Beyond Back-of-the-Envelope: New Home Affordability
You want your approach to finding a new home in North Bethany to be at least somewhat hard-headed and businesslike. The financial stakes are certainly major, and to some extent, much of what your future lifestyle will be like will depend on making a good choice.
This is not to totally discount the emotional component that’s inevitably part of finding your new North Bethany home. You do want your family to feel good about the final choice—you’ll be moving to the dwelling that will become everybody’s center of operations.
So if your repeat visit begins to convince you that this really is the place you’ve been hoping to find, it’s the appropriate time to take a step back to do your most hard-headed, businesslike projection. This is beyond the back-of-the-envelope kind of calculation (the one that originally guided the price range you gave to your Realtor). This is time to take everything into account to see how well this new North Bethany home truly fits—on a number of counts.
A new home’s true affordability begins with the banker’s basic price formula—purchase price, mortgage, insurance and taxes. You should also contemplate the cost of having the property inspected and the closing costs (your Realtor® can give you a close estimate). But that’s not the whole picture—a new home’s true affordability also incorporates the difference between your family’s current expense profile and any factors that will change it.
For instance, if the square footage of the new home greater, you can expect that simple maintenance costs will rise proportionately (unless the new home’s condition is a good deal better than your current one). Utility costs may rise, too, if the living space is greater—unless more efficient systems are in place.
If the location will necessitate a change in driving distance or other transportation expenses, they should be taken into account. Does the new place have a significantly larger lawn or other landscaping features? If you have a green thumb and enjoy getting that kind of outdoor exercise (IOW, mowing), that won’t have much effect. If not, you’d better factor in a gardener’s bill.
There is one other element that’s easy to overlook, but accounting for it can eliminate the possibility that the whole move results in an unexpectedly depleted bank balance. Most people who are moving into a terrific new home forget to fully account for the few changes they’ll need to make before the place is perfectly suited their family. These could be minor, like changing out a light fixture that doesn’t fit the dining room table. Or they could be major, like addressing wholesale décor clashes that call for choosing between repainting the walls—or reupholstering— or even purchasing new furniture!
- Written by Russell Stucki
Property Management Success Buoyed by Defined Skillset
Become a landlord!
Be your own boss!
Build equity that someone else pays for!
These may sound like the kind of come-ons that you tune out when you hear them on the radio or TV, but, surprisingly, they’re actually more reality-based than not. Whether you're buying a North Bethany property for its rental potential, or preparing to turn a currently-owned property into an income-producer, the game plan is straightforward. Locate a suitable North Bethany property: one with the rental potential to create cash flow either as income, or to build real estate equity…or both!
So what’s the catch?
In fact, there is one. Becoming a successful landlord has more to it than spotting an appropriate North Bethany property and sitting back, waiting for someone to nail up an ‘Easy Street’ sign. In order to make the most of the opportunity an North Bethany rental property represents, you need to either already have, or develop, a requisite set of skills. Chief among them:
1. The relationship between landlord and tenant, and landlord and the tradespeople he hires, should be purposefully professional. Your tenants may also be fellow North Bethany residents (or even neighbors), yet skillfully establishing and maintaining an amiable yet businesslike relationship takes dexterity and finesse. Substituting an overly personal relationship instead of the more proper businesslike one can result in counterproductive consequences…like tardy rent payments or superfluous demands.
2. As much as any other business, successful landlords are usually ‘people people’: they don’t shy away from interactions on a face-to-face basis. Whether it’s dealing with renters’ concerns, interviewing potential tenants, or handling the personnel who help maintain a North Bethany property, great landlords have great leadership skills. They have the knack of bringing positive energy to everyday dealings. Good landlords exhibit authority without being overbearing, and they allow their tenants to feel the right degree of investment in what is their home, if only temporarily.
3. It may seem as if turning a property into an income-producer is an extremely simple task, but in fact it takes organizational skills to accomplish it efficiently. There are laws that have to be observed, and documentation to be maintained. People who cultivate clarity in such matters are nicely suited to the demands of running a rental property.
4. There are unavoidable time availability demands that mustn’t be ignored. A tenant with a maintenance emergency needs to have it addressed. Now. It’s one thing that even the most people-oriented, organizationally proficient business titan should be prepared to attend to without delay.
- Written by Russell Stucki
On the Hunt for an "Average House Price" in North Bethany
When you do a web search for “average house price in North Bethany,” you come up with a lot of good, not-so-good, and just plain lame information. If you were looking for a general idea of what the current market says that homes like yours in your neighborhood are worth, the results are likely to be more amusing than anything else.
You always come up with the national sites’ average listing price for homes for sale in North Bethany. Depending upon how recently their data engine found and tossed out duplicates and errors, and that can be an interesting number. You will also get state real estate trends, a list of average sold prices (this one seems to be subject to error); an instant, somewhat dubious calculation for the average price per square foot of a house in North Bethany; and ads. Lots and lots of ads. But almost all of the “averages” are affected by listings and/or sale prices for “lot/land for sale” and the like…hardly useful unless your own house has recently disappeared. Likewise, unless your property is a weekend getaway chalet, any “charming, quiet cabin” listings will send the “average house price in North Bethany” calculation seriously awry.
On a recent web excursion, I did stumble across a great cartoon presentation at the CNN.com site. It was an animation that showed how the average American home has changed over the past 40 years. The graphics show a typical house as it expands, contracts, adds features and loses them (the fireplace disappeared about 10 years ago: who knew that?).
With a tip of the hat to creator Bard Edlund, here’s a synopsis of the highlights:
1973 found the median new single family residence at 1,525 square feet.
A mere seven years later, air conditioning and a fireplace had appeared…anyone familiar with the era might be forgiven for retrieving the mental image of President Nixon’s Oval Office fireplace roaring while the air conditioning blasts away…
In 1984, George Orwell’s’ predictions aren’t totally in place, but the square footage has stretched to 1,605, and the average house price is $79,900. Ten years later, the house has expanded to 1,940 square feet, average house price is $130,000.
That “average house price” growth is pretty convincing: the narrator backtracks to point out that “the median sales price has gone from $64,600 in 1980 to $169,000 just 20 years later.” Alas, even though the cartoon doesn’t show a wrecking crew tearing it out, “the fireplace disappears in 2007” (there’s still one in the White House, though); “right before the house contracts during the economic crisis.” Then the recovery: by 2013, the average price of $268,900 supports a house having 2,384 square feet of space: 56% larger than the house of 40 years ago.
- Written by Russell Stucki
North Bethany's Best Realtor© is One Who Knows What You're Af
When you Google “seeking the best professional,” in about a half a second you are presented with 403 million candidates (not to play favorites, SearchEngineWise, when you ask Bing the same thing, it gives you a mere 62.6 million…which might actually prove more useful, since it would only take you a little more than a year to scan each for 2 seconds).
Narrowing the quest, when you Google “seeking the best Realtor®,” it gives you just a few less than 2,000,000 likely results. Since anyone seeking the best real estate professional to buy or sell their home isn’t after one eight states away, almost everyone quickly narrows the search to ‘best Realtor in North Bethany .’ That number varies from time to time, but almost always more than 500,000 show up (the ones at the top are paid ads).
This isn’t actually as whimsical a quest as such results suggest: it’s a quite serious undertaking. Even if you are a veteran homeowner—someone who has bought and sold homes multiple times in the past—today’s market is so vastly different from what it was even ten years ago (thank you, Internet!) that you need to connect with a Realtor in North Bethany who will bring you success in this vast new arena. This will be someone whose marketing knowhow is as current as this morning’s Tweet—but whose depth of knowledge and experience in adroitly handling the old-fashioned local workings (and, alas, paperwork) are also encyclopedic. Today, your “best North Bethany Realtor” will have mastered it all.
So, what’s the right way to go about finding her/him? What’s a homeowner or prospective home buyer to do when they are bound and determined to actually find the best professional in North Bethany? There are positive steps to take:
a) Word of mouth: ask around to people whose opinions are substantial. Even if you are looking to sell and someone whose opinion you trust has experience only as a buyer, take the agent’s name. The best Realtors in North Bethany are great on both fronts!
b) When you are out and about in the neighborhood, note the “For Sale” yard signs planted in the lawns of appealing-looking properties. Jot down the agent’s contact number.
c) Check the newspapers (and even notices posted on local store bulletin boards) for open houses…then attend them!
d) Check the local MLS: see which agents are prominently represented in the North Bethany listings—especially for properties in the same general price range. Look for eye-catching, well-written listings.
And finally, having compiled a list of your likely suspects, take the final and most important step of all:
e) Stop Googling—and start interviewing!
- Written by Russell Stucki