Houston Homebuyer’s Guide

Deserved Rewards

Reaching the point where the home of your dreams becomes a reality is one of the most satisfying benefits of hard work and smart financial planning.  You’ve probably spent years driving pasta neighborhood you’ve wanted to live in waiting for the time to be right. Or may be you’ve been mentally designing your home ever since you put the financial plan in place that got you to this point. Perhaps you’ve only just realized that a luxury home is within your reach,and you’re exploring all your options. Whatever stage your dream is in, this Houston homebuyer’s guide is designed to help you take that dream and make it a reality.

What Does Luxury Mean To You?

Identifying what you truly want in your luxury home is your first step.  Do you want a great location inside the loop in an established well-known neighborhood, or do you want to spread out a little on a large lot or acreage on the outskirts of the city?  Or is it the house itself that needs to make the statement with a design that fits your individual style?

Wish List

There are countless options and features available to luxury home buyers and you are only limited by your imagination and budget.  You will need to create a “wishlist”of all the things you want in your home.  We recommend splitting your list into a “Must Have” and a “Could Have” list.  This will make it easier to identify your priorities and make sure they are incorporated into your home.If you need inspiration there are numerous websites that can be valuable resources to help communicate your vision to us.  Below are some current trends in the luxury home market:

Gourmet Kitchens

A gourmet kitchen is a must for most luxury home buyers.  Even if you rarely cook at home a custom kitchen is a fabulous addition for entertaining friends and family.  Custom cabinetry and stone counter tops are the standard along with commercial-grade refrigerators, wine storage, and professional-grade stoves.

Master Suites

This is your private retreat from the world so this space should reflect your personality and lifestyle like no other place does.  Some of the amenities people are putting into their master suites are adjoining studies, small kitchens for their morning coffee, fireplaces, and closets designed with display cases that any hard-core shopper would be proud of.

Media Rooms

Don’t want to fight the crowds at the movies?  A media room is the answer.  They can be designed with raised seating, over sized screen sizes, state of the art audio systems, and even a snack bar if you don’t want to walk back to your gourmet kitchen for popcorn and drinks.

Architectural Detail

Make your home fine art.Hand crafted wood accents, intricate stonework, large windows, and dramatic open spaces can provide visual delight throughout your home.

Where Do You Want To Live?

Choosing Your Neighborhood

Location plays a significant role in any new home purchase.  Even though you might design the perfect house having it built in the wrong location could cause significant heartache.  Here area few pointers for choosing the right neighborhood:

  • Is the price of the lot or acreage in line with current market trends?
  • Is the location going to be a “flash-in-the-pan” or will its till be desirable in five years?
  • Has there been a steady appreciation rate over the past five years?
  • Does the school district meet your needs?
  • Is the commute time acceptable?
  • If you travel frequently is there a major air port nearby?
  • Are the types of shopping and services you need on a regular basis located nearby?
  • Are there dining and entertainment options within a distance you’re willing to drive regularly?

If you aren’t quite sure about the location, one way to help make the right decision would be rent a home in the neighborhood for several months.

Building Your Trusted Advisor Team

Intelligent home buyers recognize the importance of assembling a team of experts to help navigate the process of buying a luxury home.  The team should include your personal financial advisors, your legal counsel, your CPA, a licensed real estate agent, a professional mortgage expert (if you’re not paying cash) and,of course, your builder.

Choosing Your Real Estate Agent

Expert knowledge of the local market and the ability to be discreet are two traits most luxury home buyers say are most important to them when choosing a real estate agent.  Both of the seat tributes are of great importance when you’re dealing with homes in the upper price range, and a real estate agent who has them both is a great resource.  The following are just some of the things a good real estate agent can do for you:

  • Keep Your Wealth From Working Against You: A careless comment by a real estate agent who doesn’t understand the unique needs of affluent buyers can seriously hurt your negotiating power.  Many sellers will simply refuse to negotiate if they find out that an interested home buyer has alot of assets at their disposal.
  • Accommodate Your Schedule: It’s common for both the buyers and the sellers of higher-end homes to have exceptionally busy schedules and are very protective of their time.  That’s why you need an agent who can adapt quickly to your schedule.

A Referral from friends, family, and co-workers is always a good place to start when you’re looking for an expert real estate agent. But if you’d rather keep your search more private, we recommend Victoria Springer at Upton Gray Properties, a small boutique real estate brokerage specializing in the luxury home market.  Ms. Springer lists all of Refined Custom Builders speculative homes and works almost exclusively with affluent buyers.

Big Company or a Boutique Shop

Traditionally, the luxury home market has been served mostly by small, independent boutique real estate agencies with expert knowledge of a particular area.  Today, larger real estate firms are recognizing the potential of this market have begun to create services for this niche.  We recommend you interview both types of firms and then decide which approach best suits your needs and expectations.

Financial Advisors

Your financial team should also consist of professionals with detailed personal knowledge of you and your needs, and are probably already on your team:

  • Financial Planner
  • CPA
  • Attorney

Mortgage Expert

If you aren’t paying cash for your home then you will need a mortgage consultant who has expertise in the field of luxury homes, a thorough understanding of home buyer needs in the current market, a solid understanding of your personal needs,and the ability to make sure your home financing plan fits into your over all wealth management strategy.

Financial Options

We recommend you consult your financial advisors before making a decision on whether or not to finance your new home. While some affluent home buyers do choose to invest with cash, others choose to finance a large portion of the purchase for tax purposes, to help with cash flow, to keep investment portfolios intact, or to keep liquid assets available for other purposes.

Find out more about financing options.

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Houston Homebuyers Guide

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