|Resale may be a better deal. It all depends on the market. If
there is a lot of product for sale in your price range, you may do better on a resale.
Again, think about location first. If the location is poor
and you can get the house for 10% to 20% below comparable properties and you like it, it
may be a deal. However, you will very likely need to price at the same discount when you
go to sell. Paying for a better location is usually a good investment.
To get the best deal on a resale house remember
that houses, like clothes, go in and out of style. If there are a lot of a particular type
of house on the market and they are slower to sell, you may get a better price. If you
have to buy what is "fashionable," you will pay top dollar because everyone else
wants it too!
The best house for your money usually needs some
cosmetic work. You can also save a lot of dollars if you can see past what most people
can't. Many perfectly fine houses with great floor plans, and good construction are simply
dirty, need a new paint job, new carpeting or some minor landscaping. They don't sell. If
you can do the painting, re-carpeting, cleaning, or tidy up the landscaping, you may be
able to stretch your dollars and buy more house. Those things are usually within the
budget of a first time home buyer, so keep your mind and your eyes open for such
opportunities. Any more than that and you may be talking about a major investment that you
probably can't afford.
You may be thinking, "If they aren't clean and
tidy, have they maintained the home?" That's what building inspectors are for, to
answer that very question. If you are interested in buying a home, paying for a building
inspection is always a good idea.
Next, ask about empty fields, or empty lots. What's
going in there? Stop by the planning and zoning office for a map. Strike up a conversation
with the help and get the inside information as well as the official line. You don't want
to move in and find out a major highway will be next door within the year!
Check out neighborhoods that are starting to
revive. Most areas have cycles. They start off wonderfully. The population ages,
the neighborhood may get slightly tacky. Young people start to buy as the older folks move
to warmer climates. Children start playing in the yards and it's ready to come back.
Typically, you see room additions, and improved landscaping. That might be a place of
growth. Walk the neighborhood, chat with folks.
When buying, watch for trends. Growth follows major
highways and train lines. In most towns, west and northwest is where the better
neighborhoods develop. There are some major exceptions, but check it out.
How do you look at a house? Start on the outside.
Do you like the neighborhood? Does that matter to you? Many people live inside the houses,
spend little time in their yard, and never socialize with their neighbors. In that case,
the neighborhood has significantly less importance.
Start with the other houses on the street. Are they
well maintained? That will affect resale when the time comes. A lot of people buy
primarily on curb appeal, and that includes the neighbors! Next look at the condition of
the driveway, and sidewalks. Concrete is expensive. Blacktop is more reasonable.
Up to the roof. Any shingles flapping in the
breeze? Are the gutters firmly attached? Does the exterior need paint? How much? Trim
alone is not too bad. The whole house? If you're not inclined to paint it yourself get an
estimate if everything else is right.
When you go inside, try to disregard the furnishing
and all decorations. The seller usually takes those things with them! Dont be swayed
by someone else's possessions.
That's one of the reasons that new homes sell so
well. They have been professionally decorated, and you think your home will look just like
that when you move in!
Before you get hung up in other details, check the
floor plan. That's the main thing after structural soundness. Does the house flow for you?
Can you imagine living there? If you spend all your time curled up in the family room (or
the living room) and it is tiny or has no sunshine, would you be happy there? If you love
to cook for lots of people and the kitchen is small, with little storage space, this may
not be the house for you!
New or Resale? Do your homework and research first.
Then the decision is up to you.
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