Buying real estate used to come with a security blanket of knowing you could sell in a year and—at the very least—break even.
“But today’s softer market is forcing home owners to stay longer in each property, so you want to make sure that you buy a home that’s not just right for now, but that will work three, five or (ideally) seven years down the road,” said Gabriele Sewtz, real estate broker with Compass.
Your need for space, location and amenities will evolve as you do—and Brooklyn has a neighborhood for every stage of life. So whether you’re planning a family or contemplating your golden years, Sewtz and business partner Rob Schlederer have ideas on how to navigate five of life’s real estate pivot points.
1. You’re just starting out.
You’re looking to get your real estate feet wet, maybe move in with a significant other. “You probably want a place near transit and entertainment,” said Schlederer. “Aim for a starter home—a studio or one-bedroom. Be willing to compromise on condition to get your target location and keep an eye on resale value.”
2. You’re starting a family.
If there’s a baby on board, you’re probably craving some extra space, proximity to playgrounds, parks, and a community of other parents. You’ll need a bigger place, most likely a two-bedroom.
“Just remember that little ones will spend most time playing in the living space, so that extra bedroom doesn’t have to be gargantuan,” said Sewtz. “And keep an eye on school zones, even if your bun is still in the oven—in a softer market you’ll want to look five or six years ahead.”
3. Your family is growing.
You want some breathing room, privacy for (and from) your kids and likely an extra bathroom. You need a family home—a larger two-bedroom or perhaps a three- or four-bedroom property.
“You’ll stay longest in this home so be ready to make the investment,” said Sewtz. “Find the right elementary school zone if your kids are still small, or branch out (within district) to get more bang for your buck if you’re focusing on middle school.”
4. You’re in puppy love.
You might have put off a big move before, but now you’re plus one furry friend so you need a pet-friendly home ASAP. Just remember, not all dogs are created equal in the eyes of a co-op, so make sure to read the fine print on building rules.
“Better yet, if you have the budget, a townhome gives you a guaranteed backyard where the only pet rules are your own,” said Schlederer.
5. You’ll soon be an empty nester.
With college tuition and long-delayed travel plans on the horizon, you want to cash out and free up some loose change.
“Since there’s no exact deadline for this move, time your downsizing strategically with the market. Now you can afford to give up a bedroom in favor of things like proximity to Manhattan, elevator buildings, etc., all while still saving money every year,” said Schlederer.
To help sellers, Compass offers Compass Concierge, a program that helps prepare your home for sale by covering the upfront costs of key services like renovations or staging to increase its value. Once your home sells, Compass collects the cost of those services and nothing more.
Compass also offers Compass Bridge Loans to sellers so you can buy your dream home before selling your current home — and if you work with a Compass agent to sell your current home, you get up to six months of your bridge loan payments and other associated costs fronted. “Very few homeowners have the financial means to buy without having to sell first,” said Sewtz.
For more information go to their website here.