7 Things for Home Buyers to Consider
are as follows:
1. Construction matters: Types of homes have much different costs to build and the value is not reflected equally by sales prices. One example I always give my first time buyers is a one level home that has 2,000 square feet costs much more than a two story 2,000 square foot home. The 2 story 2,000 square foot house has only a 1,000 square foot foundation and 1,000 square foot roof. The one level that is 2,000 square feet has 2,000 square feet of roof and foundation costs. Regardless of the style of home, I want my buyers obtaining a good value. After all, I want to help them sell when they are ready, so having equity is a strong plus.
2. Architecture matters: When you are young the multi-level with master upstairs and basement on a hill is a great way to maximize room for money. When you go to sell the property just realize you are limiting your buying audience to the same type of buyer and not the boomer post knee surgery buyer with loads of cash. The split-foyer design is very efficient for a buyer, but not the most desirable or valuable for the seller.
3. Location matters: Think about and drive your commute from where you are considering your purchase. How much of your precious time do you really want to spend in your car? Generally I am selling homes to 4th and 5th home buyers that are ready to spend more to shave cumulative hours from the road to be closer to their family and friends.
4. Nature matters: In a word “water”. I am not talking running water versus out house. I am talking water from the roof, drainage fields, underground springs, basement water proofing, landscaping issues, etc. In east Tennessee, we get a decent rainfall annually and the hilly terrain and varied soil types take a toll on unsuspecting home owners. Buyers with me today went into a beautiful home that just did not pass the “marble test”. The marble test in my mind is if we put a marble on a hard wood floor without a push, does it roll. If it does then the water may be compressing the soil in certain places and the foundation may be sinking in certain areas. We do not have sink holes like Florida or the pan clay like Texas, but we certainly see crawl space foundations moving where water has compressed the ground over years.
5. Inspection matters: Tennessee law requires ALL residential sellers to disclose known defects. Problems with a property that are not disclosed or known by the seller, can be discovered by your inspectors. A good written agreement should allow for all types of inspections prior to purchase. Recently I helped a young couple place a contract on a home. The house had a fairly strong cat odor. We explored possible solutions prior to inspection. Once the carpet was peeled back, we found that the urine was not just in one or two spots in the middle of the floor, it was in multiple corners of rooms. The urine had soaked into the supporting wall timbers and joists and to truly mitigate the issue by replacing the wood instead of encapsulation was estimated at $6,000. The seller not wanting to make up the difference we decided to back out of the deal at no expense to the buyer.
6. Ownership matters: True “ownership” is not having a mortgage. Your money is your business, but in the last 6 years I have seen the reality of people thinking their deed gives them rights beyond the lender’s. If you have mortgaged your property, remember you are being a steward of the bank’s property. If you are not “feeling” that, try missing 4 payments. Keep some cash reserves for maintenance and payment emergencies. ALL properties, even new homes require money for maintenance and repair. New homes may require window coverings, sometimes shower and towel rods, additional landscaping, etc. Slightly used homes may require repairs not covered by home warranties.
7. Evaluation of value matters: Do not get caught in the $ per square footage trap. They are good for “rules of thumb” but, A. Not all homes were created equal, B. Deferred maintenance is very expensive, C. Location, location, location
There are so many more than these 7 things for home buyers to consider. Take your time, be patient, realize that emotions do play a big part in choosing home. That is great! You should be “emotional” when considering a huge investment that will be your “Home” and where you choose to live life. Enjoy buying your new home!