How to Stop Worrying About the Future Value of Your Home
It’s tempting to fall into the crystal ball trap when it comes to home value. You know the one, where you try to determine if values will rise (and by how much). Real estate is one of the biggest investments you’ll make so it’s completely understandable that you’d wonder about the future value of your home. Still there’s a difference between making an informed decision and worrying about changes that you cannot control. We sincerely hope this post will help you avoid the latter.
Factors That Affect Home Values
There are MANY variables that go into the valuation of a home. Let’s quickly review a couple of the biggest ones to give you a better understanding.
Home Value =
- Size & Layout
You’ve probably heard that old saying about real estate? “Location, location, location!” And it’s true! Just the mention of a neighborhood name is powerful enough to bring up images and emotions. We tend to have strong ties to our community.
You may have noticed that agents provide data about comparable homes in an area. This is done to help both buyers and sellers make strategic choices and shows that the values in a neighborhood tend to rise and fall together. Your home value is strongly tied to the future of your surrounding area. While this is definitely a consideration while in the buying process it’s also a great motivator to become involved within your neighborhood community.
What You Can Do:
Research future plans for the neighborhood. Big projects like road expansions, rezoning, and major developments take time and require approval by the local government. These records are public and can be reviewed to help determine what is in the future for your neighborhood. Another important way to measure the health of your neighborhood is how well its schools perform. Once you have an understanding of local school performance look at how the schools are zoned. Even though these school boundaries can change, they give us valuable information that’s quick to obtain.
Size & Layout
It’s true that location is important but size is another big factor in home value. Aside from the usual bedroom and bathroom selections home size is something people decide on based on their own plans. You may be considering whether your family will be growing or if your children are nearing college age you may want to downsize. On both ends of the home size spectrum people choose based on their future needs. Depending on your neighborhood demographics certain home sizes will rise and fall in demand and therefore change in value. Keep in mind that size is more than square footage. The layout is how liveable the space is and a HUGE consideration. We’ve all been in homes that sound large in number but just “felt” small.
What You Can Do:
When deciding on what you want in a home consider your future plans. Also don’t be afraid to view a home with more size and a great layout that is in a less desirable location. You might find you can get more house for your money in these situations. For example my home backs up to a somewhat busy road. Even though the location isn’t perfect, we got a lot of value for the price and we love it.
Home remodeling shows are hot but major changes should be carefully considered when buying a home. The age of mechanicals (furnace and AC for examples) and other important features (such as the roof) are often listed in for sale descriptions. This information is used as a gauge of value. And, you can also use it to gather clues on whether and when you can expect to have to replace some things. Large home improvement projects are costly so the homes with updated features have a higher value.
What You Can Do:
Always get a home inspection (from a reliable inspector) when buying a home. The very first thing to consider when doing an update or upgrade to your home is personal enjoyment. Will this make YOU happy? The second thing to consider would be resale value. Will you recoup some of your costs on that project when you sell the house?
If I could give you one piece of advice about future home value it’s this –
Buy the home that works for you NOW!
Imagine you have 4 kids and you’re trying to choose between two houses to buy. House #1 has 5 bedrooms but backs to a busy road for $200,000. (In this example, your driveway isn’t on the busy road.)
House #2 is a 3 bedroom in a “hot” location where the kids have to share bedrooms but it’s more updated and will “likely” sell better in a few years. Priced at $225,000.
What’s more important – being comfortable and having room to live, OR, stepping on each other in constant frustration just so it’s easier to sell in 5 years?
If you were to take our advice, you’ll buy the home that works for you NOW. So, you get house #1 – the 5 bedroom with more space!
Hopefully these tips will help calm your nerves over predicting future value. Give yourself a break! You don’t have a crystal ball. Whatever choice you make, it will be the right one for YOU. That’s what matters. And, if you’re curious about the value of the home you have right now, you can always get an instant online valuation on our website here. We’ll even send you monthly updates so you can keep track of what’s happening in your neighborhood.