How to Choose a Home that's for your Family now and in the Future
Once you've chosen a few neighborhoods, the next piece of the puzzle is deciding what kind of home you want to live in. Each has plusses and minuses.
Types of homes
- Single-family homes: This is a home on its own lot where one family lives. These often have the highest resale value and enjoy some unique advantages, such as a private yard. However, they're usually the most expensive type of home to buy and maintain.
- Multifamily home: This type of home is great for a first-time buyer or anyone else who could use some rental income to help pay the mortgage.
- Condominium: Everything inside the walls of a condo is yours, while everything outside the walls — like the roof — is commonly owned among all the owners in the development. Although you don't own as much of the building as you would if it were a single-family dwelling, the upside is that your monthly condo fee pays for exterior maintenance, which is the responsibility of the condo association. You also own a certain percentage of the development's common areas, such as staircases, green space, etc.
- Co-op: With a cooperative apartment, you purchase shares in a corporation that owns the whole building, and you receive a lease to your own apartment. A board of directors supervises management, and you pay a monthly fee that covers your share of the mortgage on the building.
Things to consider when purchasing a home
- Carefully think about whether you want new construction or a move-in-ready home, or whether you're willing to fix up an older home. While lower prices commanded by fixer-uppers can seem attractive, be realistic about the time and skill you have for renovations. It can be a lot harder and more time-consuming than you think.
- One-bedroom condos are more difficult to resell than two-bedroom condos.
- Two-bedroom/one-bath single-family homes generally are less appealing than homes with three or more bedrooms, and thus often will appreciate less.
- Curb appeal (how your home looks from the street) is a crucial factor when it comes to resale.
- Less expensive, more moderately sized homes on a given street often have more investment potential than large and/or unusual homes.
Before you begin looking for a home, be prepared to act promptly when you find "the one." While you don't want to act impulsively, realize that waiting even a day or two — especially in a hot market, or if the home is newly listed or under-priced — can result in someone else getting it. If that happens, all your hard work is wasted, and you have to start over.
Rino Maddalena is an Associate Broker with Llewellyn Realtors. To contact Rino for all of your Real Estate needs call (301) 717-1075 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.