Minnesota Realtor Alex Anderson

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New Development or Established Neighborhood:
Which is Right for Your Family?

When considering purchasing a home, what types of areas do you gravitate towards? Is it the brand new development that draws your attention or is it the older, more classic neighborhoods? The assumption that newer is better isn’t always true, especially when it comes to the long-term value and appreciation of your home.

The newer developments often offer niceties that lure in buyers: Jacuzzi tubs, vaulted ceilings, four car garages, etc. Sure, these are nice luxuries to have, but have you considered the long-term quality of the construction as well as the overall value of the area? Don’t rule out any of your options based on assumptions like these. Of course the developers will tell you what the property is worth now, but what about 10, 15, or 20 years from now? Have you ever driven around a now dingy-looking development and think “This area was probably trendy and nice in its day”? What are stopping new developments now from being the crummy looking areas of the future?

You’ll find a whole range of local properties to choose from built in the early and mid 2000’s when there was an enormous construction boom before the economy turned around. If you’re looking for construction even newer than 2006 or 2007, you’ll have your work cut out for you as those are a bit few and far between. Many small and even medium construction companies went out of business during the crisis and people tended to stay in the home they are in and hunker down, start cutting coupons and counting pennies while times are tight. Now that the market in shifting upward in prices and jobs are returning to the community, people are easing up a bit on their restrictions.

There are certainly many new developments that will continue to have charm and hold value, but don’t overlook the inherent value of purchasing an older home in an established neighborhood. Often these are the areas with a proven track record of steadily increasing home values and a reputation for being a good neighborhood. There is also plenty of equity to be gained when you find a nice solid house and do the improvements yourself over time, adding in all the great amenities that the new-construction homes featured and make a little money in the process.

There are many other considerations when looking for a home too, like if it’s near a particular school, hospital, job, church, shopping area, lake or river. What special services are available for a particular neighborhood that you might need? Do you like single family homes better than town homes so you can have a big yard and a garden? And obviously if you work in St. Paul, you’ll probably be looking around for St. Paul real estate.

What you qualify for and what price range you prefer may dictate what parts of town you may prefer. So maybe your price range doesn’t afford you all the fancy items AND in an historically good neighborhood, but don’t neglect to consider what will happen to your investment in the future. An older and smaller home (but perhaps better built!) in an older neighborhood might be the way to go too. All these fun considerations are now up to you to choose!

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