How do I choose between two properties?

Have you ever had to choose between two properties?

Do you find yourself having to choose between two homes that you love? It’s a lucky problem to have. Some buyers struggle to find one home that meets their needs. Nonetheless, your good fortune doesn’t make a choice any easier. If you find yourself torn between two houses, these tips can help you make a decision you’ll feel comfortable within the end.

One of the smart home-buying decisions you may have to make when house hunting is choosing between two great homes. Choosing one is harder than it seems, especially if you’re a first time home buyer because you have little experience to go on. You don’t want to waste too much time trying to decide in case both homes are snatched out from under you.

Before you start panicking, be sure to read our home buying decision checklist below so you can approach the problem calmly and logically. Don’t forget to keep a list of pros and cons as you work your way through!

One of the smart home-buying decisions you may have to make when house hunting is choosing between two great homes. Choosing one is harder than it seems, especially if you’re a first time home buyer because you have little experience to go on. You don’t want to waste too much time trying to decide in case both homes are snatched out from under you.

Before you start panicking, be sure to read our home buying decision checklist below so you can approach the problem calmly and logically. Don’t forget to keep a list of pros and cons as you work your way through!

Many couples and families run into a situation where they fall in love with 2 Melbourne houses at the same time and aren’t able to make a decision between either of them. While other people are racing around frantically trying to find their dream home, these few are torn between 2 homes that are both very desirable.

In some cases, there may be a split decision between the wife and the husband. The husband has fallen in love with a house with a large rec room while the wife prefers a bungalow that has a lot of storage capacity. In other cases, the couple may both be in love with two different homes. What would be the solution to this sort of situation?

Sometimes, it’s feast or famine in the house-hunting game. Depending on the market, you may find few, if any, suitable homes in your price range.

Then there are times when you may find several that seem perfect. When that happens, how do you decide which home to pursue and which to leave behind?

It’s an age-old solution, but one we’ve found quite effective with our clients: the pros and cons list. Naturally, the list works best for singles and couples – the more members of a family there are, the more compromises you’ll need to make when deciding which house to buy.

Read on for a roadmap of sorts to help you compile the pros and cons list.

Go back to the beginning.

When you first began your home search, did you make a list of all your needs and wants? It’s time to pull that list back out. For each home that you’re considering, make a list of all the things about it that you like. Then compare those lists to your original list of needs and wants. If one home seems to match much better than the other, it may make your decision more obvious.

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Consider the neighbourhood

While you may imagine your future home to be an oasis, it is not a private island. You will be part of a neighbourhood, which can impact your overall happiness in the long run. Take time to evaluate each neighbourhood and what you like or don’t like about it. How far away is it from your work? Is it in a good school district? Are there amenities nearby like markets and gas stations? What are the crime statistics? Do the neighbours keep their yards maintained? Are there any other homes for sale? These are all questions that can help you determine which neighbourhood is more suitable for your individual needs.

Think about the future value

Selling your home in the future may not be top of mind, but it’s important to consider its resale value down the road. How does each home stack up to the others in the community? Is it larger or smaller? Is it the nicest house on the block, or does it fall somewhere in the middle? Are property values in the neighbourhood going up or down? How long do homes in this neighbourhood typically stay on the market before being sold? Are there many foreclosures? If you think that you’ll be selling your home anytime in the future, it’s important to consider what your return on investment will be.

Consider your lifestyle

Determine which house best suits your current lifestyle – storage space may be necessary for you if you have a designer shoe collection or – like many people – have a lot of outdoor equipment, or maybe you’d like a spare room for gaming or movie watching during the winters. Perhaps you love to entertain, how does the living room set-up work for that, is one better than the other?

Overall, try to look past the staging and see the bare bones of the design and floor plan of the houses so that you can find one that will match your lifestyle.

Consider your plans for homeownership.

First-time house buyers and couples will need to factor in plans, such as starting a family, or if you want to do some renovation. Does one house fare better than the other when it comes to the size of the rooms or needing work done to make your mark? Considering your plans upon purchasing a home can help frame up whether a particular home will meet your needs in the short- and long-term.

Size and Storage

Depending on your current living situation, moving could mean scaling up or down in your stuff. Will your furniture fit in the new location, or will it feel like you’re in a dollhouse? When touring the two homes, pay attention to the closet, basement, attic, and garage space. Think of the seasonal items and holiday décor (among other things that you may not want to unpack right away) that you will want to be able to store safely in your new space.

Compare home prices

If one house is well within budget and the other is at the top of your price range, then the buying decision process should be easy. You would think. But often first-time homebuyers are torn because the house at the top of their budget is slightly more upmarket or bigger. Ultimately it’s your decision, but it could be safer to have a smaller mortgage and money in your bank account for day-to-day living, emergency expenses and savings. Work with your mortgage and financial professionals to help you work through the numbers and mortgage scenarios for both homes.

Location, location

Location is often the deal-breaker, especially if one house has a shorter commute to work, is closer to a park, or has other desirable nearby amenities. But if both are similar distance-wise, then consider the quality of the neighbourhoods in each location – how well are the houses and yards maintained? Neighbourhood quality can be an indicator of appreciation. Ask your real estate agent for sales figures in each neighbourhood over the last few years to see which is increasing in value.

The saying, “Location, location, location” is a cliché for a reason. While you can change many things about a home, you cannot alter its proximity to your work, schools, grocery stores, workout facilities and other locations you’ll visit often.

Few things can add or reduce stress more than the length of your daily commute, so consider the total time you’ll spend driving, walking or biking to your usual destinations from each home.

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Schools on the radar

If you’re planning to have kids, then good schools might be the deciding factor. Be sure to research the elementary, middle, and high schools in both areas you’re searching. If resale value is important to you, then keep schools on your radar even if you’re not planning a family. If one house is in a better school zone, then this will attract more homebuyers in the future.

The condition of the houses

Is one house in better condition than the other? Is one move-in ready but the other needs work? Depending on your circumstances and your budget, the one in better shape or move-in ready might be the best option but always get a house inspection done by a professional in case either home has underlying issues.

A lot of home buyers are tempted to choose their home based on the way it looks. The colour of the carpeting, paint on the walls, and even the condition of the furniture can contribute to the buyer’s overall assessment of the property. When considering the appearances of a home, it’s important to remember two important points:

First, the home will look different once it has a new owner. With the furniture gone, the house will not look the same.

Second, cosmetic improvements tend to be less expensive and easier to make than structural improvements. It’s not hard to tear out the old carpeting and paint the walls in a new colour. Buyers should not base their decision to buy a home on the way it looks, because the appearance of the home is changeable.

Focus on style and permanence

There are many things you can change about a home, but some elements will remain the same no matter how much money or effort you put in. As you look at both homes, evaluate the amount of work each will need — and how much that will change the overall feel once the renovations are complete.

For example, you may love “the bones” and original style of one home that needs a brand-new kitchen. Meanwhile, your alternative option is a fully-updated home that doesn’t match your vibe. While a kitchen remodels will be expensive and time-consuming, you could end up with your dream house after only a few months rather than settling for a home that doesn’t feel “quite right” even after years of smaller tweaks.

Have a second (or third home viewing)

By now, one property should be standing out more than the other on your pros and cons list. But it’s important to see each property at least a couple more times if not, something may spring out at you that you didn’t notice before. Try to visit at different times of the day, and do a drive-by in the morning or evening during rush hour to see if there’s traffic build-up.

Comparing the homes

When comparing homes, try to look beyond the attractive staging (or lack of) to see what architects call the “bones” of each home. This includes the design, the floorplan and the home’s soundness of structure.

Your primary concern should be your lifestyle, so determine how well each home fits. The number of bedrooms and bathrooms are important, but what about storage space, room to entertain (if this is important to you) and outdoor features?

Consider your plans as well – including whether you’ll be starting a family or dealing with an empty nest.

Scrutinize those features of each home that can’t be readily changed without spending a lot of money. This includes the flow, the number of living rooms, bathrooms, wardrobes, built-ins and room sizes.

Finally, don’t forget your wish list, if you compiled one. Which home hits more of your hot buttons?

Try to remain unemotional during the process. If you find yourself going back to a particular home because of the gourmet kitchen, yet another home has more of what you want, your emotions will keep yanking you back to the former. Is it possible to add some gourmet features to the latter home?

Have you ever noticed something new in a movie you’ve watched for the second time? It’s the same with houses; you may have missed something during the first visit. Take an additional tour of each home to help you decide.

Naturally, a fast-moving real estate market won’t accommodate your uncertainty, and you may need to make a quick decision. In that case, and if you’re stymied, remember that your new home is also a financial investment so consider choosing the home that will hold its value better than the other.

Write up the pros and cons.

Still unsure? When in doubt, begin making a pros and cons list of each house. Then, rank each item in order of importance. After all, a shorter commute is likely worth more to you than a bathroom with an original clawfoot tub.

Tally up the totals and see if one is clearly on top of the other. Remember that instinct counts double! If you have a good gut feeling about one house, don’t be afraid to add that to the list of “pros” as you evaluate.

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Ask for feedback

Finally, if you’re still feeling undecided and struggling with the decision, getting feedback from a trusted friend or family member can help you put things in perspective. So when you re-visit the houses, take them along. They can offer you advice or suggestions from an objective point of view because they’re not connected with the buying decision process.

At the end of the day, though, you have to make a decision that’s right for you and your family. The good news if you have two homes that you’re interested in, is that at least if you put in an offer and it falls through, you may still be able to count on the second house as a backup.

Trying to choose between two homes can be a very emotional decision. But in the end, it is also a business transaction. It can be helpful to ask for feedback from someone who is not emotionally connected to either home. If you’ve partnered with a trusted professional real estate agent, they can offer advice and suggestions that will help you make this difficult decision. An agent who has been working in your market for several years will have the knowledge and experience to offer you an educated opinion.

In the end, the best way to decide between two homes you love is to arm yourself with facts and data. While your intuition can help guide you, if you weigh the pros and cons and consider all the pertinent market information, you can feel confident that you’ll be happy with the home you choose.

Even if you have no plans of reselling your new home for many years, it is always important to think about the investment you are making. Consider the two properties’ potential resale value and don’t be afraid to ask your realtor’s opinion for this as well.

We recommend writing down the pros and cons of each potential new home, including ranking each category in order of their importance to you. Be honest with yourself about what your top priorities are!

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