Post Purchase Renovations Can Make All the Difference
There’s no denying mortgage rates and home prices are higher now than they were last year. Unless you’ve won the lottery in the past six months, that’s going to affect what you can afford. At the same time, there are fewer homes available for sale than the norm. Put them together and you find the biggest obstacles buyers are facing today. But there are ways to overcome these things and still make your dream of homeownership a reality.
As you set out to make a purchase, you’ll want to be strategic. This includes taking a close look at your wish list and considering what features you really need in your next home versus which ones are nice-to-have. This will help you avoid overextending your budget or narrowing your options too much because you’re searching for that perfect home. Once you’re in your new home, you can assess which updates are financially feasible (new paint, new kitchen hardware, etc.), which renovations are necessary (a roof, driveway, etc.), and which luxury upgrades can wait a few years (pool, guest cottage, etc.)
Danielle Hale, Chief Economist at Realtor.com, explains:
“The key to making a good decision in this challenging housing market is to be laser focused on what you need now and in the years ahead…Another key point is to avoid stretching your budget, as tempting as it may be…”
Be Specific, Yet Open-Minded
Here in St. Augustine, Florida, we have the pleasure of seeing some truly incredible, one-of-a-kind properties. There’s a reason why the HGTV Dream Home 2024 is tucked away on Anastasia Island, after all. However, for every picture perfect, turnkey property on the beach, there are dozens in neighborhoods like St. Augustine Shores, West King, or even Lincolnville that have unlimited potential, even if they don’t check every box—read: lack of an ocean view. Just because you won’t wake up to the sun rising over the Atlantic Ocean doesn’t mean a home might not be perfect for your family.
To help identify what you truly need, make a list of all the features you’ll want to see. We like to use three main categories to help homebuyers organize their vision.
Must-Haves – If a house doesn’t have these features, it won’t work for you and your lifestyle (examples: distance from work, number of bedrooms or bathrooms, etc.)
Nice-To-Haves – These are features you’d love to have but can live without. Nice-to-haves aren’t dealbreakers, but if you find a home that hits all the must-haves and some of these, it’s a contender (examples: a second home office, a garage, etc.)
Dream State – This is where you can really think big. Again, these aren’t features you’ll need, but if you find a home in your budget that has all the must-haves, most of the nice-to-haves, and any of these, it’s a clear winner (examples: a pool, multiple walk-in closets, waterview, boat launch, etc.)
If you’re only willing to tour homes that have all of your dream features, you may be cutting down your options too much and making it harder on yourself (and your budget) than necessary.
While you’d love to have a chef-style kitchen for hosting or the backyard oasis of your dreams, those are both things you could potentially add after you move. Instead, it may be best to focus on finding the things that you can’t change. Then, you can upgrade or add some of the other features or finishes you want later on.
Is the Perfect Home Waiting for You in St. Augustine?
As mentioned above, there are some things you won’t be able to change after purchasing a home. Depending on zoning regulations, this might include the number of bedrooms or square footage for potential additions, but what it definitely includes is the location.
Like the cliché says, real estate is all about location, location, location. There are few places where this holds more true than St. Augustine, Florida.
But, if you’re planning on living in this home for five years, ten years, or longer, it’s important to look at, not exactly where things are today, but where they are trending and where they could be in the future.
St. Augustine and its surrounding area has seen an explosion of growth the likes of which the city—originally founded in 1565—has never seen. As much as we would like one, The Newcomer Group does not possess a crystal ball that can show us the future. Still, according to Redfin, the average home value in St. Augustine is $470,000—that’s up from an average home value of $110,000 in 2000.
Remember, sometimes the perfect home is the one you perfect after buying it.
Once you’ve categorized your list in a way that works for you, discuss your top priorities with your real estate agent. They’ll be able to help you refine the list further, coach you through the best way to stick to it, and find a home in your area that meets your top needs.
Welcome Home to St. Augustine
Whether you’ve just started thinking about life in St. Augustine, or if you’ve lived in the Ancient City your entire life, there is always something more to discover. Check out our newest real estate listings or give us a call at (904) 599-5633 to discuss listing your current home with The Newcomer Group.