The Boston area home buying market is comprised of prospects looking to buy. Some of them are empty-nesters planning to purchase their downsized “forever home.” Others are moving up, looking for a larger home in a more popular neighborhood. Still others may be shopping for their very first home, after weighing their options of continuing to pay rent versus building equity in a home of their own. Regardless of your motivations for entering the Boston area home buying market, we all want to make sound investments when purchasing real estate. Let’s examine a few ways you can increase the chances for making the right purchase.
Boston Area Home Buying Market: It’s an Investment
Most people who are looking to buy a home have at least a general idea of how long they plan to be in the home they will buy. If you’re planning to stay in your home for the next 5-7 years you’ll likely want to look at the buying process a little differently than if you were searching for a home in which to retire. It’s important for a shorter-term home purchase with a duration of 5-7 years to be positioned as a springboard for additional buying power for the next home you’ll want to buy. Here are a some suggestions to make this strategy a little easier.
Choose the Right Home
Select a home with better potential for a greater resale value. Start your home selection process with the first rule in real estate: Location, location, location. No matter how many improvements you may make during the time you’re living in your home, the one thing that will always remain constant is its location – good or bad. As you begin your home shopping adventure, compile information from a variety of sources. Many municipal government entities publish master development plans that can be accessed online. Researching them will give you an idea of upcoming projects like additional phases of construction in a certain neighborhood, road improvements or potential rezoning plans. Pay particular attention to the timeframes for any projects to determine if and how they may affect you if you purchase a home in that neighborhood. In addition, weigh the pros and cons of the proposed work that is planned. Will a new road near your neighborhood be a good thing or a bad thing? It may improve access, but it will likely increase traffic, too. With that in mind, here’s our next suggestion for making a good decision as you enter the Boston area home buying market…
Boston Area Home Buying Market: Investigate the Neighborhood
You can gain a wealth of information by talking to the residents of a neighborhood in which you’re thinking of buying. Visit a nearby grocery store, park, or bank and strike up a conversation with the employees or patrons and ask how they like living in the neighborhood. As you drive through the neighborhood, stop and ask residents working in their yards or walking their dogs and ask about their likes and dislikes. Most people are more than willing to give their opinions to prospective neighbors. Armed with that information, try to determine if the neighborhood is at its prime, past its prime, or up and coming. Is it where you want to raise your family for the next 5-7 years?
Know Your Limitations
Once you find a house you’re interested in, assess what improvements need to be made. Next, be honest with yourself in your abilities to take on the projects necessary versus hiring a home improvement contractor. Remember this: Smaller improvement projects usually yield a higher return on investment – primarily because they are less apt to create budget overruns and completion delays. In addition, you’ll be faced with the age-old decision that many prospective homeowners face – are you prepared to invest the time, energy and sweat equity to perform the improvements, or should you pay more and hire a contractor? An even bigger dilemma may be whether you move on to a different house that’s more to your liking that may be more expensive.
Boston Area Home Buying Market: The Return on Investment
If you’re thinking of buying a home and living in it for 5-7 years, we suggest stronger consideration be given to the return on investment. Why? Simply because most home improvement projects will be one-time only events. If your project ends up being a disaster and needs to be repaired or redone, you have less time to recoup your investment than if you were performing an improvement project on a forever home.
While you’re living in the home, keep in mind that any home improvement projects are done with one main goal – to provide a higher return on investment at a later date. Of course, you want to enjoy your time in the home, so we’re not suggesting you can’t make improvements that will increase your comfort level. However, any substantial improvements should be performed for what they may ultimately do for the home and its resale value.
Make Smart Choices
Once you decide on a house to buy, remember this Boston area home buying market advice. There will be, no doubt, a list of things around the house you’d like to repair or modify to fit your specific needs. Make sure you concentrate on the projects that increase the return on your investment. Remodeling Magazine’s Cost vs. Value Report from last year says the highest return on investment will probably be enjoyed on smaller projects designed to enhance the curb appeal of your home. Examples are replacing the front door, the garage door and exterior siding. Most exterior projects yield a nice ROI, and simple projects like painting, changing door or cabinet hardware or light fixtures can provide your house with a customized facelift – minus the high labor costs.
In summary, find a home with the best potential resale over the next 5-7 years. Have a plan of attack when it comes to neighborhood selection and improvements you want to make. Follow these suggestions as you enter the Boston area home buying market and you’ll probably be happier with your purchase – and your investment – when the time comes to sell your home.
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