Creative people look at the world a little differently. We tend to buy differently, often focusing on experiences over material goods. This even seeps for many of us into our decisions about property. If you’re someone who
appreciates aesthetics and fine art, there are some traps you’ll want to avoid if buying a new home. Thinking about purchasing a house? Maybe someday? We have you covered!
Sure, you want to live in a home forever, but if you end up moving, you’ll want to be able to sell the property quickly. Here are four important areas to evaluate when making a home purchase:
1. Major roads and transportation. You want to be close to the train and have access to busy streets…but you don’t want them too close. Buyers will fall off quickly when you’re ready to sell if you’re on a major road or have railroad tracks running through your back yard. This can be a huge trap when you’re buying. Many houses on busy streets or bordering a railroad will look like deep discount properties. They are definitely discounted…but it’s because nobody’s buying and the seller has to practically give the home away.
2. Exteriors matter. A well-manicured lawn may tell you that a house is well cared for. But also, don’t overlook homes where you’ll be able to do a few simple pieces of yard and home exterior projects to improve the property. Curbside appeal can help drive potential buyers into your home (and make it more fun to come home to while you’re living in it!). Three easy steps can help you bring an exterior to life: power-wash the home, tame the landscaping and add color (either via landscaping or accent colors on your house) to make a home instantly more attractive.
3. Kitchens are key. Let’s be honest for a moment. Almost nobody uses formal dining rooms anymore. If you can find a home that swaps a dreary dining area for a huge kitchen, do it. Think about most of the parties you’ve attended lately. Where do people congregate? The kitchen. Plus, at the end of your day creating, who wants to try and navigate a tiny kitchen space? It’ll be relaxing for you and make your house more warm and inviting for guests.
4. Think about your workspace. Of course, you’re going to look for a place to work your craft…it should be convenient while also separated from the rest of the living area. Any good book on relaxation will tell you to have a separate area for your work so when the day is done you can remove yourself from your project and recharge your batteries to do it again tomorrow!
Negotiate, Negotiate, Negotiate!
Many people are afraid to ask for a lower price. Don’t be! Remember that the seller has a price in mind they’ll accept which is often much lower than the listed price. Don’t make the mistake of falling in love with properties and making emotional decisions…only to overpay for a home by tens of thousands of dollars. Remember these three points when negotiating.
1. Begin your negotiation with a price lower than the price you want to pay. Whether you want a seller to counter your offer or not, chances are…they will. Begin your negotiation low so that you can come up to the price you’re willing to pay.
2. Don’t be afraid to walk away. Expert negotiators tell me that this frame of mind is essential to a successful negotiation. Problems occur when a seller knows that the buyer isn’t willing to walk. Don’t be afraid to say, “No thank you.” There are hundreds of homes on the market. Even if your dream home hasn’t presented itself yet, chances are good you’ll find another equally impressive opportunity in the near future.
3. Be careful when involving your real estate professional. Real estate pros can be priceless when it comes to finding properties and matching potential buyers and sellers. However, their commission structure works in a way that can make them far less useful at the negotiating table. Because they only get paid when the sale is complete AND because they only get a small percentage of any deal, they’re not necessarily going to be concerned with negotiating that last $5,000. Think about it, at 6%, that’s only a difference of $300 and isn’t worth their time. Be aware of this if it feels like they are trying to convince you to just close quickly.
Hire a Great Inspector!
I’ve seen too many people trust that the house is going to be wonderful and skip the inspection to save a few bucks. Huge mistake! A qualified inspector will show you potential problems with a home so that you’ll know the amount of work you have on your hands. Even more important, inspectors can find deal killers like black mold or foundation problems. Homeowners are masters at covering up home weaknesses and financial publications are filled with horror stories of buyers who walked into a trap…only to recognize it after the money had already changed hands and the contracts were signed. Pay for an inspection to uncover as many
as possible BEFORE you move in, so you aren’t surprised and disappointed later.
Buying a house is a major decision. A home will probably be, for most of us, the most expensive transaction we’ll ever have. Take your time! This will allow you to rest easily knowing that you can focus on your art instead of on the albatross of a home you’ve tied yourself to because you didn’t do your homework. By taking a few moments, you’ll come home every day to a house you love that’ll give you the power to create your best work!