As I meet with potential sellers every day, many of them have the fear of the other side of the sale. Meaning, will they be able to find a new home after their current one sells. To me it all boils down to one question: “Are you a house person or a location person?”
Not that one person will easily find a new home and the other won’t, but it is an important question to ask yourself as you are contemplating a move. Reason being, if you are looking for a specific size or style of home in a general area, you will typically have more options available to you than someone who is looking to purchase in a very specific location.
Trust me, I understand location people. My wife, Leah, and I were and are location people. And our friends often ask us why we moved from a three bedroom, two bath home to another three bedroom two bath home (for twice the price) when we moved three years ago. The answer is location. We wanted to be able to walk to our elementary school and we wanted to stay in Prairie Village. At the time, our search area was 63rd St to 83rd St between Mission and Roe. Talk about specific location criteria. At the end of the day, it was worth it for us. Leah and I have never once regretted our decision to move to our new location. In all honesty, it is one of the best decisions that we have ever made together. The moral of the story is that we wrote the offer on our current home almost two years before the prior owners actually accepted it. That’s right. Our uber specific criteria caused us to wait patiently for almost two years before we got the call.
On the flip side, house people will typically have more options to choose from because they are not hand-cuffing themselves with a specific location. Therefore, they can be a little more picky as it pertains to the specs of their future home. Don’t get me wrong, house people can have their own challenges.
So here are a few tips for both house and location buyers:
You still need location parameters. Even if you are not married to a location, it is still very useful to set some location boundaries. Ask yourself, “If I did have a perfect location for my family, what would it be?” Force yourself to prioritize locations if you can. This will keep you from driving back and forth all over the city looking at houses. All locations are not created equally, so identify the best two or three that support your lifestyle the most and start there.
Location will matter when it comes to resale. Oftentimes house buyers are so excited about their upgrade in space and amenities that they lose sight of the impact of their new home’s location on resale. For example, if you buy a home close to I-435 because it offers a ton of space for the money, keep in mind that you will also have to price it competitively when you sell to convince someone to consider a location that comes with a good dose of interstate noise. Also remember that as the market balances out and buyers have more options, homes in challenging locations are one of the first homes to have their values affected.
Identify your non-negotiable must haves. Not your like to haves, or prefer to haves, but your must haves. Location buyers must concede that they will possibly give up some space, updates, or both to achieve their ideal location. Leah and I had just completed a total kitchen remodel on our first home when we got the call that our sellers were ready to move. So we moved from an incredible kitchen to a kitchen that was last updated in the early 1990s. And it was worth it. If you find that you have an extensive list of must haves, you might want to ask yourself, “Which of these am I willing to concede in order to get my preferred location?” If the answer is none, you can either broaden your search area or pray for patience.
Don’t go it alone, hire a Realtor. Most location buyers are tied to a location by a school, a church, a certain subdivision, etc. Therefore, they often think that they will find a home simply by getting the word out and networking. This can happen. However, the odds are slim. If you must purchase a home in a small geographic area, then you certainly need a full-time, experienced Realtor hunting for you daily. After all, that is the service they provide. Not only does a Realtor have their own network of friends and past clients, they also have a network of other Realtors who work in the area. This network of Realtors can be a great resource for upcoming listings or sellers in the area who have offered to sell if the right offer presents itself.