As someone that recently survived the ups and downs of moving into a new home, I found myself reflecting on all the variables that impacted my final purchase decision. Sure, the advice from my Realtor, family and friends certainly helped guide me in the right direction. But, beyond the unsolicited and solicited advice, I realized that there was an inner sense of peace, almost a gut instinct that got me across the finish line.
Maintenance of Personal Property and Common Areas
Driving into a new community and seeing the personality of the community, from the choice of landscaping to the decoration of homes, there’s an emotional tone that’s struck. How do residents react as you drive by? Do people appear happy?
In order for a home to make it to my short-list, I had to feel that the people around me were operating on the same wavelength. My home search took more than a year, and the factors that impacted my “wavelength” calculation seemed to include:
Weather: Overcast days and cold weather gave me a negative impression of a community. It’s not really fair to hold a seller accountable for the weather, but realtors would be well-advised to show houses on fair weather days and reschedule showing during stormy weather if possible.
The Condition of the Property: Did it appear that the current homeowner cared as much about their home as I do about mine? Is the pricing in-line with the home’s structural and cosmetic condition?
The Number of For Sale Signs: In neighborhoods where it seemed like there was a “for sale” sign on every corner, I subconsciously had a sense that people were leaving for a reason. I found that I was much more critical of properties as I was looking for the reason people were leaving in droves.
Availability of Shopping: What do the zoning ordinances result in? For local businesses and services outside of the neighborhood, do I feel like I would be living next to a rundown Walmart, or a comfortable place where everything I need is within reach? What kind of clientele do these local businesses generate?
Literature and Online Content Matters
The first way that I interacted with a potential new home was either through an MLS flyer or an online listing. Quality photography, penmanship, and design set the tone that would either inspire me to visit or scroll to the next listing.
I wanted to dial-in on the things that impacted my decision to add or skip a property.
Logo, Color Scheme, and Layout: There are four major components that impact the development of a quality logo. The font, color, layout and choice of the icon set the tone for the rest of the presentation. I found that I felt most comfortable, and a sense of homely invitation towards publications and listings that had a quality logo. I’m guessing this is because a logo is the cornerstone of design.
The quality of Information: How specific are the listing details? There’s a balance to be struck between linguistic diarrhea and the basic specs of the property. The realtors that listed property by customizing each sentence of their listing to the home’s unique value propositions allowed me to sink my teeth into the property, without feeling like I was reading a generic copy and paste job.
For real estate professionals, future homebuyers and the curious at heart, I hope my reflection has helped shed light on the things that impacted a successful home purchase. The presentation of information (offline and online), the tone that the community strikes and the condition of the property certainly topped my list.
Oh, and as a parting offering of financial wisdom, take your time in purchasing a home. I wanted my home to instantly impact my net-worth without crushing my monthly cash-flow. So, I purchased the cheapest home on the block; someplace I could easily improve and multiply my equity within a few months. And I made sure a 15-year note absorbed less than a quarter of my monthly income; protecting my financial health and minimizing the interest paid over the life of the note.
Good luck in your home purchase! I know it took me longer than anticipated, but a good decision at this stage of your life pays HUGE dividends.