Neil Picart, P.A, Realtor®…..

This is the hard part, choosing the right home.  Your home purchase is most likely the largest single purchase you will ever make.  The other thing that makes a home purchase different is the fact that you move to take possession of the purchase unlike every other purchase where once paid you take it with you to where you feel you can keep it safe.  Real estate is all about location, location, location, and Price. For every budget there is a location that will get you a good return on investment or conversely the bane of your existence until sold. 

A good return on investment is much more than capital appreciation, the value of the home increasing over the years.  Ask anyone who has lived in the same neighborhood for more than 10 years.  They will mention the neighbors, by name, the community, the activities that are accessible, the ease of access to whatever interests them, and a million other reasons why they love their home and neighborhood before they even mention how much the value of the home has appreciated over the years, if they mention it at all.

House-Hunting2So how do you hunt for that positive return on investment? Research, more specifically, field research, the kind that takes time and effort.  The kind that your realtor’s input will complement but not supplement.  You know what your likes and dislikes are.  You know what your family and friends are like. You know those basic values and releases that make it possible for you to go to work, put up with all the aggravations of life and still turn around and do it again.  Your home should be a place of refuge for you, for family, for friends and all that is most precious to you, not a white elephant with a mortgage just as heavy.

The best times to see a neighborhood are evenings, nights, weekend, and holidays.  Get out, drive the communities you think you want to live in.  If you like gardens, take note of the landscaping. If you are more of a lawn and go person do not purchase a home where every home has a well planned, and manicured garden before you even get to the driveway.  Drive by on trash day. Is this party central or pepto abysmal? You don’t have to comb through the trash just glance at what’s in the recycle bins as you cruise down the street. If you have children check out the school district website or schools in the neighborhood. Stop by the library, city hall, pick up a few of the local community papers. Are children playing in the yards or is everyone in witness protection? Are there groups of people just hanging out on every corner? Are the neighbors friendly? Did anyone wave to you while you drove by? Don’t rely on your realtor to choose your neighborhood.  Have some input; after the sale you will be the one living there. By himself, your realtor will sell you a house. You will either live in the house, or make it a home.

Remember real estate is all about location, location, location, and price. There is always a location within your budget that will put a smile on your face and song in your heart. It just does not come cheap.

Next issue: Making the Offer