Monday, May 15, 2017 / by Paul Wolfert
By: Paul Wolfert
I call it SLAM: an easy to remember abbreviation that can help any of my Michigan house hunters quickly rip through listed houses for sale. Any house that scores high in each area is investigated on a deeper level (we go check it out with our eyeballs).
The four parts of the SLAM list:
Schools. The eventual resale value of a candidate property isn’t usually given much consideration early on—but should be. A major issue when it comes to resale is the neighborhood’s school district rating. Schools head the SLAM list because—especially for those who don’t have school-aged children—the quality of a property’s school district is easy to overlook. It can also be an indicator of other community quality issues.
Location. It’s the key element that can’t be adjusted, improved upon, or glossed over—and it’s the reason why “location location location” is the cliché that won’t go away. Houses for sale in good neighborhoods are listed at prices that reflect location’s importance. In a single word, it incorporates the quality of neighboring properties, proximity to activities, shopping, transportation, and workplace—as well as more elusive factors like neighborhood noise levels and even compatibility with the neighbors themselves. You could find the best home, in the best area, but if it’s sitting next to a train track, the location is not ideal.
Age. This is where personal taste factors are most likely to tip the scale. House hunters may be open to both new and existing houses for sale, but it’s important to acknowledge the advantages and disadvantages each brings to the table. The charm of an older home should be balanced against the expected convenience of newer mechanical systems. If style preferences are major considerations, they register here. Old homes have a quirky character all their own. Some love it, others hate it.
Monthly. The last part of the SLAM list is the budgetary element: the cost in time and dollars that supporting a residence will entail. The value of houses for sale is usually ranked by that top line asking price number—but a better calculation is one that includes prorated property taxes, expected maintenance expenses, insurance payments and neighborhood association or condominium fees in addition to the mortgage payment. If there are gardens to tend, the time element may be part of the calculation (although that can be a positive if you are a green thumb hobbyist).
The SLAM checklist is a quick and easy way to quickly navigate many of the things that wind up being at the top of my House Hunters Top 10 lists. There are no hard-and-fast scoring guidelines, but if more than one of the four elements come up with definite minuses—it’s probably a good idea to move on.
Right now, there are a ton of awesome Michigan houses for sale—and helping you whittle the field down to those that will best fit your family is a service that will save you time and energy.
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