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How to Make Home Buying a Good Investment

A home is more than just a place to rest your head at night. For most people, it’s the biggest investment they’ll ever make. And the home buying process is something they’ll likely repeat at least a few times.

The National Association of Realtors reports that the median duration of homeownership in the U.S. is 13 years, so your chances of moving — especially if you’re a first time buyer — are high. That means you need a home that appeals not just to you but to future buyers as well.

If you’re currently searching for that dream home, here are a few important things to keep in mind before and after you buy it.

Location is everything

Before you fall in love with a particular house, make sure you’re paying attention to the area surrounding it. This can make a big difference in the resale value and appreciation of your investment. If you’re wondering what to look for, Tara Struyk of Investopedia has some suggestions.

“When you are home-hunting, pay attention to nearby amenities,” Struyk writes. “Buyers usually want convenient grocery stores, dry cleaners, and entertainment. Consider trains, roads, and public transportation for transportation, such as bus stops, subway stations, and public bike-share locations. Proximity to amenities will typically improve a home’s value.”

Easy access to major roads, schools and hospitals will also attract a wide range of potential buyers should you decide to resell your property.

Avoid overpaying

While the location is vital, you shouldn’t overpay for a home. A home that needs significant repairs and renovations may not be worth as much as a move-in-ready property.

Make sure to get a professional inspection of the property to identify any issues that may require repairs.

Additionally, you’ll want to make sure you’re not automatically paying over asking price. Money.com recommends using an escalation clause. “…You can let the seller know you want to buy at list price (or below) but are also willing to go up a certain amount if (and only if) there are higher offers on the table,” Leslie Cook writes for Money.com.

If you’re not sure what that means or where to start, let a seasoned real estate agent help you get the best deal possible.

Consider how long you plan to live there

Before you get too eager to buy a new home, it’s important to think about where you’ll be a few years down the road. In an article for The Balance, writer Miriam Caldwell says that the ideal length of time for staying in your first home is at least three to five years if you want to break even on the mortgage.

“If you know you will be transferring to a new area or will want to move to a larger home in a year, then it might be better to wait to buy a home,” Caldwell notes. “This delay will allow you to save up a larger down payment and may make it easier for you to afford the home you want.”

Home maintenance matters

“Kids who don’t do their homework suffer poor grades. Dental patients who don’t brush and floss lose their teeth. And homeowners who skip home upkeep tasks lose their money,” Erik J. Martin writes for The Mortgage Reports.

Regular home maintenance can significantly reduce unforeseen expenses that could hurt your finances and your ROI. Focus on conducting regular cleaning, furnace and duct maintenance as well as roof repairs to minimize your risk of costly projects down the road. It’s also important to schedule annual home inspections to identify any problems early on.

When it comes to home improvement projects, focus on renovations and upgrades that are likely to increase your property value. This includes things such as bathroom and kitchen updates, energy-efficient appliances and exterior landscaping.

Get professional help

Buying a home can be quite challenging, especially for first-time buyers. It’s important to seek help from real estate professionals to ensure you make informed decisions. A real estate agent can help you find homes that meet your specific requirements, provide you with critical market analysis and help you negotiate a fair price.

Perhaps most importantly, you’ll have someone by your side when things get stressful.

“In addition to being a major financial transaction, buying a home often gets pretty emotional,” Barbara Marquand and Kate Wood write for NerdWallet. “If you’re feeling overwhelmed or exhausted, you can lean on your agent. If there’s an issue with the sellers or negotiations become frustrating, you should be able to rely on your agent to keep calm and help you get the best possible outcome.”

The Stern Team can help

If you’re on the hunt for a home, let the real estate professionals at The Stern Team help you find a house that’s a worthy investment. With a proven track record of helping clients every 25 hours, The Stern Team is one of the top teams in North America — and in the top 1% in Utah. To get your journey started, call 801-877-0891 or visit sternteam.com today.