How to avoid the most common risks of buying or selling a home -Part 2 of 3

In Part 1 We discussed the importance of location, good floorplans and buying with an eye towards resale. In this paper we will discuss other important aspects of buying a new home.

Good School Districts and Hospitals nearby – For families with school aged children good schools will trump any other buying considerations. For older people, the same can be said for hospitals and doctors. Since I don’t build age restricted communities (55 and over) I will only speak about the importance of good schools. This is a personal and passionate issue among parents and solving it is a builder’s job whenever possible. Every developer strives to buy land where schools are good. But there is not always enough land in these cherry districts.

There are alternatives and we are happy to have our sales staff point them out. In Florida and elsewhere Charter schools offer great learning experiences for kids. So do private schools but they can be expensive. Also, many school districts may only have one of three school systems (elementary, middle and high School) that are below B level. So, you can send your child to a charter or private school in that age group. In South Florida schools are becoming more equal with plenty of charter/ private options available.

Amenities– When I say amenities it can mean anything that is a perk to the area. The reason I like building projects in Davie, Fl is the tangible and intangible amenities that exist there. For example, tangible amenities are its location, many college campuses, great shopping at the Sawgrass Mall, great roads surrounding the perimeter of Davie (I-95, 1-75, 441, 1-595), horse farms, Dolphins training camp and more. The intangibles are the hidden effect of these amenities. Because of the roads people with higher paying jobs can easily commute meaning the average home price will appreciate quicker and resales will be in higher demand.

Horse farms and the nature of Davies larger lot zoning accomplishes the same for appreciation. The amenities attract a wider diversity of people making neighborhood friendships extremely interesting. With so many colleges many professors live in surrounding neighborhoods. At Stillwater Shores our proximity to the Dolphins training camp attracted many professional football players which keeps values high and attracts a certain following. Of course, there are also the usual amenities, parks, library, sports complexes, youth leagues, etc.

UGLY Houses– Ugly homes like bad floorplans are a buyer turnoff. Any buyer turnoffs that you take on means your resale ability could be unprofitable and difficult. Even if the home is in a good school district and a great location ugly homes should be avoided. As a Builder I have bought ugly homes knowing I will get a more affordable price and I have the wherewithal to make that ugly duckling a beautiful swan. For me the worse it is the better so long as I will be rewarded for my extreme efforts. Unless you know how to structurally manipulate the interior and exterior of a home while making it beautiful don’t take on that type of project. Play it safe and buy a pleasing elevation.

In part 3 of this 3-part series we will cover- stretching your budget, pools, old homes.

Stephen Gravett has been a real estate developer for over 45 years and was most recently CEO of Kennedy Homes for the past 11 years and is still CEO of Kennedy Development Partners (KDP) and full time Director of Operations for 5 Star Developers. He is also a state licensed broker and since 1980 a State licensed General Contractor Unlimited. He flew B-52’s in the US Air Force during the Vietnam war.

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