Real Estate Guide by Map
Think about what would be beneficial for future resale. It’s just as important to think about options as you make such a big investment that would impact your ability to quickly and profitability sell the home should you have to in the future.
Avoid buying the best house on the block because your home may lack room for investment growth. If you buy a home in need of improvement that hasn’t maxed out its value, you can improve it sensibly to add additional value to an already great location. Also, the law of averages brings the smaller home's value upwards towards the middle, while bringing the larger home's value downwards towards the middle.
A home’s location in relation to the street or an overgrown tree becomes important to buyers with lots of choices. End unit condos vs. interior units are important. A beautifully renovated home in a prime school district can suffer from a location problem if the master bedroom looks into the neighbor’s family room or the home is dark and shaded by a neighbor’s tree or addition. Light or privacy may not be high on your deal breaker list but they can be concerns for a future buyer. As well, some buyers are motivated by the way a home sits on its actual lot so they can enjoy sunrises and sunsets. Others are very in tune with how a property’s location affects its Feng Shui.
You can change everything about a house. But the one thing you can never change is its location. Many sellers learn the hard way just how important location can be to buyers while others reap the benefits of a property located in a coveted area. You can have an ugly duckling in need of repair but if it is located in a great neighborhood in a sought-after school district, that is golden for resale.
On many different levels, location, location, location matters. Think about the city where the property is located. Next, consider the school district. What neighborhood is it located in? Even the housing subdivision and block are important. Finally, where is the house actually located on the block? Homes at t-stops can detract buyers. Remember: real estate markets rise and fall but no one can take a great location away from you!
Good school districts rank high on the list of buyer must-haves and many start their searches solely on school districts. Prices in coveted districts are healthy and competitive. Buying a home in a good school district is smart even though you might not have children. Homes tend to hold their value better if the schools are desirable.
With many websites, apps and algorithms dedicated to “walkability,” buying trends indicate more buyers are finding out how walkable their neighbor is to stores, schools, entertainment, work or public transportation. Walkability has huge value-add; Zillow even has published a Walk Score for many homes.
A quick Internet search can reveal the latest local crime statistics. Learn about the number and severity of crimes over a time period. Many newspapers and municipalities post their police blotters or crime statistics online. Remember that crime, especially petty crime, is everywhere but consult your Realtor if you have concerns. https://goo.gl/iWgYGX -or- http://www.austintexas.gov/department/crime-information -or- Preview.crimereports.com
If you’ve found the perfect home in a great school district on a coveted street with a beautiful lot, be sure to also check out the character of the surrounding neighborhood. Circumstances you should consider include the neighborhood at night, early morning, and midday. Observe traffic patterns, odd weather (such as wind channels) or sound nuisances you might not be aware of before purchase. Get to know some of the neighbors to make sure there is nothing that you are not overlooking. Do they love where they live and if not, you may find a few that will tell you exactly why they may not.
Ask Nicole about the long-term value or investment potential of the property. A good agent can give you statistics and help you analyze all variables that would positively or negatively affect your purchase in the future. There are home value indexes available online that give you one, five and 10-year snapshots of how home values have gone up or down in neighborhoods and cities.
Before buying a fixer-upper, make sure you understand what’s involved from A to Z. Do your homework upfront. If your goal is to add an addition on later, confirm it is within local zoning or building codes. Every home should also be professionally inspected. That way, you have a gauge as to the extent of any needed repairs and subsequent costs. Not only does a renovation take money, it takes time, energy and emotional stress so be sure your life can support a home renovation before committing to a fixer-upper.
Buying a home includes expenses beyond just your mortgage. Do not overlook the property taxes and factor in any planned community, HOA or MUD assessments attached to the property. If in doubt, go to city hall or do research online. For those buying a condo, review recent meeting minutes, HOA financials and condo documents. If there are changes about to be implemented, one large assessment could affect property values if you needed to sell your new home in the future.
*Crime Stats: The City of Austin Compiles Recorded crimes here. Crime Viewer (austintexas.gov)
*School Rankings: The Texas Education Agency's site offers data on academic performance by school district. https://txschools.gov/
*School District Data & Locator Maps: AustinAreaSpecialist.com/schools
*Flood Maps: FEMA provides interactive flood maps that show potential risk areas. msc.fema.gov/portal/search
*Sex Offender Registry: Texas DPS also maintains the state's sex offender registry, which is searchable by name, address, city and zip code. SexOffenderRegistry
*FBI Scams and Safety: some of the most common scams and crimes that the FBI encounters, as well as tips to help prevent you from being victimized. https://www.fbi.gov/scams-and-safety/common-scams-and-crimes