25 Real Estate Evaluation Fundamentals that Stand the Test of Time

When it comes to real estate, some things cycle in and out of fashion. In fact, when we’re talking cabinet color, floor plan style, carpet versus hardwood, and those sorts of considerations, changing tastes are to be expected. But look a little closer, and you’ll see that some things actually do stand the rest of time (and it ain’t carpet). Here are 25 real estate evaluation fundamentals that are as true today as they were a decade ago. And hint – the last one is what I’ve been keeping a close eye on for all my own real estate purchases as well as on my client’s behalf. 

25 Real Estate Fundamentals

  1. The neighborhood. While the home itself matters, what about the surrounding homes? Are they well maintained? Up and coming? Neglected? This is an important consideration within the immediate neighborhood and the general area as well.
  2. Quality of life. Beyond the essentials of shelter, what sort of quality of life does this home offer?
  3. The views. Are any existing views or exposures protected? Is there a way to enhance existing views?
  4. Noise levels. How noisy is the area at different times of day?
  5. Natural light. What kind of light does the property get? Could it be improved?
  6. Town management. How well is the suburb, town, or city managed? What’s the general reputation, and how do the financials look?
  7. Quality of local education. What kinds of schools, colleges, and educational facilities are in the area?
  8. Quality of local utilities. From water quality to sewage systems to electrical supply and garbage/recycle collection and management, what’s the general reputation of these services in the area?
  9. Access to local healthcare and veterinary services. Are good hospitals nearby? How are area dentists, doctors, and specialists?  Every pet owner has had the emergency visit or two due to a swallowed toy or unc,ontrolled vomiting. In a pinch, can you get somewhere to protect your four legged babies quickly enough to avoid a problem?
  10. Quality of local technology infrastructure. Does the area enjoy reliable broadband and cell phone reception?  In parts of Tahoe for instance, during regular business hours the internet speeds and consistency go down on the regular. 
  11. Demographics. Is the population generally aging, are young professionals leaving, or is the area attracting a younger audience?  It takes a healthy mix of old and young to keep a community healthy. 
  12. Work opportunities. Is the area producing and maintaining jobs? What about the tech sector? And does a single profession or employer dominant the area? Sure, more and more people can work from anywhere, but can you get a 24 hour plumber to fix your midnight pinhole leak that is flooding your newly remodeled kitchen?
  13. Safety. What’s the general crime history in the area? How does local law enforcement rate?  Do you have strong community support and neighbors that care but don’t control?
  14. Pollution. How’s the air quality in the area? Is it prone to regular wildfire smoke? What about general quality of the water?    
  15. Recreation and amenities. What options for recreation are available in the area? How about cultural amenities, like museums, art galleries, theater, opera, live music, etc.?
  16. Quality of local food and produce. What sort of food is produced locally? What kinds of restaurants are in the area?  
  17. Risk of natural disasters. Is the area prone to any kind of natural disasters? How well is it equipped to manage these risks? Keep in mind that flooding, fires, and storms can happen almost everywhere. Is there a fire station close to the property?
  18. Vegetation and landscaping. How does the vegetation and landscape on and surrounding the property rate? Is there sufficient water supply to maintain or improve this?
  19. Quality of local eldercare. Are there establishments and services in the area? After all, no one escapes aging.
  20. Unemployment. What’s the unemployment rate in the area, and how heavily does the population rely on government support?
  21. Religious institutions. Are there nearby religious institutions that matter to you?
  22. Local goods and services and/or local delivery services. Can you get everything you need relatively close by? If you shop online, how’s the quality of area delivery services?
  23. Quality of local transportation. Consider area roads, traffic, airport access, railway stations, etc.
  24. Local taxes. What can you expect to spend, and what are you getting in return?
  25. Weather and climate. Think about this in terms of year-round expectations but more importantly, climate change is here. Are you in the path of fires, or floods, or rising water that will take out your major roadways? And how will that be impacted by insurance moving forward? What is the infrastructure coming in and out of your area, will you be trapped in a rapidly advancing fire?

The Takeaway

The fact is, not everything matters to everyone, and personal preferences are the building blocks of deal breakers on a given property. Still, these real estate evaluation fundamentals tend to matter universally. And the more consideration you give to them, the more insulated you are over the long-term.

An agent that helps you address these issues — and others — is indispensable. In Reno, Nevada, and the San Francisco, Bay Area, I’m here to do just that.

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