In 1999 I bought my first home.Â I had been trying to buy a home since 1995 but it didn't work out where we lived.Â I had a single minded intention to get into a house as I was intent on getting started on investment and my own American Dream.Â Finally, my family got into a little townhome in Littleton, CO.Â We liked it, it was clean, modern, big enough for the family and safe for our kids. Shortly thereafter I got involved more in real estate and I realized my mistake - I should have bought a house not a townhome and I could have bought a modern home in the area I wanted for the same price as the townhome.Â Single family homes generally appreciate better than townhomes.Â However I didn't really list out what I wanted in a home nor did I look at the schools because I wasn't planning on sending my kids to normal public schools.Â I achieved some things with the purchase, it was close to the charter school I wanted to send my kids too, it was in a town I liked, and the house was practical for our needs.Â The drawbacks was the location, which I didn't discover until I lived there for awhile.Â The townhome backed to a community home of sorts so it was rather noisy, it was on a somewhat busy street in between some apartments where some people felt fine on throwing a bottle of beer out their window, the monthly HOA payment became burdensome, and the HOA meetings were not fun to participate in but it was needed.Â I also never thought about parking far from my unit and having to carry groceries so far. At closing I found out that my unit had flooded at one point which was why it had been tiled and newly drywalled. However, it was safe (my unit was on the inside and not on the street, we faced a courtyard).Â
Since that time I recommend the following to my buyers...
List out exactly what you want.Â Really soul search and write out the qualities you really appreciate in life.Â Do you want your kids to go to the park frequently?Â Do you want them close to a neighborhood school?Â List out the number of bedrooms and baths, basement or no, garage or no, attic or no, laundry room on main floor, basement, or where the bedrooms area, new area or not.Â I recommend hanging out at a local coffee shop for awhile.Â Hang out at a couple of the stores and observe the type of people who come in and out, they will probably be your neighbors.Â Look at the maintenance of the homes in the area you will be living.Â Get extensive sales history, are you buying at the top of the market, is their room to grow, or more than likely now - are you buying at the bottom - are sales still likely to fall, or do they seem to be stabilizing, or starting to go up?Â If you are buying a fix up - think if the work is worth it in the end, evaluate the cost of repair and think of yourself getting paid what you would pay someone else, is there going to be a return?Â
I eventually sold my townhome unit and bought a fix up home in Englewood.Â Which I'm still fixing, the subject of a future post or many posts.
I thought I would start my first post with some recommendations to future buyers...consider wisely.