Most everything you read about today about real estate is geared toward first-time home buyers. Articles about first-time home buyers are sucking all the oxygen out of the room.
But what about first-time home sellers? They need to feel some of the love, too! Remember the excitement you felt when you bought your first home? It was a major achievement in life for so many of us!
But not unlike a torrid love affair leading up to marriage, the starry-eyed infatuation you had when you closed on your first home soon begins to wane. Within the first few weeks of ownership, you start to realize that there’s work involved in owning a home long after moving in.
Reality sets in and you start to notice what you like and don’t like about your home, what you overlooked in your home search, what you want to change or improve upon, and what you will never put up with again on your next home! Sounds a lot like marriage to me!
Marriages were intended to be permanent, but home ownership will likely change frequently during your lifetime.
When thinking about your next home, what questions should you be asking yourself?
Condition of your Present Home
Have you taken care of your investment? Have you regularly maintained your home inside and outside, including the electrical, plumbing and heating and cooling? Does your house still have the lingering problems with it that were there when you first purchased it? If you are wanting to sell your house because there are lot’s of pressing repairs and upgrades that need to be made, what’s the chance someone else wants to buy your house with the same problems?
What homes are selling in your neighborhood and how much are they selling for? How does your home compare to the homes that have already sold? Does the economy nationally and locally look strong and promising for you to get the most for your home when listed for sale on the local market?
You should spend time online researching the recent sales in your geographic area to gauge your potential for selling. There are plenty of online tools available to you to help you with your research. Also, you can involve a local REALTOR or hire a real estate appraiser who can help you price your home. Be realistic about your expectations for your determining a market value for your home. You have to depersonalize your home and look at it like it’s a item on the shelf just as Buyers would view it. And be sure you are comparing it to SOLD homes and not LISTED homes since SOLD homes are much better predictors of market value than LISTED homes, which instead represent the hopes of future sellers.
Timing of your Move
Are you prepared mentally and emotionally for selling and buying? Remember the roller coaster you were on during the purchase of your first house. For most buyers, the ride can be very bumpy working through the financing and planning process of owning a home. Moving puts a stress on family relationships. If you have school-age children, they may have to change schools. Is your job secure enough or is your next career move up in the air right now?
Duh…I’m not talking about can you afford the monthly payment, which was likely your primary concern with your first home. I’m talking about your overall long-term financial plans. After all, for most homeowners, their home will truly be their biggest “investment” of their lives. If it’s an investment, then you usually want a return on your investment. Has your home appreciated in value?
Are you secure financially? Have you been out of a job recently or have credit issues?
Through 2020 and moving into 2021, interest rates have been at historical lows. You can borrow money to buy your next home and pay it back over time for next to nothing. Do you have a financial plan to pay off your next home by taking a 15 year mortgage instead of a 30 year?
Do you have to sell your present home before buying your next home? How do you achieve that enormous feat?
Where are you going? In northeast Georgia as is the case in much of the U.S., home inventories are at historical lows. Listed homes don’t stay listed very long and frequently go under contract with buyers within the first 72 hours on the market.
Are there homes available that will allow you to move up in size, location, features, and price? Are you willing to rent while you search for your next home? Have you considered hiring a builder to build you a new home to your own specifications? Where would you build or would you have to purchase a lot or acreage to build on? What are the costs of construction and building materials right now?
Being a “second-time” homebuyer brings a whole other set of questions and challenges from your first home buying experience. Owning a home is part of the American dream. But don’t neglect to be thoughtful about what you want and expect out of your next home. Your happiness and well-being are always tied to the home you live in, and the time you put into the careful planning for your next home should not be underestimated.
Dale Holmes is the Broker for Headwaters Realty in Clarkesville Georgia. Reach out to Dale with your questions about local real estate in northeast Georgia. You can reach Dale at 706-499-0367 or firstname.lastname@example.org.