In this real estate market, finding even one good option that meets most of your house-hunting criteria is fortunate. So if you find yourself in the position of having two great options to choose from, count yourself lucky. This is a good problem to have. Of course, that doesn’t make the decision any easier. The following tips can help you make the difficult decision between two homes a little more black and white.
Back to the drawing board – Sometimes the best way to make a decision is to go back to the beginning. Remind yourself which features were most important to you when you first started your search. Do both homes meet those criteria? Make a list of each home’s features and compare them side-by-side. Are there any glaring differences? Another effective approach is a classic pro/con list. Compare the pro and con column lengths for each home. When you list features out objectively rather than relying on your overall impression of the homes, your decision may become very clear indeed.
Neighborhood watch – Are the homes in different neighborhoods? Your choice of community is as important as the home itself. Evaluate the merits of each neighborhood. How close will you be to shopping centers, schools, or work? Is the neighborhood well maintained? What do the crime statistics suggest about safety? Are there a lot of homes up for sale? Picture yourself living in each community and see how comfortable and at-home you feel.
Think ahead – You want to pick a home you’ll be happy in now, but making the best investment means also considering the future resale value of the house. You may want to choose the home that will have a better ROI. Some factors to consider: Compared to other homes on the block, is this one larger or smaller? Bigger homes may be brought down in value by the lesser value of the other homes on the street. How well does it fit in? Studies show that homes that stick out in the neighborhood have a harder time selling. Ask your agent for statistics on whether neighborhood property values are appreciating or depreciating (real estate lingo for increasing or decreasing). Knowing the neighborhood trend can help you predict the ROI for your home. Finally, is the nearby school system a good one? Even if you don’t have kids, that will affect your home’s resale value.
Time on the market – Find out how long each house has been on the market. The longer a home has been on the market, the more likely the seller will be to accept a lower offer. All other things being equal between the two homes, you may be able to get a better deal on the home that’s been for sale longer.
Ultimately, you don’t want to spend too much time laboring over the decision or you could risk losing the house to another buyer and the decision will be made for you! Consult with your realtor, think through the important factors, make comparisons, and if all else fails, go with your gut. The good news is that if you’re deciding between two great houses, you can’t really go wrong.