Home Buyers: How to Avoid Paying Too Much for Your Laguna Woods, Palmia or Casta del Sol Home

The desirability and resale value of your home-to-be depend on location more than any other single factor. Again, don’t let emotion get in the way of a wise investment. No home is an island, and the value of yours is affected by the homes that surround it. Assuming you’ve already considered the elements that make up a desirable community—character, quality of schools, access to work places and services, recreational facilities, etc.—there are several elements that combine to create a good location.

Your first consideration is the neighborhood. Every neighborhood has its own unique character;  you need to make sure you’d be comfortable in the one you’re thinking of living in. Take a long walk and observe carefully. Do people take care of their yards and homes? Are the yards fenced? Do children play in the streets? Talk to the neighbors and ask questions that give you a better feel for the area. But be careful not to appear judgmental—you might be talking to a future neighbor.

If the neighborhood is to your satisfaction, look at homes on the market in the area. Extremely large homes surrounded by smaller ones tend to appreciate less than a large home among other large homes. Conversely, the smallest home in the neighborhood tends to be “pulled up” by the other homes on the block. However, it might take longer to sell a smaller home when the time comes because many people are unwilling to pay extra for the neighborhood. The outer edge of a neighborhood is usually not good for resale value. There are noticeable dividing lines between unlike neighborhoods. It could be a difference in architectural styles, home size, property use or something else. Look for a home in the middle of a community of similar homes; it will hold its value better.

An exception to this rule is a house on the edge of a neighborhood bounded by woods, park land, the Casta del Sol golf course or other open space that an Active Adult 55+ community might offer. Natural boundaries appeal to buyers, and these “edge” homes can actually command a better price. Of course, the exception to this rule is when there’s an unpleasant use planned for the open space. An open field with a babbling brook is nice; a new freeway, strip mall or factory isn’t.

Other things that can negatively affect property values are traffic, sounds, smells, etc. Be sure to give the neighborhood a long, hard look. The home you’re interested in may be perfect, but if the neighborhood has problems, your investment won’t be worth as much when the time comes to sell.

This is Tip 5 of a series of 24. Watch Melanie Callahan's blog for upcoming helpful tips on how to maximize your return on investment when you do buy (and later, sell) your Laguna Woods, Palmia, Laguna Woods Village or Casta del Sol home.

Melanie Callahan proudly serves the real estate needs of local residents, including Leisure World Laguna Woods properties and Orange County retirement communities.