Buying the Right Home for You
Molly looked in several different neighborhoods before deciding on one in Northern Kentucky because she liked the condo development and its central location. Her neighborhood, though not one of the most expensive, was close to a burgeoning business and entertainment district and she saw the potential for a future increase in property value. “A good place to start your search for tomorrow’s ‘hot’ spots is on the periphery of the most desirable, well-established neighborhoods in your area,” Hymer writes.
You need to consider your future when buying a home: You don’t need to have everything figured out, but it is a good idea to start thinking five to seven years down the line. Unlike generations past, today’s homebuyers don’t live in their first homes forever. Instead, they live there long enough to build equity—about five to 10 years—and move to bigger and better digs as their needs change. After all, the house you need at age 32 may not be the same one you need at age 45.
Buying Old Versus New Homes
When Jeff Paramchuk of Portland, OR, decided to buy a home, he spent some time just looking before he really got down to business. “Know what you are looking for before looking seriously,” he advises. “Take some time to wander through open houses and see what you like and don’t like—but don’t look to buy just yet.” Jeff viewed this perusal stage as research; when he was truly ready to buy, he already knew what he wanted.
It’s very rare that the perfect house will present itself to you, so you need to be a bit flexible when it comes to house hunting. If you’re unwilling to compromise, however, consider building a new home. Most people start from the ground up because either they can’t find the type of home they need in their area, or because they desire options and upgrades not included in the average resale. “You have more control over floor plans, colors, finishes and materials when you build,” says Carol Smith, author of Building Your Home: An Insider’s Guide. Going the custom route—which is usually more expensive—allows for a custom floor plan and specific details like flooring, cabinet and countertop materials.