Buying a home anywhere in the recent market can be challenging, but searching in the DMV, one of the nation’s most notoriously expensive real estate markets, comes with extra cost considerations for many. Get a great home by stretching your dollar further with these tips.
1. Expand your radius
This is a bit of common sense, but some areas are hotter than others. For example, if you want to live in the heart of Adams Morgan, you’ll have to pay the price. But if you expand your radius a bit to the outer part of the area, you can likely get a bit more for your dollar. While there are plenty of costly zip codes around the DMV, exploring the perimeter or a bit outside of your main target could lead you to a home you’ll love.
2. Consider your transportation needs
One of the great things about living in the DMV is access to the Metro. But in most cases, the closer you live to a station, the higher the price of the real estate. If the Metro is a daily need, consider how far from the station you’re willing to walk for the commute or if a bus or carpool might be an alternative option. If you don’t need the proximity, you may have options you haven’t yet begun to explore.
3. What’s your timing?
While the last few years of real estate have broken many standard rules, timing is starting to show signs of returned predictability. If you’re going into your search in spring to early summer, you’re more likely to have to battle competing offers and pay top dollar. However, if you have flexible timing, you may be able to find a better fit for a better price by waiting until later in summer or even fall or winter. Inventory is usually a bit lower at those times, but so is the pricing. If you’re looking to build new, some of that timing can change a bit, as build times will factor in. Talk to your builder about seasonal advantages and the pipeline to explore opportunities.
4. Wants versus needs
Consider your wants versus your needs. You may want the upgraded plank flooring you see in the builder showroom, but long term, will it actually increase the value of your home or is it a purely aesthetic choice? Spend on square footage and location—those are the things you can’t change later. Save now on material enhancements.
5. Now versus later
In a similar vein, as you live in a space, you’re bound to make some changes. So, as you’re searching for your new home, consider what you actually need from day one and what you might be able to upgrade in a few years. Accent walls, trim-out packages, and other easy-to-add finishes are a great place to start. These items can quickly add up and are often easy enough to add later. Use your dollars to invest wisely today and get the most house you can afford—then make it your own in the years that follow.