With money in hand and agent by your side it’s now time to find the home of your dreams, but where do you start? The internet gives you the power to gather a surplus of information without leaving the comfort of your own home.
Your agent should be able to steer you in the right direction about the things to look for and communicate with them. You’ll be able to narrow down your likes and dislikes, determine what your money buys you, and give your agent powerful information to work while searching for your home.
Location! Location! Location is what we preach in the real estate industry, but what does that really mean.
The concept of location means so much more than what we tend to give focus. In addition to where a property is located in reference to something else (ie park, school, shopping), there are also physical and intangible factors that make location important as well.
To understand these other aspects of location we have to convince ourselves that real estate is a long term investment. Shows on our favorite cable channel often make property seem like a way to quickly convert money for a substantial return. Even as this may be true under the right circumstances it still remains that real estate is a long term investment whether it is for you or the person that will eventually buy the property.
The key take away is that this piece of property can’t be remade anywhere else and will become someone’s asset. In this context location now means something very different than how close one thing is to something else desirable as everyone has different desires as to what they would like to be close to.
Homebuyers and investors need to pay attention to more than a locations geographical reference and how updated a home is. The physical and intangible factors that enhance a location help us compromise with a locations geographical reference.
As you begin your search take note of the following ( in no particular order) :
–Taxes – Taxes play an important role in the upkeep of an area. Take the time to sit with your REALTOR and talk about tax values, what the property taxes pay for, and what this means for you.
–Sidewalks – Sidewalks are not just a way to get back and forth. They provide safety from traffic and help ward off intruders if they are actively used by the neighborhood. Sidewalks also are often the unmentioned meeting place for neighbors to get to know one another. This small sometimes unnoticed item plays a big role in making a neighborhood a community.
–Neighbors – Stop and speak to neighbors. People are probably the most important aspect of any location. In a short conversation it’s easy to tell how much neighbors care for one another and the neighborhood. Look at demographics, the character, and history.
–Greenery – Trees, landscaping, shrubs and flowers provide the character that helps make one location unique from another. This greenery also has to be taken care of by someone or a group of people. Signs of untrimmed shrubs or lack of landscaping can be obvious signs of a lack of pride and ownership.
–Street Lights – The cousins of sidewalks, street lights are another unnoticed safety tool. Before buying, take a ride around and see if that neighborhood looks the same.
–Maintenance – Well kept homes, lawns and parks are a good signal of a healthy community. Pay attention to drainage and trash.
–Parking – City and suburb parking is different, but its always best when it is controlled and managed.
–Accessibility – Streets, highways, signs, and roads are a direct impact on how practical a home is to someone. In Texas driving times and gas costs have to be considered.
–Schools – Sure taxes and politics play a role in schools, but pay more attention to the people and curriculum itself for yourself. School districts alone do not represent every school. Take time to visit the schools if you have children and get involved.
–Crime –There is going to be a group of knuckleheads no matter where you move and things happen. Take time to look deeper into what’s happening. If possible take the initiative to sway things in your direction.
–Property value – A property is only worth what the market is willing to pay for it. Pay attention to trends in value and projected value to ensure your money is protected. This is probably your most valuable asset.