House shopping advice is in the PALM of your hand!
PALM = Price, Adaptable layout, Location, Maintained
Choosing a house for your family can be daunting. You know what your needs are now but that will change as your life and family does. Tips to streamline the decision making process are in the PALM of your hand.
In today’s real estate market, that stopgap between a rental and a dream house is becoming a little less temporary. In fact you should plan to be in your first home for seven to ten years. That might not be what you want to hear but as a seasoned Realtor, I’m telling you this is sound advice. Your address might not change during that decade, but your life will. To ensure that your living space suits both your current and future needs, look no further than your PALM.
Even if you can afford an expensive mortgage now, think about changes that may come. Schools, children and career can all impact your finances. Overspending on a home puts your current lifestyle and your future goals in jeopardy. Set a reasonable budget and keep every offer and counteroffer below your upper limit.
Adaptable floor plan
Space should be a top priority in your search. Lack of space is a key reason many homeowners sell their homes. Make sure your home is large enough to accommodate your future family needs. If you’re in your starter home evaluate rooms that can adapt to your family’s needs with a few simple renovations; for instance, a guest bedroom can transform into a home office , a downstairs den can be converted into a playroom or a bedroom for an elderly relative. An adaptable floor plan ensures that you will be comfortable in your home for as long as you need to live there.
If you have to choose between high-end upgrades and a prime location, go with location. Those upgrades will start to look dated in the seven years you spend in your starter home. A home in a great location will maintain its value. You might pay more for a home that is close to good schools, amenities and transportation, but so will your future buyer.
The house you buy should be in good condition. You shouldn’t have to spend thousands on improvements just to bring the house up to a livable standard. You also don’t want to spend thousands on repairs when it comes time to sell. Ask the house inspector to estimate the life expectancy of all the major components of the house. Ideally, you want the roof, furnace, and hot water heater to outlast your occupancy in the home by a few years; otherwise, you’ll have to pay the costly replacement bills when you sell.
The biggest investment you’ll probably ever make is when you buy a home. With PALM, you’ll choose a home you can live in longer than originally intended which has benefits. With every mortgage payment you make, you are building equity. When it finally comes time to sell that home, you can use the equity as a down payment on your dream house.
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