I work with a lot of first time home buyers. They are probably some of my best clients. For the most part, they are willing to learn the tricks of the trade. They ask all the right questions and cover their boundaries. In a lot of ways, they are trusting and accept advice easily. However, whether you are a first time home buyer or purchasing your 3rd, 4th or 5th home one rule of real estate always stands firm.
Location, Location, Location!
Location is one of the first things I discuss with my first time home buyers. As an agent, it is always at the forefront of my mind when touring properties.
When determining a home, and more importantly its value, the location of the property will determine the long term value and stability of that property. This can be said for a large geographic region such as Orange County all the way down to the specific location in a particular neighborhood. Orange County has higher home values than San Antonio, Texas for a reason. The value is in the land, location and proximity to certain desires such as, the beach. The beach may be the obvious determining factor in driving home values in Orange County, but there are many other factors to consider that drive the cost of your home.
When buying a home in Orange County, consider these items:
-Proximity to freeways
-Ease of getting to the beach
-Lot size and location
-Proximity to shopping, restaurants and grocery stores
Cities such as Costa Mesa, Aliso Viejo and Irvine have all seen significant gains in home values over the last year. One of the common denominators with these cities is the relative ease to freeways or toll roads allowing for shorter commutes to beach cities and work. There is a high demand for spending less time in your car and more time in the sun. All of these cities offer great shopping and dining, as well. As you move further out to Foothill Ranch, Mission Viejo, Rancho Santa Margarita or San Juan Capistrano (all great cities in their own right) you will see slight drops in home values due to their geographic location. They are often associated with a little longer commute and fewer “Town Centers” where you can get all your shopping done. However, when picking a neighborhood regardless of city one thing stays consistent in determining price. Land! For example, think about a neighborhood in Aliso Viejo. The average home price for that neighborhood may be $600,000. If you have a corner lot in that neighborhood, your home may sell for $50,000-$75,000 more just because of the lot. If you can find a deal with a corner lot, snatch it up quickly. It will retain its value year after year. Many people don’t realize that the value of their home is in the land. If you currently own a home, take a look at your next tax statement. Say, your home is in the same neighborhood as the example above. You get your tax bill and your property was assessed for $600,000. Take a closer look at your bill. I would be willing to bet my own home that your tax bill reads “Land Value $425,000” and “Structure Value $175,000”. The fact is, building a home doesn’t cost a great deal comparatively speaking. The value is in the land and location!