Real Estate Matters – September 0917

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Consider buying a place with a kitchen that can be redone when you can afford it and to your taste. It may be the only way to get a home in the location you want.

Need to Reset?
Having high standards and expectations is great for yourself, your employees, sports teams, Rose’s Luxury. But sometimes, like when you’re looking for a home, those high standards get in the way of the dream. I get it – you have a look in mind – bright, open, shiny, with tons of storage space and a yard that can fit all your friends and a firepit and a water element and an awesome grill. Like I said, I get it.

I also get that sometimes we need a reality check. Usually, that’s because of a stupid thing called finite resources. I hate finite resources!

If you find that your house hunt is taking longer than you anticipated, it may be because you need to reboot – reassess your fiscal reality and expectations. You’re going to have to do something different.

The one thing you can’t change is location, so if you want to stay in this slowly sprawling Capitol Hill (or wherever you choose), maybe you’ll have to be okay with a yard that can only fit four friends, a wall-mounted fountain, and a George Forman grill. Or something a little tired, like the ca. 2000 brown and tan kitchen.

I’m sure you don’t want to hear it, and I’m sorry to say it, but you can save yourself a lot of time and frustration by lowering your bar if you find it’s too hard to reach.

This is not to say that you should live in a hovel. What if you went with a place that is in the location you like, is well within your budget, but needs a new kitchen? Most everyone wants move-in ready, but what if you could get past that? Could you deal with a renovation if it meant having the exact look you wanted?

The reality is that your bar is going to lower after time has passed and desperation sets in. Get in front of the curve. This market is hard because there’s not a lot for sale and everyone wants the shiny kitchen. Grab that tired property that fits your space and location needs, spend less than you would for a move-in ready, and make it your own. Best of luck!

Insurance
If you’re buying a home and getting insurance quotes, you might want to ask about adding flood insurance. It’s not covered in a typical policy. With the heavy rains we get, and the tendency for drains to back up, it may be money well spent. A couple of inches of water can cause a lot of damage, not only to the floors and anything you might have on them (furniture, rugs, boxes of irreplaceable photos), but to the walls. Drywall will actually suck up water and can mold. Replacements can add up, so insurance may be worth the cost.

Another insurance you may want to add is an umbrella policy, a general personal liability cover in case your dog bites someone, a friend of your kid slips on the bathroom tile and breaks his teeth, or whatever accident may happen on your property. Umbrella policies are generally inexpensive and worth the cost of (hopefully) avoiding a lawsuit. 

REALTOR Safety
Being a REALTOR can be sketchy; there have been some grisly results from agents meeting strangers in a vacant home. Don’t take it personally if you’re asked to provide a copy of your driver’s license upon first meeting or beforehand (and hopefully, that first meeting will take place in the agent’s office).

Questions?
Is there anything real estate-related that you’d like for me to explore? Email me about it and I’ll work it in. Please indicate if you wish your identity to remain a mystery.

 

Heather Schoell is a Capitol Hill REALTOR with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices PenFed Realty and can be reached at heathersdc@gmail.com, at the office at 202-608-1880, or by cell at 202-321-0874.