Spring is rapidly approaching the Delmarva Peninsula. If you are looking to buy a home in the Salisbury Maryland area, there are many things to weigh out. In the excitement of the search, (especially for first time home buyers) it’s easy to overlook some very important considerations when narrowing down the “short list” to make a final decision.
Here is a helpful checklist to keep you focused when making what is likely the most important purchase of your life and a key resource to avoid home buyer’s remorse. You’ll also look like a genius to your friends who are thinking about buying.
You’ve heard the old adage about real estate- “Location, location, location”, but what does THAT mean? Most importantly it’s one that suits YOUR current lifestyle. How far to work? To school, shopping, hobbies and recreation, medical services? Ideally, the location of your Salisbury MD area home will be somewhat centered within several of these and a reasonable drive to the rest.
Should I be in town or outside of town? Living in town may put you closer to work and amenities but will it provide the privacy and lot size you desire? What about the additional property taxes and water and sewer fees? They can also be a factor in resale potential. I see more and more buyers search by neighborhood. The tendency today is to search out neighborhoods in the Salisbury MD area and then find the right home within the neighborhood. All are things to think about!
2. Floor Plan/Design
You’ll obviously want to make sure the floor plan and design of the home suit your needs and wants currently, but consider changes to family structure. Planning to have a child? How about caring for an aging parent within your home sometime in the near future? Many baby boomers search out homes with one level, or at least a first floor master suite. At times you may be shown a home with “functional obsolescence” that may fit your needs but you should consider the needs of your next buyer as well.
If a home in an ideal location has an unsuitable floor plan and changing it is cost prohibitive, then it’s likely a good move to pass on it. Many of my clients have their furnishings measured and written down and a measuring tape handy to see if they will fit in a particular home. They’ll attempt to envision themselves living there. Trust your instincts!
The size of a home ties in with its floor plan and design. If it’s too large you could incur additional maintenance, insurance and utility costs. Too small and claustrophobia may set in. A wise move is to set your search criteria for square footage to be somewhat broad. Two homes of the same square footage but differing designs can differ considerably in perceived spaciousness to a buyer. The lighting of a home (including natural light) along with ceiling height can be big factors here. Again, use your best judgment and take a second look before committing!
4. Resale Potential
This subject is often “subjective”. Not only should you consider resale potential before you buy, but also as you make improvements after closing. Obviously location and condition of a home factor in here, and floor plan/design will as well. You’ll want to resist the urge to over improve a home.
Keep in mind not all buyers can look past things of a cosmetic nature. Neutral wall colors and floor coverings that please a large segment of the buying market can go a long way! Having what’s perceived by the market as the “nicest” home in a given area can actually hurt its resale potential. A better situation would be to have neighboring properties pull up the value of your own or at least improve it to somewhat equal standards as your neighbors.
5. Major repairs
When considering a home for purchase it’s always wise to take potential large ticket repairs into account. The age of mechanical systems (heat pumps, furnaces, etc.) can be critical as replacement can cost thousands of dollars. The same can be said for roofs, doors, windows and septic systems. Having this vital information when it comes to negotiating with a seller or passing on a home altogether is invaluable. Having a competent inspector check each of these items is of equal importance once a home is under contract.
The home buyer looking in the Salisbury MD real estate market will be confident in their decisions as they move forward in the purchase process if they are armed with this information. Taking a more analytical approach can leave you satisfied as a new homeowner knowing you did your “homework!”