How to Get the Most for Your Money
We all want to get a good deal on a home for sale. But something you might not hear as often, but which is just as important, is getting a good value. So what’s the difference?
Good Deal – Upfront Savings
If the home is “priced to sell” (which typically means it’s priced below market value) then it’s usually considered a good deal, by the simple fact that the buyer will be saving money right off the bat. But, as anyone who has ever bought a “money pit” can tell you, it’s not always all about the listing price.
Good Value – Long Term Worth
Take a longer-term look at the property and surrounding neighborhood. Is this home in a desirable location? If it’s a fixer-upper, will the amount of money you invest be more or less than the amount you’d spend on a home that is already in “move-in condition”? Is it in a good school district, close to public transportation, etc.? These are factors that will help dictate whether the home is a good value or not.
Good deals and good values are not mutually exclusive – ideally, you’ll find a home that is both!
Your ZipRealty REALTOR® is a local expert in the areas where you are searching. They’re out there looking at homes almost every day, and their inside knowledge is one of your biggest resources! Definitely take advantage of it by reading their comments about homes or visiting homes with them in person.
Where to Look First
Of course, we all want to buy a home that’s a good value for the price – but where do you start to search for them?
Motivated Home Sellers
Sometimes people have to sell quickly, so they may be willing to negotiate or sell below market value. These homes tend to move really fast – luckily, your ZipRealty REALTOR® is on the pulse of your local market and has the inside tract to help you jump on these opportunities right away. You can also set up email alerts with ZipRealty so that you’ll be alerted as soon as they hit the market.
Sometimes all a home needs is a little imagination (or a lot, depending on the previous owner’s taste) to turn it into the home of your dreams. These “ugly duckling” homes often sell for a lower amount because many people can’t get past the cosmetics.
You can easily change cosmetic things like:
Just make sure you factor in those expenses into the total cost of the home.
Short Sales/ REOs/ Foreclosures
Be open to checking out short sales, REOs, or foreclosed properties. Talk to your agent about what to look for and what to avoid in these kinds of properties – they may be worth trying your luck.
Avoiding a “Money Pit”
If you look at a home purchase as an investment, it’s easier to understand the importance of a good value. We’ve all heard the term “money pit” – a home that is a good deal upfront, but ends up being a poor value because of all the money you pour into it.
If the home needs any major repairs (like foundation or roofing) you’ll need to factor that into the amount you’re willing to pay for the home.
Major Remodels or Additions
If the home is in your ideal location, but needs major remodeling (or additions) to suit your needs, be sure to work those cost estimates into the total price, and be sure that zoning laws, etc. will accommodate what you’re interested in doing.
If the home is a good deal but there are certain “unchangeable” things about it that don’t match up with what you’re looking for, it’s important to take that into consideration.
Make sure the area is a place you will be comfortable living – things like street noise, power lines and air traffic aren’t likely to change.
- Overall “flow” of the floor plan
If it feels dysfunctional, be wary – changing this is usually quite expensive and may be impossible.
- The property fits your lifestyle
For example, if it has a pool or a spa but you’re not big on upkeep and you don’t want to pay for the service, that sparkling oasis can quickly turn into an eyesore.
Compare and Contrast
Visit several similar homes in addition to the ones you’re really interested in – that way you’ll be able to form a more complete picture of the local market, and whether or not the home you’re thinking about buying is a good value for the price.