7 Promising Signs the Home You’re Buying Will Have Good Resale Value

home buying good resale value

By Jamie Wiebe

While it might seem premature to think about selling a home before you even buy it, it’s important to remember that a house is an investment. And in an ideal world, investments make money—not lose it.

That’s why resale value should be an important consideration when house hunting. No, it shouldn’t supersede your must-have requirements (if you demand 20 acres and lakefront access, prioritize that). But if you do your best to predict how the house you’re buying—and the neighborhood it’s in—will appeal to future buyers, then future-you will be a whole lot happier. And possibly richer.

Considering resale value “also saves the buyers a lot of money, as they will not need to spend big on renovations or updates,” says real estate agent Lukasz Kukwa.

But one caveat: Good resale value is never a promise.

“It is almost impossible to guarantee that a home will retain its full resale value, as the local market and economic factors have a large effect on the housing market,” Kukwa says.

In short: Resale value is anybody’s guess if the economy tanks. But there are some indicators to watch for that could be the difference between barely squeaking by or coming out ahead. As you hit the house-hunting trail, look for these promising signs that suggest your investment will be a smart one.

1. The neighborhood’s hopping…

Pay attention to your surroundings when house hunting. Is the neighborhood walkable? Or is a trip to the grocery store so onerous it requires snacks for the road? Meanwhile, are there restaurants nearby for those nights you simply just can’t?

“If you buy in an area that is not well-developed and doesn’t have good infrastructure—like shopping close by—you will not have a high rate of return on the home,” says Realtor® Patricia Vosburgh.

“The more amenities, the higher chances the home will sell faster and for more money,” she explains.

Even if there are development plans in the works, don’t bank on that to prop up property values; construction can stall or be scrapped entirely. When calculating your home’s future worth, focus on what exists now.

2. … but the street itself is quiet

Buying a home is a study in contrasts: You want a gorgeous kitchen—and good delivery options, too. You need five bedrooms—and a decent hotel around the corner because no way is your mother-in-law staying with you. You want things to be hopping—but not in your backyard.

“We advise against buying on a busy street or purchasing a home surrounded by commercial properties nearby,” Vosburgh says.

Not that there aren’t buyers—possibly even you—who love living in the middle of the action. But before you buy the bungalow next to your favorite watering hole, consider that future buyers might not be so keen.

3. The home’s systems are in good shape

Many people consider return on investment to be the sum of a simple calculation: Will the home sell for more than you paid?

But it’s a little more complex than that. You have to factor in how much you’ll spend on the home while living there—even if the market becomes red-hot. And if the home’s vital components are falling apart, you’ll be spending a lot.

Your inspector can give you a rundown of your future home’s health, but keep a close eye on the roof, water heater, HVAC system, windows, and foundation. Pay attention to the plumbing and electrical, too. A problem with any one of these major systems can require a costly repair—and take a bite out of your payday.

“When these items are new or in good standing, that’s a great sign,” Kukwa says.

4. The schools are great

If you’re child-free, this one might seem entirely irrelevant. But a word to the wise: If you think you might someday sell your home, you’ll want to factor in the school district before you buy.

“Even if buyers personally don’t have children, for resale it is imperative that they buy in a great school zone,” Vosburgh says. (You can check school ratings at GreatSchools.org.)

Just make sure to do your research and determine where the home sits in relation to the school district boundaries.

“Often agents will advertise a property as being near such-and-such school area, but not necessarily specify the district, which can be very confusing,” explains Tina Maraj, a Realtor with Re/Max North Orange County in Fullerton, CA. “It can be a real eye-opener if a buyer closes and they’re on one side of a main street that is the dividing line between the top-rated and the lowest-rated high schools.”

5. The light is inspiring

“Any apartment in any neighborhood that has good light will sell—and will always sell,” says New York City broker Noemi Bitterman.

With good light, “there is always a good feeling—a feeling of embracing and belonging,” she continues. “When [a home] is dark, no matter how nice and new it is, it doesn’t feel inviting, it takes a much longer time to sell, and the price reflects the lack of light.”

Whether you’re shopping for a condo, apartment, or house, visit the property at different times of the day to see how the light affects the space.

6. The floor plan is family-friendly

Again? asks the child-free reader. Must all my housing decisions be dictated by families? No. But if you’re hoping to sell that home for a profit down the road, you should keep kid-friendliness in mind.

“Look for a home with a floor plan that will appeal to families,” says broker Kris Lindahl. That means at least three—if not four—bedrooms on the same level, an open concept kitchen, and at least one bathtub.

And always pay attention to the number of bathrooms. You want “enough to avoid fights in the morning,” Lindahl says.

On a related note: No matter how much you love that gloriously unique Frank Lloyd Wright spiral house, it’s often best to stick to a more traditional floor plan if you’re worried about selling later.

“Buying a home that is too quirky or has very untraditional features can result in a decreased ROI and smaller pool of potential buyers in the future,” Kukwa says.

7. The community is restrictive

Homeowners associations can be a pain in the butt—the irritating restrictions, the monotonous meetings, the monthly dues that you’re not always sure you can account for.

But an HOA can actually be helpful, at least when it comes to resale value. That’s because HOAs usually keep everyone in line, preventing your neighbors from letting weeds take over their lawn, painting their houses bright pink, or permanently parking an RV in the middle of your street—all things that could ding the value of your home.

Of course, purchasing an HOA-regulated home isn’t for everyone. But if you’re seriously concerned about the resale value of your new home, covenants and restrictions could keep you flush.

Wendy Helfenbaum contributed to this story.

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So Why Are You Selling?’ 10 Answers You Should Never Give

why are you selling

By: Daniel Bortz

“Why are you selling your house?” might seem like a perfectly innocent question from home buyers, but watch out—if you’re the home seller they’re asking, this is one of the diciest questions you can answer. The reason: Pretty much any explanation you give is bound to contain revealing info that these home buyers could use against you, thereby compromising your negotiating power.

“Home buyers are looking for any indication that you’d be willing to accept an offer that’s below list price,” says Annapolis, MD, real estate agent Greg Beckman. “If you say the wrong thing to a buyer, the person might make you a lowball offer.”

To prevent that from happening, Beckman recommends sellers let their listing agent handle communication with prospective buyers. “Let your agent do all the talking,” he says, adding that sellers shouldn’t be present for showings or open houses.

That said, there are times when you might still interact with home buyers—say, if they arrive early for a showing or linger until you return. If that happens, and if the seller asks why you’re selling, you want to have a short, neutral response prepared in advance, says San Francisco real estate agent Allison Fortini Crawford. Such as: “We love the home, but we’re ready for a change.”

So, what’s a bad answer? Well, there are many, actually, like these doozies below.

‘I got transferred for my job’

This is one of the most common reasons why people sell their house. In fact, 17% of people surveyed by the moving company Allied Van Lines said they’ve been relocated for a job. Nonetheless, revealing this to home buyers could make them think that you’re desperate to sell fast and, in turn, lead them to make a lowball offer.

‘Our family needs a bigger house’

Trading up? Don’t relay that to home buyers. The reason is pretty simple: “You don’t want to give buyers the idea that the house may not be enough room for them, either,” says Crawford. Similarly…

‘Now that our children have left the nest, we’re ready to downsize’

Downsizing makes total sense for empty nesters and retirees, but likewise, you don’t want home buyers to think that your house is too large and difficult to maintain.

‘We need a smaller mortgage payment’

There are a couple of reasons why this response is a bad idea. First, you don’t want to give the impression that the house is too expensive or overpriced. Second, you don’t want home buyers to presume that your finances are in such poor shape that you’d accept a lowball offer. Put simply, “Never discuss your financial situation,” says Beckman.

‘We’ve already bought our next house’

If you want to fetch top dollar for your house, don’t divulge that you’ve already purchased your next home. “It makes the home buyer think that there’s a sense of urgency and that you have to sell quickly,” says Crawford—which is a valid assumption, considering that a lot of people can’t afford to carry two mortgages at once.

‘We want a quieter neighborhood’

Steer clear of saying anything that could paint the neighborhood in a negative light. Even saying that the area is quiet could backfire. “You don’t know what a home buyer wants,” says Beckman. For instance, some people are drawn to areas with a hopping night life (and the noise that entails), or at least a place where the streets aren’t barren by 8 p.m.

‘We need to move closer to our parents to help care for them’

Many people move to be closer to family—and in some cases, it’s out of necessity. However, there’s no need to share that information with home buyers, since this suggests you have to sell your home pronto.

‘My back problems make it too difficult for me to climb the stairs’

A number of home sellers move out of two- or three-story houses for health reasons. However, you don’t want to draw attention to the fact that there are a lot of stairs throughout the home, since it could scare off older home buyers or home buyers with young children.

‘Our utility bills are through the roof’

Energy-efficient home features are all the rage nowadays, which makes sense when you consider that home owners spend on average $1,945 a year on their energy bills. But some home buyers still overlook utility costs when they go house hunting. So, the very last thing you want to do is draw attention to the fact that your gas or electric bills are expensive.

‘The house is too difficult for us to maintain’

No one wants to buy a money pit. So, even if you’re selling a clear fixer-upper, don’t mention maintenance costs to a home buyer. Also avoid talking about repairs that you just never got around to making, like repairing the bathtub caulking, as well as big projects like replacing the 20-year-old water heater—all reasons for home buyers to think twice about making an offer.

 

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