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Properties to Avoid

When there are few properties on the market in your price range, you may be tempted to buy a property with some less-than-desirable characteristics. I recommend that you always buy with the idea that one day you will sell the property, and the market you sell it in may be different than the one in which you bought. When it comes time to sell, which properties will sell first - those with few negatives, or those with several? Properties with these negative characteristics will take longer to sell, and/or will sell for a lower price, than properties without. Here are some things you want to avoid:

Two-story houses: as people get older, they tend not to like going up and down stairs. The population is aging; five years from now, it will be even older. Single-story houses sell faster. If you are going to buy a two-story house, try to find one that has at least one bedroom on the first floor - preferably the master bedroom.

Not on a hill: houses on hills are often two story houses, or if they aren't, they will usually have stairs leading to the front door. Again, older people don't like that. Also, the lot is usually sloped. People prefer their yards to be relatively flat.

Busy streets: avoid houses on busy streets. Busy streets are noisy, and they can be very dangerous for families with children. Try to find a nice, quiet street. In that same vein, don't buy a property next to a freeway. They can be very noisy as well.

Utilities & facilities: is there a sewage treatment plant nearby? How about a utility pole in your back yard, or worse, a PG&E transformer? Is the house down the street from a warehouse that has lots of big trucks rumbling down the street early in the morning? These are properties you want to stay away from.

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