You've heard it all before: The time to buy is now. It doesn't matter what the real estate market is like. Real estate agents and lenders will almost always tell you that the future is unknown and that there's no better time than right now to buy. It's actually probably always true.
The problem is this: When demand is high and supply is low, your dream home may be hard to find. In that case, what do you do?
It might not be the advice you want to hear, but the best advice may be to adjust your dream. It's not necessary to give up on it, but it may be wise to find an alternative path to make that dream a reality.
Remodel Old and Frumpy Homes
An older home in a good neighborhood, even if it has not yet been updated, can be a great value. In spite of a visible lack of style, consider the floor plan, the space, the yard, and the potential. Remember that part of what makes a house a home is the personality you add to it!
Also remember that, for houses as well as for humans, good bones age well. So if the structure is sound, you can repaint, re-carpet, and revitalize––no matter how unappealing a house is at first glance. It might help to be handy, but renovation can also be accomplished in stages and very few families move in to a house without changing anything. The less you spend, the more leeway you'll have to "make it yours."
Buy Small, Build Equity, Move On
Most prospective home owners tend to think big, especially if they're moving from a rental. But, if you currently "fit" in a two-bedroom apartment, why not look for a two-bedroom house with a yard that's large enough for a barbecue and maybe a dog?
Even though the average home owner lives in a house for about 13 years, you don't have to buy for forever! Look for the minimum house that will meet your needs. Concentrate on location, appeal, and potential resale value, and begin to build equity. After all, if you pare down your belongings, a subsequent move will just be easier. Plenty of people move every year!
Buy Basic and Add Personality
If your dream is for a home with lots of custom features, chances are you'll have to amend your expectations when on a budget. Go over the requirements you have in a home and reconsider which ones are actually essentials. Let "must have" items trump those "wish list" items as you house hunt. Focus on the non-negotiable features and always buy into a neighborhood that promises comfort and value.
Then, once you've settled into your new home, begin to address your fantasies. In a recent houzz.com survey, more than half the respondents had renovated during the year, and another 55 percent had plans to continue or start a project the following year.
Change Directions Completely
If you can't find a house that meets your needs and your budget, change the parameters. Consider a condo rather than a house with a yard, look in a different neighborhood or a different city, or settle for a longer commute. Set new savings goals or work on your credit score to increase your buying power. Take positive action. No matter what the current stumbling block, know that there are alternate solutions. While home ownership is a laudable goal, it's not always immediately possible, and not for all families.
It's always a good time to buy, but if the time isn't quite right for you, wait and give it time.
The Ashton Real Estate Group of RE/MAX Advantage
The #1 Real Estate Team in Tennessee and #4 RE/MAX team in the world!