Buy for Your Buyer

By Joanne Y Cleaver | Updated Aug 17, 2013 10:17 PM

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The smart way to buy today is with resale in mind.

Here are four long-term trends that will likely shape the marketability of your house if you, like most homeowners, sell in seven to ten years.

Buy for Your Buyer


Local Employment Rate. It’s the most important factor for your local housing economy. Interest rates are important too, but without jobs, people can’t afford houses. If you are moving to a new area and aren’t sure if you should buy or rent, study the unemployment trends.

Walkability. Urban neighborhoods with easy access to public transit and city job centers have enjoyed relatively stable real estate values and are the first to recover. Tomorrow’s buyers will likely put a premium on being car-free, so walkability shores up home values.

Amenities. Millennials and baby boomers have something in common: neither can afford pricey maintenance and features. Property taxes are only going to go up as municipal budgets are pressured. The importance of glossy amenities will decline accordingly. Translation: pools, manicured landscaping, and delicate interior finishes are likely to limit the resale value of a house. A medium-size lot, flexible interior space, high-efficiency heating and cooling systems, and sturdy finishes will extend resale appeal.

Surfaces and Finishes. Inexpensive finishes are fine in a rental, but when it’s time to sell that investment property, you will have to upgrade appliances, counters, and maybe even fixtures. Floors must be freshly refinished; if you must have carpet, it should be brand-new. The thousands it costs to turn a rental to a sale can trim your take considerably. Install good quality plumbing fixtures, floors, and cabinets and spend less on finishes you know you will have to replace.

For more on buying and selling homes, consider:

FHA Financing for Renovations? Yes, But…
Boost Home Value by Enabling Independent Living
10 Things to Consider Before Buying a Foreclosed Home