There are several reasons people purchase urban homes, one of which is – home ownership. The first home is what most modern families have on their checklist right on top.

Urban properties are desirable because of their proximity to shopping centers, cafes, and entertainment options. 

This facilitates and shortens commuting time because you may quickly and easily reach your destination by foot or public transportation.

architectural visualiser george nicola

By George Nicola (Expert Stager)

Second, urban residences frequently have more features than suburban homes, like high-speed internet, contemporary kitchens with stainless steel equipment, and well-kept public spaces like parks and swimming pools. 

Thirdly, living in an urban area frequently fosters a sense of community lacking in suburban areas. 

In contrast to rural settings, those who live in cities typically have broader social networks and similar interests.

Lastly, metropolitan housing typically maintains its worth more due to the higher demand for living in the city center. 

All these factors make it attractive for people to buy urban houses as an investment for the future.

How urban real estate changed?

Since 2018, the urban real estate market has witnessed substantial changes, including rising prices, short inventory, and growing demand in particular cities and financial hubs. Moreover, in several urban locations, the need for property has surpassed the supply, squeezing further those who wish to buy a home.

In some instances, this has led to a seller’s market, in which sellers have greater negotiation leverage and may command higher prices for their properties.

Changes in consumer preferences have also affected most metropolitan areas, with a shift toward smaller and more inexpensive residences and a greater emphasis on amenities and sustainability.

The COVID-19 epidemic has also affected the market, resulting in demand for adjustments and modifications to how homes are purchased and sold.

Seller’s markets occur when property demand exceeds supply. This can happen when housing demand is high, and supply is low. Buyers may compete in a seller’s market, and sellers may be able to charge greater prices.

In a seller’s market, buyers may have to fight for fewer houses and find a property that suits their demands. Buyers may need to offer more or waive contingencies to secure a home. With sellers in a strong negotiation position, buyers may find it harder to negotiate closing fees or repairs.

In a seller’s market, buyers should be ready to act swiftly on a property they want. A lender pre-approval letter, flexibility on terms and contingencies, and a competitive offer may help. In addition, a real estate agent can help you navigate a seller’s market and find a house.

Definition of the urban house

An urban home is a residential dwelling in a metropolitan region, commonly described as a city or town with at least 50,000 inhabitants. The size and form of urban dwellings can range from modest apartments and condominiums to bigger single-family homes.

They may be placed in various settings, including urban cores, suburbs, and densely populated regions. The proximity of urban homes to services such as shopping, dining, entertainment, and public transit, as well as the increased population density and diverse mix of people in urban regions, are typically defining characteristics.

Are condos suitable for first-time buyers and investors?

Condos are a viable alternative for first-time purchasers and investors for several reasons. Among the advantages of purchasing a condominium are the following:

  1. Condos can be cheaper than single-family residences, particularly in urban locations where real estate prices are typically higher. This makes them a more affordable option for those with limited funds.
  2. Condos frequently contain amenities and services, such as a gym, pool, or landscaping, as part of the monthly homeowners association (HOA) costs. This can be advantageous for first-time buyers who lack the time or knowledge to manage a property independently.
  3. Condos could be situated in desirable areas that may be beyond reach for first-time homebuyers if they were searching for single-family homes.

Due to the possibility of rental income and value appreciation, condos can be an excellent investment for investors. However, before making a purchase, conducting thorough research on the market and the specific condo building is essential, as condo ownership and management might involve risks and difficulties. Additionally, getting a proper home inspection is crucial as some mortgage lenders may not be willing to lend against the property if there are potential issues.

How has Urban real estate changed in the last 30 years?

Acquiring a home today differs from the experience you’d get thirty years ago. On average, property prices have climbed over the past three decades, making it more difficult for purchasers.

Additionally, the availability and terms of financing for home purchases have evolved, with a greater variety of possibilities, but in some instances, stricter lending rules and higher mortgage rates.

There has been significant growth in the use of technology in the home-buying process, with buyers now able to browse for homes, compare prices, and make offers online, and many transactions being completed electronically.

Additionally, the demographics of homebuyers who love urban real estate have evolved, with a broader range of ages, income levels, family configurations, and lifestyles now represented on the market.

Median Sales Price of Houses Sold for the United Kingdom

Median Sales Price of Houses Sold for the United States

What are five things to do before you start looking for a home?

Before even considering looking at potential property to buy, you must take several essential steps to ensure that you are prepared and knowledgeable about the process.

Here are five things to consider:

a) Before looking for a property, you should assess your budget and financing alternatives. This helps you narrow your options and ensures that you only consider homes within your price range.

b) Get pre-approved for a mortgage: Getting pre-approved before you begin house hunting can be advantageous. This might give you a better understanding of your budget and make you a more competitive buyer when you find a home to buy.

c) It is crucial to examine the property market in the area where you intend to buy to gain an understanding of current prices and trends. This might assist you in making informed purchasing selections.

d) Employ a real estate agent: When trying to become a homeowner, having an excellent real estate agent is invaluable. They can help you identify properties that fit your criteria and guide you through the process.

Here we’ve listed 16 Good Vs. Bad Realtors’ Tactics that you need to be aware of.

e) Know what you’re looking for in a home, including your preferred location, size, layout, features, and finishes. This might help you restrict your alternatives and concentrate on properties that fit your requirements.

Buy a home while navigating the Urban Real Estate Market as a First-Time Buyer

As the process of a home purchase is an extensive financial and personal choice, it is essential for every homebuyer to evaluate critical elements when choosing an urban property carefully.

Some of the reasons why it is crucial to consider critical criteria while purchasing an urban home are as follows:

buy a home in a city
Buying a home in a city / Photo by Christian Koch

Location: Major consideration for getting an urban home is its location since it can affect the value of the property, the residents’ quality of life, and its resale potential. The closeness to services, public transit, schools, and healthcare facilities, as well as the safety and crime rate, should be considered by first-time purchasers.

Size and layout: The size and configuration of an urban home should accommodate the demands and desires of purchasers. The number of bedrooms and baths, the floor plan, and the availability of outdoor space all considerations.

Condition and upkeep: The shape and maintenance of an urban dwelling can have a substantial effect on the total cost of ownership. The age of the home, the quality of the roof, foundation, and other structural aspects, and energy efficiency should be considered.

Features and finishes: The features and finishes of an urban home can affect the visual appeal and practicality. The quality and condition of kitchen appliances, flooring, and wall finishes, as well as the availability of storage space, should be considered by buyers.

Future potential: Most keen first-timers should evaluate the possibility that an urban home’s value will rise over time and the possibility of remodeling or expansion.

When purchasing an urban home, examining their budget and financing choices is essential. This includes assessing how much can be comfortably spent on a mortgage and comprehending the down payment and closing costs.

Finding the Perfect Location: The Key to Finding the Right Urban House

urban housing location
Urban housing - Location / Photo by Christian Koch

When purchasing a home in a city, it is vital to evaluate its proximity to amenities and public transportation.

The convenience of shopping, dining, entertainment, and cultural attractions can significantly improve the quality of life for a home’s residents. In addition, proximity to public transportation choices, such as buses, subways, and trains, can facilitate city travel and lessen the need for a private automobile. This can be especially critical in urban areas with scarce or expensive parking.

Considering the house’s closeness to facilities and public transit can also have a favorable effect on its value, as prospective purchasers frequently seek these factors.

 

Safety First: Why Crime Rates Are Important to Consider Before Purchasing an Urban Home

Urban houses - safety and crime / Photo by Christian Koch

When examining an urban residence as collateral for a mortgage loan, lenders, such as the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), may consider safety and crime rates.

A neighborhood’s safety and crime rate can indicate a property’s prospective value and stability, typically a requirement of lenders.

If a community has a high crime rate or is viewed as unsafe, it may be less acceptable to prospective buyers, resulting in less value as collateral.

On the other hand, an area with a low crime rate and a reputation for safety may be more appealing to purchasers and consequently deemed a safer investment by lenders.

When considering a mortgage application, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), a government body that insures mortgage loans provided by private lenders, may additionally evaluate the neighborhood’s safety and crime statistics.

Finding the Right Urban Home: The Importance of Proximity to Schools and Hospitals

For many first-timers, greater access to schools and healthcare services is crucial when purchasing a home in a city, especially for families with young children and persons with health issues. 

It isn’t easy to calculate an exact percentage rise in the price of an urban residence near schools. However, due to the perceived benefits of living near outstanding schools, some studies have revealed that homes near good schools can sell for more. 

For example, Zillow discovered that residences within a half-mile of the top-ranked public elementary schools in the U.S. had a median worth 21% higher than all homes in the same metro area. The location, features, and neighborhood of a house can significantly affect its value.

Similarly, convenient access to healthcare facilities, such as hospitals, clinics, and pharmacies, can be crucial for maintaining good health and obtaining medical treatment when necessary. 

Therefore, it is essential to investigate the quality and availability of schools and healthcare services in the region while contemplating an urban home to ensure that they fit the inhabitants’ needs and preferences.

How Size and Layout Affect the Comfort and Functionality of an Urban House: Finding the Perfect Fit

The number of bedrooms and bathrooms and the overall layout of an urban home are crucial factors that influence its functionality and livability.

Depending on the household size and personal preferences, the number of bedrooms and bathrooms should be sufficient to suit the demands and tastes of the residents.

A family with children, for instance, may require more bedrooms and baths than a single individual or couple.

The layout of an urban home can also affect the room’s functionality, with open floor plans providing a more contemporary and airy atmosphere than traditional floor plans, which provide more formal or segmented arrangements.

Outdoor space, such as a balcony or patio, can be a significant factor to consider when purchasing a home in an urban setting, as it can give additional living and entertaining areas and enhance the overall pleasure of the property. In metropolitan regions with little outside space, access to a balcony or patio can be very desirable and boost the value of a home.

 When considering an urban home with outside space, it is vital to examine the area’s size, quality, and privacy and the required upkeep to keep it in excellent shape. 

The outdoors can be utilized for many purposes, including relaxation, entertaining, gardening, and outdoor enjoyment. It can also afford customization and personalization opportunities, such as adding furniture, plants, or other elements to create a unique and useful environment.

Depending on the layout and form of the outside area, it may be possible to extend the space through renovations or the addition of constructing a permanent structure, such as an additional annex room, or a garden addition, such as a pergola or deck.

Expansion of outdoor living areas can boost the value and desirability of a home in the city and maybe a desirable choice for homeowners seeking to improve the usability and enjoyment of their property.

Key Considerations When Purchasing an Urban Home in Terms of Condition and Maintenance

Suppose you are considering buying a property; assessing the quality and potential repair cost is best. In that case, it is essential to gather data about the home’s age, the condition of the roof, foundation, and other structural features, as well as the property’s energy efficiency. 

Many make the mistake of not spending additionally on a detailed home buyer inspection, which may backfire and leave with buyer’s remorse, which on its own will create even more confusion about the whole home-buying process.

Multiple approaches are available for determining the age of a residence:

Checking the property's public records

is one method for determining the age of a residence. Typically, this information is accessible through the county assessor or local governmental office. Public records may provide information such as the year of construction, the original owner, and any ownership transfers or property tax records.

Building permits

are frequently required for construction or renovations, and these documents may be accessible through the local building department or municipality. Permits for building may include information regarding the age of the home, the type of construction, and any significant renovations.

Physical hints

Another method for determining the age of a house is to search the property for physical clues. These may include architectural styles, materials utilized in construction, and any obvious evidence of age or deterioration. A home with original wood siding, brick or stone structure, or a dated design may be older than one with vinyl siding next door.

A professional home inspection

can provide precise information on a house’s age and condition, including the roof’s age, foundation, and other structural aspects. A home inspector will discover any potential faults that need rectification or others that aren’t aligned with the building codes.

The stability and safety of the home are most directly impacted by the quality of the roof, foundation, and other structural elements. Therefore, if you decide to acquire any property, you must absolutely inspect these.

Energy efficiency

should also be considered, as it can affect both the monthly electricity expenses and the total cost of ownership. Ensuring that an urban home is well-maintained and in good condition can assist in reducing future difficulties and costs.

Features and Finishes: Enhancing the Look and Functionality of an Urban House

Do not buy a house before checking and scrutinizing everything.

Different types of homes may work differently on a personal level. For example, some are move-in-ready, others are in total need of renovation, and others may fall between the two.

If you have already stretched your budget with the purchase, there are only three possible scenarios.

Scenario 1 - Move-in-ready

It is essential to scrutinize everything and see if the property is move-in ready or requires extensive repairs or improvements.

As discussed above, it’s good to reflect on the home’s overall condition, age, the quality of the finishes, and the essential appliances on a personal level. If everything is in good shape and satisfies all requirements, then it is move-in ready.

Scenario 2 - Move in and keep tight

However, if the property looks decent and has needed appliances and features but some need to be up to the trend, you can still give it a chance, but make sure to prepare a plan and budget for doing up what’s needed. Often this means that it may be necessary to make minor modifications or relatively easy improvements before moving in (repaint, change carpet or laminate, a few light fixtures, etc.).

Rule of thumb: Add and allocate additional time, effort, and expense, as well, when planning and budgeting. In this article, we’ve explained the process in-depth.

However, suppose the home requires extensive repairs or renovations or lacks features or amenities essential to the buyer. In that case, it may be necessary to make modifications or improvements before moving in. This may necessitate additional time, effort, and expense and cautious budgeting.

Scenario 3 - In need of renovation

Getting a home needing lots of renovation is difficult, especially for first-time home buyers with stretched budgets.

Typically these properties will be outdated and lacking modern features such as proper appliances, worn flooring, wall finishes, and obsolete or even hazardous electrical and plumbing systems.

A different approach must be considered when comparing such properties with move-in-ready ones.

  • Condition: Property condition might affect renovation scope and cost. Structural or system faults may require more expensive repairs or replacements than cosmetic upgrades.
  • Priorities: Prioritize your renovations based on your budget and most desired changes. This helps you prioritize and avoid splurging on the less important stuff.
  • Cost estimates: Plan and budget your upgrades by acquiring accurate cost estimates.
  • Financing: You will need to borrow money for renovations, even if the entire family is DIY-ers. Remember that home equity, personal, and contractor loans will come at a cost!

In this article, we’ve explained what the most common DIY renovation styles are.

Key Considerations When Evaluating the Future Potential of a City Home

If you are coming with the plan to buy and sell in a short span of 2 to 3 years, then it’s clear cut. But if you plan to live longer, it is worth checking the property’s future potential.

This may include elements like the possibility of property price appreciation, rental income, and future renovations or improvements.

  1. Call your real estate agent and ask them to research the market trend. Assessing
  2. Assess the neighborhood’s potential
  3. Look for comparables and what others have done.

Making informed decisions, in addition to taking into account the long-term opportunity and objectives, can ensure that the numbers will stack in the future.

 

Key takeaways

To make an informed decision and choose a home that suits your needs and tastes, it is essential to examine many aspects when purchasing a home in a city.

Location, size and layout, condition and maintenance, features and finishes, budget and financing, and future possibilities are some essential considerations to consider.

Performing market research, assessing the property and community, and consulting with professionals can help you make informed selections and choose the ideal urban home.

If you have a property for sale, which is not a straight sale, reach us at tallboxdesign, as we may be able to help.

George Nicola

VIRTUAL STAGING EXPERT / After eight years+ working in high-end design and property business I realised that we are missing a critical part of the property business. We were not providing enough value to these old and empty properties. Not every buyer would have the opportunity to see the potential of vacant property or in a bad state. The idea of Virtual Furniture Staging the property gives the buyer and seller an incredible chance in seconds of taking the critical decision.