Perhaps one of the most important concepts that Silicon Valley home buyers need to appreciate is that someday, they’re going to be Silicon Valley home sellers.
It is true that there’s no such thing as a “perfect house” anywhere in Silicon Valley. No matter what your budget, there is always a change you might want in any home. (Often buyers want about 20% more than their budget allows, in my experience. This is equally true of first time homebuyers as it is for move up or even luxury home buyers.)
So it comes down to which compromises you’re willing to make. There will always be compromises – but which ones are acceptable, and which ones aren’t?
It is extremely helpful if you can prioritize, in order, what you must have or strongly prefer to have, in your next home. Sometimes couples have some, but not all, of the same preferences, wants and needs. Where they get into trouble in homebuying is when they have different priorities. In fact, that can make it almost impossible to buy a home and have everyone happy at the end.
I would like to suggest that one of your top priorities ought to be “resale value” and “resale ability”. Some may object, “I am never going to sell this home!” but in truth, we don’t know the future. If you buy a home with a problem that makes it hard to sell generally, and you get stuck having to sell it in a bad market, it will be brutal and possibly even risky if you later are selling due to any financial hardship.
What kinds of things should you consider as factoring into resale value later?
The biggest challenges anywhere in the San Jose, Los Gatos or Saratoga area are the things you cannot change. For the most part, anything inside of your home can be upgraded, fixed, or remodeled. But you can’t improve the neighborhood, the land the home’s sitting on, or issues beyond your own property line.
Some “big issues” along these lines include:
- high voltage power lines
- train tracks
- freeway walls
- busy roads
- commercial properties too close
- airport too close
- traffic cutting through your street (for schools, freeway access etc.)
- having lesser quality homes nearby (apartments or neglected homes)
- blighted homes, neighbors who do not keep up their yards
- too many cars or other vehicles on the street
- loud neighbors
- an earthquake fault
- being in a flood plain that requires flood insurance
- other natural or environmental hazards such as asbestos, radon, and mercury
For the most part, there is absolutely nothing you can do about any of these problems. If you purchase a home with one of these issues, realize that when you sell your home, the impact may be the same or may be worse.
If you begin with the end in mind, that is, buy with selling in mind, you will purchase a home that will enjoy a better chance of selling in any market.
Want to improve your possible resale value when you purchase a Santa Clara County house or condo? Buy a home that has the potential of appealling to the largest possible audience. Begin with the end in mind. Some of the homes that have the most difficulty selling in every market appeal only to a small pool of buyers. For current homeowners who want to sell, the advice is the same: get your home into shape so that it appeals to the largest group of potential buyers.
We’ll discuss “what buyers want” in a future post soon so that sellers can get their home into the best possible condition for resale value.