For a future homebuyer scanning through the Tampa Bay Multiple Listing Service (MLS) listings, first there are the meat-and-potatoes factors (baths, bedrooms, square footage), then any number of other distinguishing factors. Is the kitchen upgraded? Does the floor plan work? Will I like the backyard?
It’s easy for buyers to become enchanted by the bells and whistles as they search through the MLS listings. But no matter how permanent they consider their intended move, that home purchase should always include a thoughtful appraisal of its long-term investment value. Some of the underlying factors in that respect don’t change a lot.
Location, Location, Location! When your agent sends you a batch of new MLS listings, be sure to click on the link to the map. You know how appealing that placement is for your needs, but also consider the likely work commute for future buyers, the distance to restaurants and stores, hospitals and places of entertainment. Energy prices are all but certain to keep rising, so an MLS listing’s “walkscore” – its pedestrian friendliness — is likely to rise in importance for tomorrow’s buyer as well. Over the years, neglect can decrease a property’s value and improvements can make its value grow, but its location is permanent.
The price and property tax rate in an MLS listing should be a reflection of the wider cost of living in its immediate neighborhood. If living in the heart of town pushes your budget, chances are it will push your future buyer’s budget, as well. Evaluate the pros and cons of each of our Tampa Bay neighborhoods balanced with the cost of real estate in the area. Don’t forget to weigh in public schools and transportation options in the mix: if it looks like you will get what you will be paying for, it’s more likely that future MLS listing readers will come to the same conclusion.
Today’s buyers are snapping up deals on foreclosures, short sales, and plain old discounts at every price-point in the market. Nevertheless, it’s also true that when a home is bought for a discount, that very number affects home values in the neighborhood. It becomes its own future ‘comp.’ Getting a deal on a house is important, but not more important than buying a home that rewards you and your family with long-term value.
Buying a home is a process — one that leads you to your most serious long-term investment. That’s good to bear in mind every week when a new batch of fresh Tampa Bay MLS listings pops into your inbox. Take your time with them; evaluate the tradeoffs; drive the neighborhoods. I’m here to help you make a great choice: one that’s good for your family over the long haul!