I sell homes for a living, that is no surprise to anyone reading this blog. But as I am cheering on the decorated bikes in our 13th annual neighborhood 4th of July parade and enjoying sharing a pot luck breakfast afterward on my deck with my neighbors, I am thinking, “This is home”. I love my house and my neighborhood. So, because I do sell real estate for a living I start thinking…when I work with a client are they looking for a home or just a place to hang their hat? Everyone is different, true, but I know, from experience, that the majority are looking for a home. They want what I have. A place where you can borrow a cup of sugar, have someone pick up your mail when you are out of town and even call if your child is misbehaving….not a good call to get, I will tell you from experience.
So, if you want to buy a home and not just a house how do you go about doing that? I often advise buyers to take a harder look at the things around the property rather than the things in the property. Buyers, especially first time home buyers, should “buy the things you cannot change”. The big thing you can never change is the location of your property. The train tracks, electric lines, shopping center, etc will never go away. You can add granite counters, update bathrooms, replace carpet with hardwood but you can never pick up your house and put it somewhere else. So, when you are out looking for a home take a look at the neighborhood in general. The obvious thing to look for are the “locational” things like those train tracks, electric lines, shopping centers, etc. that will absolutely affect the long-term worth of your property. But there are more subjective, lifestyle things that are just as important and will make you feel more at home in your house. If you are a stay at home Mom you probably will not be happy in a neighborhood of working Moms, so pay attention to the cars in the driveways in the middle of the day or the number of Moms waiting at a bus stop. If you have children and want them to have playmates pay attention to “signs” of child activity such as swing sets, basketball nets, bikes in driveways or garages, etc. If you have no children and the thought of Trick or Treaters ringing your doorbell over and over will put you over the edge….pay attention to the same signs and avoid those neighborhoods like the plague.
The bottom line is a house is a long-term investment. Let’s make sure that the one you pick to be your home will fit your lifestyle for years to come. So, Happy 4th of July from the place we have chosen to call “home”!