In a real estate market in which there is plenty of inventory and prices are low compared to recent years, it can be difficult to make a real estate decision. There may just be so many options that it can be hard to begin to narrow down choices. Foreclosures, short-sales, and just bargain basement discounted prices on homes can certainly make it a buyer’s market, and this can leave buyers sorting through a glut of inventory, almost becoming lost in the numbers.
This means that prospective buyers — such as our family — must often determine a list of characteristics or attributes of a home or a home’s location to help them narrow down and better define their search area or style of home.
While we certainly want a home that the entire family can enjoy, with one child that’s almost five and another baby percolating in the pot, schools are a top priority for us. Therefore, while we had to settle for a slightly smaller condominium than we might have otherwise, it was worth it in order to get one of the best school districts in the state for our children.
We are a one car family. This means that as a work-at-home dad, being without a car during the day — though it saves us hundreds of dollars on insurance and upkeep each year — can be slightly inconvenient.
When living in our last neighborhood, I was pretty much stranded at home with no transportation. However, when looking for our condo, we ensured that we searched in areas that were close to the commuter rail, shopping, entertainment, the post office, the library, and schools.
In the area in which we eventually focused our search, property taxes on condominiums in most cases were significantly lower than on single family homes. We’re talking 100 percent or more in many cases.
And in many of the vintage condos such as the ones we like, they were this much lower than the newer more modern versions. Therefore, since we like buildings with that vintage charm and character anyway, finding a unit that came with significantly lower property taxes (about $2,800 as compared to our previous home in a lesser area but whose property taxes were $5,000) it was a great bonus.
The price of our condo was what attracted us most about it. At just over $140,000, we ended up paying about half for our condo compared to what we paid for our previous home four years ago. Given, our condo doesn’t have a yard and it isn’t nearly as large as our previous home was, but the location is superb, resale value is better, and in a real estate market that is still unstable, with a lower price there’s less to lose in a worst case scenario.
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The author is not a licensed financial or real estate professional. The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal, financial or real estate advice. Any action taken by the reader due to the information provided in this article is solely at the reader’s discretion.