Armchair Builder

Take Advantage of the Real Estate Market

A Room with a View

A Room with a View

There are some fantastic deals out there in today’s sluggish real estate market.  Keep in mind, some of the best deals will need some work.  I should know, this year I purchased what I feel is the deal of a lifetime…but it needed some serious TLC.  My wife and I looked at several hundred properties before we landed on THE ONE.  So how do you review potential properties and look past the unimportant details to get to the best overall deal?

First, let me give you some background on why I am writing this.  I was watching one of those house search T.V. shows yesterday.  You know the one where the buyer looks at three properties and then picks one that best fits their needs?  I’m sure they look at more than three houses but that is the basis for the show.  Anyway, I was listening to the comments of the buyer…she was moving half way around the world to experience a new lifestyle.  She was moving away from her comfort zone so she could live the life she’s only dreamed about.  The strange thing to me was that she let every little issue with the places she looked at discourage her.  Either the paint was the wrong color or the carpet was ugly or it smelled funny.  These were all very small things that could be easily changed.  I would have thought a gal that was strong enough to follow her dreams would see past the small things to what could be.  So here is my checklist, as a builder that just went through the process, for evaluating potential properties.

  • Look Past the Cosmetic Items: The paint may be ugly or the carpet may have a spot.  Or the kitchen may not be as clean as you like.  None of these items should ever be a deal breaker in that they are easy and inexpensive to remedy.
  • Focus on the Space: The most expensive thing you can do is start moving walls.  It’s totally doable, but why go into a major renovation if you don’t have to. However, if you fall in love with a place that meets all of your other needs but it really requires some re-tooling, that’s ok too.  Just make sure you estimate the cost into the overall project price.
  • Keep in Mind the L Word: It’s definitely a cliche, but location really is the most important thing in real estate.  In my opinion, if your looking at two houses and one is in a better neighborhood but needs more work, go with the better neighborhood.
  • Consider Views: Everybody likes a nice view.  We spend so much of our lives in our home…why not have a great view?  Whether you prefer a nice wooded lot or a house on the lake, don’t underestimate how much enjoyment you can get out of a nice scene out the window.
  • Be Aware of “Too Much Work” Syndrome: When I was looking at properties I found myself at times saying, there’s just too much work with that property. Yes I am a builder and no I don’t get intimidated by much when it comes to remodeling.  But sometimes you get that lazy feeling…or your human nature takes over and wants it to be perfect right now!  Don’t let this keep you from getting the best property at the best price.  If you do find a screaming deal in a great location but it needs a new kitchen, bathroom…etc., don’t hesitate to go for it.  I found these to be the best deals in today’s real estate market.  Why?  Because most buyers don’t want to deal with the hassle of remodeling.  They want it to be perfect right now.  Don’t forget, anything good is worth waiting for.
  • Don’t Forget your Purpose: The economy still stinks.  You’re not making as much money as you would like.  Now is not the best time for you to move your family.  All of things may be true.  However, you should always buy things when nobody else is buying them.  You are looking at places right now because there are some great deals out there.  I truly believe this is probably the best time in our lifetimes to purchase real estate. Make sure you get a great deal!

But I can’t sell my house! We will talk about this issue in out next blog post.

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1 Comment for Take Advantage of the Real Estate Market

Ellamae Brownley | November 2, 2011 at 1:55 pm

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