by other factors, the home’s condition is one of the most important things to evaluate closely.  Just what makes up the condition of a home?  Here are some of the easiest things to factor in:

The Roof
The roof is one of the first things that you can assess about a home’s condition. If the roof is in very poor condition, it will be immediately obvious to most people. Missing slate or shingles, rotting wood, significant bowing, or moss growth may be just a few indicators that a roof will need to be replaced soon.  Once inside of the home, you can notice signs of leaking after a heavy rainstorm or snowstorm. 

The Windows
Windows are an expensive update.  Therefore, if a home desperately needs new windows, it is important to figure the replacement cost.  It is common to replace all of the home’s windows at the same time.  Consider the size and style of the home’s windows when determining your offer price.

Water Damage
Water damage anywhere in a home is probably one of the biggest resale-value killers.  Visible water damage, no matter how long it has been there, can be a sign of environmental hazards such as mold and mildew.  If the basement or crawlspace beneath a home smells musty, there is probably mildew somewhere in the area.  Look for black spotting along the foundation, in the corners, and where the walls meet the floor.  The presence of water damage or mildew should not necessarily prevent you from purchasing a home.  Just realize that, if it is present, you will need to make an effort to kill the mildew that is there and to present future water damage which can exacerbate the problem. 

The Kitchen
Today’s families spend more time in the kitchen than in almost any other room of a home.  Therefore, most buyers are looking for a large, spacious, up-to-date kitchen with the latest conveniences.  In very few cases, a home’s kitchen is considered only slightly.  In most cases, when you want to buy a home with resale value, look for a home with a great kitchen.  Spacious kitchens can be updated to increase the home’s resale value, but kitchen renovations are expensive. If you are purchasing a home with the intention of renovating the kitchen, install plenty of cabinets and the latest appliances.  This will definitely increase the value of any home in the eyes of potential buyers.

Fireplaces
Fireplaces are a common feature of family rooms and sometimes living rooms.  A family room with any kind of fireplace is attractive to buyers, but a living room fireplace is not going to add much to the resale value.  This is not to say that you should avoid homes with fireplaces, but it’s not something that is required to have a high resale value.

Inspect your home with a fine-toothed comb, paying attention to the details.  Repair or replace anything that needs it, because when potential buyers are viewing and valuing your home in the future, they will definitely notice and appreciate the TLC

Garages
Most families used to have just one car.  In contrast, today’s families generally have one car for each adult and often even a third car for older teens.  Therefore, homes that have limited parking areas are less desirable and have a lower resale value.  A single-car garage is great, but a home with two internal garages or a dual-car garage is much more desirable and will definitely add to the resale value.  The same is true for the driveway.  A wide driveway with the ability to park multiple cars side by side is preferred by most buyers, so keep your eyes open for homes that provide plenty of parking spaces.

Location of the Laundry Area
Laundry facilities housed in basement corners are definitely a thing of the past.  Today’s families are busy and prefer the convenience of having the laundry room on the main floor.  Often the area is quite small, with folding doors and enough space for the appliances and a small sink.  A more expansive laundry room with closets or space to hang clothing as it is taken out of the dryer will draw the attention of working people who do not want to carry heavy baskets of laundry throughout the house whenever they do laundry.

If you take the time to carefully shop for your next home, it is very likely that you will find the right home for your needs and wants.  If you are like millions of other buyers, resale value will be one of the things on your list of needs and wants. 

In addition to the factors mentioned above, there are other things to think about when looking for a home with a high resale value.  Carefully research the school district in the area where you will buy, as well as the home’s proximity to public transportation and where the area’s largest employers are located. The area where you are buying needs to be an area with good economic growth, or at least a stable economic climate.  Otherwise, your home probably will not achieve the resale amount that you need to satisfy your original mortgage should you opt to sell in only a few years.

Once you have purchased a home that you are confident will provide you with the resale value that you are seeking, there are a few things you can do to ensure that the value increases quickly.

First, inspect your home with a fine-toothed comb, paying attention to the details.  Repair or replace anything that needs it, because when potential buyers are viewing and valuing your home in the future, they will definitely notice and appreciate the TLC (tender loving care) that you showed to the home.

When you know what factors create a high resale value for a home, you are a more educated and prepared buyer.  Now is the time for you to find your next home.