Once you’ve made the decision to buy a house, whether it’s your first or fifth, there are some things to keep in mind as you view possible new homes. You are a “good” client, so you’ve already spoken to a lender, and know what price range to narrow those choices down to. You most surely also have other criteria to narrow that search down further: a specific neighborhood or area of town, three bedrooms, at least two baths, covered parking, etc. But as you tour home after home, you also need to think like a seller, because one day you will be.
Since most home owners stay in a house for six to seven years, then move on, it’s likely that one day you’ll be trying to sell this house you’re now considering buying. So even though it has everything you require, ask yourself if you will be able to sell it easily years from now.
Many things make houses less appealing to a wide market of home buyers. Some of them have fatal flaws that, even if you can live with whatever is wrong, not a lot of other people can. These flaws make a house “buyer specific”, so while a few people might love the place, most won’t. Anything that lowers the number of potential buyers is a fatal flaw and might come back to haunt you when you’re trying to sell the place.
Here are some examples of what I’m talking about:
- Busy street: you might not mind a lot of traffic, especially if you don’t have pets or children. But most buyers rule out homes on major thoroughfares.
- Proximity to unpleasant neighbors: if the house is very close to big apartment or shopping complexes, a high school (think of football games and band practice), or an industrial plant, you can probably buy it at a good price, but don’t expect buyers to be fighting each other when it’s time for you to sell.
- Location on a Flood Plain: with all the nutsy weather we’re having these days, living next to a river, bayou, or drainage ditch that often overflows its banks may not be the best real estate decision.
- Low ceilings: You may only be 5’2″, so the ceilings don’t bother you, but you’ll be ruling out average height people and taller when you try to sell.
- Small kitchen: or any other idiosyncrasy that can’t be remedied. You may be fine with limited counter space and a 24″ oven because you never cook, but …. beginning to get the picture?
My job as your agent is to look out for your best interests. What may be a fatal flaw in one neighborhood, might be the norm and expected in another, and buyers looking there don’t care. All flaws aren’t fatal when it comes to houses, and it helps to have an agent who knows the area. That’s me!