In addition to single family homes (one home per lot), there are other forms of home ownership:
Multifamily homes: Some buyers, particularly first-timers, start with multiple family dwellings, so they’ll have rental income to help with their costs. Many mortgage plans, including VA and FHA loans, can be used for buildings with up to four units, if the buyer intends to occupy one of them.
Condominiums: With a condo, you own “from the plaster in” just as you would a single house. You also own a certain percentage of the “common elements” — staircases, sidewalks, roofs and the like. Monthly charges pay your share of taxes and insurance on those elements, as well as repairs and maintenance. A homeowners association administers the development.
Home purchase considerations
Most buyers’ first consideration, after neighborhoods are chosen, is the number of bedrooms. As you begin to view homes, keep the following purchase and resale considerations in mind:
* Weigh your needs, budget and personal tastes in deciding whether you want a home that’s a newly constructed home, an older home or a home that requires some work — a “fixer-upper.”
* One-bedroom condos are more difficult to resell than two-bedroom ones.
* Two-bedroom/one-bath single houses generally have less appeal than houses with three or more bedrooms, and therefore less appreciation potential.
* Homes with “curb appeal” (a well-maintained, attractive, and charming view-from-the-street appearance) are the easiest to resell.
* When resale is a possibility, don’t buy the most expensive house on the street, or anything that is unusual or unique.
Before you begin the home buying process, resolve to act promptly when you find the right house. Every REALTOR® has stories to tell about a couple who looked far and wide for their dream home, finally found it, and then revealed that “we always promised my Dad we’d sleep on it, so we’ll make an offer tomorrow.” Many times the story has a sad ending — someone else came in that evening with an offer that was accepted.
Resolve at this point that you will act decisively when you find the house that’s clearly right for you. This is particularly important after a long search or if the house is newly listed and/or under-priced.
Next we will cover making the offer!