Home buyers in today's market are now more educated than ever before. With all of the great MLS-based Internet sites, they are studying values and researching all their options ahead of time.
The real estate slump has created a good kind of fear whereby buyers are now much more cautious. It has taught many of us how to really slow down and think before making such a big investment.
Now more than ever, we want to focus on what the most important characteristics are when considering a property to purchase. Many people took huge losses, but this can now be to a buyer's benefit. We want to really think about what qualities may help us feel most comfortable in knowing that we have made the best investment with our money.
In 2005, many buyers didn't do the research because their focus was on rushing to outbid other offers. Current value and retaining value are now the main thing that buyers are considering. We all would now rather take the time to get the information needed and put in an effort to make the best choice.
Please feel free to add on, but here is the list that I have compiled of what I think are the top ten most important home investment qualities:
1. Location, location location: You are all starting off with the right town —Ocean City! But proximity to beach or just an overall nice street always helps a bit more.
2. Rental income: If you plan to rent, be sure to research rental history and rates. Many properties do get repeat rentals if they have rented the summers before. Previous owners may not have rented. Ask your Realtor for comparable rental properties to determine what the possibilities are for that home. Then examine the total possible rental income against what your mortgage will be. YES, some properties are again paying for themselves.
3. Outside shower: Buyers and tenants do look for this very often. Enclosed showers are always a bonus, but make sure they have ventilation, drainage and they are not too dark like those placed inside of some garages.
4. Storage: This is a necessity at the beach for people wanting to store beach chairs, bikes, toys and coolers, etc.
5. Maintenance: If you are buying a condo, be sure that the other owners have actively maintained and been responsive in keeping up with any repairs and daily upkeep. Keep in mind that you will have to work with them on any of your future wants, needs and requests.
6. Outdoor areas: Buyers and tenants who are coming to relax at the shore want to spend time outdoors. The ocean breeze is what people really enjoy about our town. With the price of land, it is sometimes tough but try to seek out a property that has some kind of patio, deck or yard space.
7. Parking: As we all know, parking can be a problem. Properties without parking are always a harder sell to tenants and buyers. Try to find a property with at least one space. The more the better.
8. Curb appeal: Make sure the property looks nice on the outside. Either buy it with intention to fix that, if it is an issue, or pass it up yourself.
9. Bathrooms: Multiple families often visit the shore together. Sometimes they even buy together. Having that second or third bathroom is always a huge convenience.
10. Staging: People will either pay much less or totally overlook a property where the interior looks worn and old. When you have numerous tenants changing over every week, it is difficult to keep up. However, always get your get carpets and furniture shampooed before and after every summer season. If possible replace the pieces that don't clean up well and add things to brighten a darker place up.
(If you are looking for an investment, contact me: Caroline Watts, Prudential Fox & Roach Realtors, 200 34th Street Ocean City, cell:609-254-4756, Caroline@prufoxroach.com, search properties at www.OCNJMLS.com)