Many people buying a home for the first time believe they will know what home to buy because they will fall in love. This is somewhat true, but as the saying goes “you can’t judge a book by it’s cover.” In competitive real estate markets, love will take some work and the question you have to ask yourself is how much love (and work) are you comfortable putting in?
Every homebuyer needs to be flexible in certain areas of their criteria. In an ideal world, a buyer finds the perfect home in the area they want and the house is move-in ready (or a turn-key property in realtor speak).
If location is the most important factor in your search and nothing is available in your price range, you might want expand your price range. I’m not only advocating looking at higher priced properties, but also those at a lower price point, which will require some level of renovation. If you find listings matching all of your other criteria but are rough around the edges, take a look and keep an open mind to the possibilities. In competitive real estate markets, the properties with more than the average days on market tend to be fixer-uppers. One of the biggest positives of buying a fixer-upper, is your home can reflect your tastes instead of the seller’s. Another positive is you have a better opportunity to negotiate since many buyers do not want to put in the time, money, or effort for renovations. Less competition from other buyers means more leverage when it comes time to negotiate. Once you have purchased the property and made improvements, you will see a much quicker appreciation in your asset’s value. The improvements do not have to be top-of -the-line renovations to see a quick appreciation, many simpler projects can bring a strong return on your investment.
Keep in mind renovations are not for everyone. Unless you plan to do a renovation yourself, you can never guarantee how long the work will actually take. Projects can be delayed for all kinds of reasons but the worst case scenario comes from the fact not everything can found during inspection and what can start as a simple project can turn into something major. A dream home can turn into a money pit, but a looked over fixer-upper, can be the home you never knew you always wanted.
Buying a home is an emotional process. Like in dating, don’t be discouraged by thinking all the good ones are taken. Sometimes taking a second look on an option that doesn’t seem perfect might become better than what you thought you wanted.