Thinking Ahead: Buying a Home and Your 10 Year Plan

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When you’re thinking about buying a home, there are plenty of things to take into consideration— location, the size of the home, architectural style, condition of the home, yard space, and surrounding landscape—just to name a few.

But beyond the basic needs and your wish list, it’s also important to think about how the home will grow and change with you and your family. Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 10 years? Does the home still fit in with what you envision? If not, where do you see yourself?

You may know exactly where you want to be in 10 years or you may have a more general idea. If you can see yourself in the home in 10 years, you will want to consider how the home will age, what type of maintenance will be required, and how the neighborhood might change. How will the market affect your purchase? If there is a dip, will you be able to ride it out financially?

On the other hand, you may only see yourself living in the home for a couple of years. Maybe it’s your first house and you hope to have a growing family or maybe you have moved into the area for work, but plan on moving again. If your plan is to buy and then sell within the next year or two, think about things that may affect the resale value: the house is on a busy street, near an apartment building, is hard to add on to, has a small lot, has an unconventional floor plan, or isn’t in a great school district.  It’s been a seller’s market for the past few years, where some property’s challenges may have been overlooked in competitive offer situations. But now we’re moving into a more balanced market where those same challenges can factor into a home taking longer to sell.

Your home won’t be the only thing that changes over the years. The neighborhood could undergo some big changes as well. If you’re buying near a downtown area, zoning may change, which might allow your neighbors to build a 10 story building or open a business next door. On the other hand, if you’re in an up and coming area, schools may improve, also improving the resale value.

If you’re buying a condo or a property that is part of a Homeowners Association (HOA), find out when the property was built. Once it reaches 10 years old, the HOA may start going through litigation, for anything from construction defects to personal injury. Legal proceedings can affect the desirability of the property, the HOA dues, assessments, refinancing, and the ability to sell.


Whether you’re looking to settle down for the next 30 years or on the hunt for the perfect starter home, having a plan for the future can be a great guide in finding the perfect house, so that you’ll be happy there and get a positive return on your investment. I’m always happy to chat and help you decide how a real estate investment could fit into your larger plan and goals.

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Cliff Whearley has been a resident of Redwood City for 23 years and was named Realtor of the Year in 2018 and 2016 at Dwell Realtors, Inc. If you have any real estate questions, he would love to help!