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June 6, 2012

Buying — or Building — The Best House on the Block

Syndicated —

As the real estate market starts to heat up again in some markets, we sometimes forget what's happened in the past. We get caught up in the home search and the desire to own. Some buyers even forget the old real estate adage: location, location, location.

So it helps if you step back for a second. Look into the future. Think about the home you want to buy now and imagine yourself selling it years later. What problems might you face then? If you take this into consideration, you might avoid making a mistake that all too many people make: Buying - or building - the best house on the block.

For example, consider the fate of what became a conspicuously large house for sale in an Atlanta suburb.

Don't Super Size!

A few years ago, at the top of the market, the owners purchased a small fixer-upper, then renovated and significantly expanded it. Once completed, the owners tried to sell their McMansion in one of the worst real estate markets ever. After a year without success, they had to lower the asking price multiple times - and ultimately walked away with a big loss.

The fact that they bought at the top of the market and tried to sell during a decline in values certainly didn't help. But it wasn't the only factor by any means. On one side of the house was an apartment building. On the other sat a home that was an eyesore.

The proximity of these two properties should have been a warning to the owners: Don't super-size your house when it's surrounded by properties that aren't at least equal in value. Instead, the owners had gotten caught up in the market frenzy. They didn't think about what would happen when it came time to sell.

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