A home is more than just a place to live. Purchased wisely, a new home offers its owners a path to financial security. For those wise – or fortunate – enough to own some real estate that has appreciated significantly in value, the benefits of homeownership are self-evident. However, if you’re still hunting for your first house, how can you tell a hidden gem from a disaster waiting to happen?
The first step before making this – or any other significant financial investment – is to get educated. If you’ve already interviewed some real estate agents, attended real estate classes at the local community center or read some real estate investment books, you’ve likely come across the cardinal rules for evaluating your next home: “location, location and location.”
Why is location so important? Because location is the one thing that cannot be changed. Kitchens and bathrooms may be updated. Walls may be re-painted. Older windows may be replaced with newer dual-pane windows. Even a second story or another room may potentially be added. However, if a house sits on a busy street or next to an industrial area, your options are limited. Inevitably, all houses require certain compromises – whether it’s the location, layout or even the purchase price. Just make sure that you can live with any problems or that you can affordably fix those that you cannot live with.
- Real Estate – Resource Center. From Nolo Press
- Buying a Home Offers information for first-time homebuyers. From the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
- REALTOR.com Search for homes, condos, townhouses and land in the multiple listing service (MLS).
- MLSlistings Search for residential and commercial property in the Santa Clara, San Mateo, Santa Cruz, Monterey and San Benito counties.
- mls.ca Search for Canadian property listings and data.