Many factors can lead a homeowner to decide it’s time to move from their current home to a new one. Some move-up buyers have growing families that require additional living space and more bedrooms. Others may have been first-time homebuyers with limited budgets who now have money and equity to put towards the home they wanted all along. Still others may be hoping to move to a different part of town or a newer neighborhood. Whatever your reason for joining the ranks of “move-up homebuyers,” there are plenty of important factors to consider before moving on to your new home.
With the help of one local Austin homebuilder, we’ve put together a list of tips to ensure your move-up purchase is a success. If you’re in the market to move-up or move-down, consider these important tips to ensure you get the home you deserve.
Selling Your Current Home
Before you can begin to seriously think about the home you want, it helps begin by focusing on the home you already own. How much is it worth? How much would you sell it for? In this process, an experienced real estate agent can be your best ally. Some agents specialize in helping move-up buyers sell their current home and find their new one at the same time. In fact, Buffington Signature Homes works with one of Austin’s premier realtors, Kevin Elliott of Keller Williams’ Home Resource Group. “Buyers probably have a quasi-accurate assessment of what their home is worth. I start off by talking about what separates their home from your competition,” says Kevin. “Just like not all builders are the same, not all realtors are the same. In the Austin area, the ‘average’ realtor sells less than 7 homes per year, our team of experienced agents averages over 35 homes per year.”
“People coming to see your home may have no imagination, no time and not much extra money,” says Grant Whittenberger, VP of Sales for Buffington Signature Homes. “Image is everything. In the buyer’s mind, what they see is what they get. This is why Model Homes are always in such great shape. No buyer is going to pay top dollar for a home that looks like it is in need of repair, updating, even just a good cleaning-that’s why the home you are selling must be in the best shape possible if you want the best price possible.”
Figuring Out Your Budget
Your real estate agent can provide an accurate estimate of how much your current home will sell for. Combined with your current spending and savings, you should use this information to develop a clear idea of the budget for your new home. Once you’ve established your budget, you can begin looking for builders with homes in your price range. It’s important to find a builder that specializes in your particular price range, because they should have the most experience in building homes at the best quality possible while still remaining within your budget.
Choosing What’s Most Important
Now it’s time to begin looking at houses. With a wide range of options in your new home’s location, size, layout and features, figuring our what’s most important to you and your family can help simplify the process. Narrowing your search to a few key areas of interest will help ensure you’re happy in your decision to move up.
For many people, the decision to move is essentially about the location. New communities and retail centers are cropping up in great areas all over the Austin area, and new roads are providing better access to work, recreation and entertainment. If you’re looking for a new home in a prime location, Buffington Signature Homes currently offers homes and homesites in Silver Leaf, one of Round Rock’s premier new home communities, and Forest Oaks, located just off the 183A Toll Road in Cedar Park. Later this month, they will also begin offering homes in The Bridges at Bear Creek and Southpark Meadows in South Austin.
The Living Space
While some buyers are focused on the location, others are more concerned with life inside their home. One of the most common reasons a buyer seeks to move up is the need for more space. Whether it’s additional rooms, a bigger kitchen or more family gathering space, additional square footage can make a big difference. But it’s not always about the numbers. Effective use of space in a home’s layout and design can make a big difference in how “livable” your home feels. Buffington’s innovative floorplans utilize additional spaces in useful ways, like setting aside areas for desks so that the spare bedroom doesn’t have to double as the computer room.
Quality of Construction
It’s always a good idea to remember that the most important features of your new home might be the ones you can’t see. Learn as much as you can about each builder’s construction standards and materials, and beware of discount builders that use shortcuts or inferior materials to cut costs. Every Buffington home is built to the highest quality standards, with engineered frames and foundations, traditionally framed roofs and detailed construction standards for flooring and walls. Ensuring your home is built to these quality standards can help protect your investment and virtually eliminate day-to-day maintenance.
Features and Finishes
Of course, when comes to a new home, what’s on the outside can mean just as much as what’s inside the walls. Another important point of comparison is in each builder’s standard features and finishes for their homes. Different homes can include a range of features from big to small, like appliances, window treatments or high-end plumbing and lighting fixtures. While some builders pass on the additional cost of these “luxuries” to their customers, more than 90 high-end finishing touches, called Signature Features, come standard in every Buffington home.
Building vs. Existing Inventory
In many of the area’s premier communities, you’ll also have the option of buying a home from your builder’s existing inventory or building one for yourself. Each of these options can have benefits for different buyers. Of course, building your home from the ground up offers the opportunity to select the site, design and features that best fit your needs. Buffington offers a selection of innovative floorplans and prime homesites in their communities, as well as an additional Signature Options, or special features that their customers can choose to further personalize their new home. However, if you’re a little more flexible in your tastes or if you’ve found the perfect home on the perfect lot already, buying a home from your builder’s existing inventory has its advantages. Inventory homes are typically less expensive than customized or specially designed homes. Plus, when you buy a model that’s already completed, you can start the move-in process right away!
Thomas R. Buffington is a veteran Austin builder and developer and CEO of Buffington Signature Homes. The company currently builds in two of the area’s premier communities; Silver Leaf in Round Rock and Forest Oaks in Cedar Park. In the mid-May, Buffington will begin offering homes in South Austin at The Bridges at Bear Creek and Southpark Meadows.