Some people spend years looking for a property. Others seem to locate the right property and have the confidence to purchase it in no time. Many buyers think they are looking for one type of property, and much to their surprise, end up purchasing something totally different. Unless you are very clear about what you think you want, it is best to keep an open mind when looking at property. Looking at different properties in various locations and neighborhoods helps you learn and build your knowledge of the real estate market. You will start to understand values and your decision process will become easier.
Taking inventory of what amenities are important to you is critical. Ranking amenities by level of importance can be a great help. For some, the kitchen is of top priority; others might look at the garage or yard first.
Keep an open mind. If you fall in love with a particular neighborhood, but the home is not quite what you were looking for, ask yourself if you could make due until you can afford to remodel. Does the home lend itself to remodeling? Is the lot large enough? You usually can change the structure on the lot, but you cannot change the lot or the location.
Always think of what your current needs are and what they most likely will be in the foreseeable future. It is always best to purchase in the best neighborhood you can. We always suggest that you stretch a little to get the most you can afford. Remember, once you find the right property and you purchase it, you will be locking in the present day price. Over the years, as inflation runs its course, the value of your home will increase, but the price you paid stays the same. You will look back and think you were a genius to buy when you did. It is better to purchase almost anything rather than not buying anything at all.
Think about it. Pick a neighborhood you are familiar with, any block, it doesn’t make any difference. Some homes on the block are far nicer than others: larger, remodeled, on a better lot, etc. Some of the homes are definitely less desirable. Of course if you had purchased one of those homes on that block 10-20 years ago, it would be preferable if you had purchased one of the better homes, but if you bought any one of them you would be happy today. So what are you waiting for? Purchase the home you want today.
This article was originally written for and appears in the San Francisco Examiner. Eric Ruxton and Larry Aikins are the owners of Terrace Realty Inc. and Terrace Associates Inc., in Redwood City. Terrace has been in business for 60 years and in addition to being an independent Brokerage Company, also owns and operates rental properties.