When you are beginning the process of making what very well be the most expensive purchase of your life it’s only natural that things can get more than a little scary.
Things can get a lot less scary with a great real estate agent on your side, but even after you’ve found one them it can still be a little disheartening as there just don’t seem to be the kind of house bargains out there you had been hoping for. But yes, Those bargain gems are out there, you just need to know where (and what) to look for, or at least have a real estate agent who does on your side.
Check Out the Up and Coming Neighbourhoods
Every area has them (and it’s certainly true of the Waterloo Region) – the neighbourhoods that everyone seems to be buzzing about. But there are always others, the ones that the people in know are talking about, the ones that are THISCLOSE to being the next hot location.
Some of the signs to look for?
- Lots of Construction and Renovation: If existing homeowners are pouring money into their homes it’s a very good sign, because this is obviously a place that people want to stay in.
- Young People and Families: If the next generation is flocking there, it’s a good sign that they might be like you, wanting a neighborhood on the rise.
- New Amenities: Nearly-hot neighbourhoods tend to start attracting new amenities; hip restaurants, cool coffee shops, specialist corner grocers, that kind of thing. If you can see these on a drive around the area, the chances are that you are onto a good thing.
The Ugly Duckling Home
If everyone else (and these are the people you will be bidding against) is clamoring after homes with brand new granite countertops or polished hardwood floors throughout you may want to consider going in the opposite direction a little.
The most important thing about any home is that it has ‘good bones’. Meaning a solid roof, good windows, good plumbing and electrics and solid construction. Garish paint can be covered up, track lighting from the Eighties can be replaced with sleeker 21st century options, an older toilet can be replaced with a water saving new model.
All too often people expect to be dazzled by staging when shopping for a home but not every homeseller goes that route. For some buyers these cosmetic flaws can be hard to see past, but if you can you may just get your hands on the bargain of the year (especially if the property is in one of those hot or upcoming neighbourhoods)
The Small House..in the Hot Hood
The old real estate adage ‘it’s about location, location, location’ is as true today as it ever was, which is why its advisable that you shop ‘the hood’ and not just the house. If a home is in a desirable neighbourhood that’s worth a lot, both in terms of future value and current quality of living.
While everyone else is holding out for the biggest and best, it might be smarter to go for more affordable, even if it’s a little older. And then, if you choose, you can make the upgrades that suit your lifestyle. You can always move a wall to create another bedroom, but you can’t move the house to create more demand when it come time to sell and move on.