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Buying & Investing in Austin

Posted by Kevin Curtis on October 6, 2014
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How to Choose the Right Home that’s also a Good Investment?

Your home is your greatest asset, don’t make a mistake when you purchase your most important investment. It’s often hard to know where to start when you decide to buy a house. What neighborhood is right? How much should you pay for a house? What if you make a mistake and lose money? There are all valid concerns, so let’s look at some guidelines to follow.
First of all you should have already met with a mortgage broker or banker and gone over your finances so that you have a clear idea of what price range will feel comfortable for you. Make sure to take into consideration such factors as property taxes, homeowner fees, insurance, mortgage payments, and other regular costs.
Next you should decide which neighborhoods you would consider. What do you do regularly that is important for you to be close to? For example, do you want to live close to your family? To your church or other community center? How important is your drivetime to work? Do you want to be in a specific school district? Do you often go out in the evenings to restaurants or cultural events? Do you have any hobbies that you would like to pursue so that you might want to be near a lake or live in a neighborhood that offers golf courses or other amenities? Which neighborhoods have homes in the right price range? Spend some time thinking about what you do on a regular basis and what is important to you. Make a list of your priorities.
Next think about what style of house you hope to find. Would you like an older home? Or perhaps you would enjoy being in a brand new subdivision? What floorplan do you like? What features are important to you? A one or two story home? A large or small kitchen? The master bedroom up or downstairs? A new or updated master bathroom? How many bedrooms? Any special features such as a media room, a pool or separate guest accommodations? Make a list of “must have” and “would like to have” features. Would you be willing to remodel a home to add those features which you must have? You should be prepared to make some compromises as homes rarely come with all of the features you would like to have, but you should be able to find a home with most of the features that are important to you.
And now for the most emphasized real estate feature: location, location, location. It’s true that location is of utmost importance. No matter how fabulous a house is, it will always be on the same lot in the same neighborhood (unless you get into the home moving business…) Houses have the potential to be changed through remodeling, but the location will always remain the same. So it is important to consider the neighborhood and area.
Take a look at the neighborhood. Are you comfortable that you know what you need to know about the neighborhood? Is it convenient? Are the schools reasonably good (this is important for resale even if you don’t have children yourself)? Is it stable? Is it changing (either getting “gentrified” or going downhill)? Are the homes well maintained? Does the neighborhood seem to have the feeling you seek (you might want a friendly environment or perhaps you prefer neighbors who mind their own business)? Are there any changes that will be happening in the neighborhood or nearby (perhaps a new school or shopping center is being built? Or perhaps a landfill or factory is being planned?) What do you imagine the neighborhood and area will look like in 5 years? 10 years?
What about the lot? Does it have any particular feature that sets it apart from the other lots? Does it have a view? Is it on a cul-de-sac? Is it on a lake, river, greenbelt, park, or other special feature? Does it have a negative aspect (perhaps it backs up to a busy street or to commercial businesses)? I think that it is extremely important to take the lot features into consideration. I would prefer to see my clients buy a house that is not as nice on a great lot versus a great house on a lot with some negative characteristic. You can always remodel the house but you’ll never be able to change the lot.

Of course there are lots of considerations that are involved in finding just the right house and location. Some are related to how a house “feels” when we see it and are inside. That’s important, too, since it will be the focal point of your family’s time together and your own free time. So it’s important to make sure that the house feels right for you. Our clients often rely on us to help them negotiate all of these questions so that they can concentrate on the fun part of finding the home that feels just right since they know we are looking out for their best interests for them. Call us today and we can help you, too.