I was watching House Hunters yesterday and it featured a couple that was looking to buy in the greater Seattle area. The couple had recently moved from Texas and their goals was to buy a house within 45 days of arriving. I like House Hunters, but I hated that couple.
Multiple times during the episode the couple would make a comment like “Well in Texas the layouts aren’t like this.” or “In Texas, this house would cost half the price and be twice the size.” Guess freakin’ what Todo. YOU’RE NOT IN TEXAS ANYMORE.
I get that house prices in Texas are insanely cheap compared to the West Coast. I also get that New York prices are unbelievably high compared to Seattle. People, what are the three rules of real estate? Location, location, location. Regardless of what you might want to believe, WHERE you buy a house DRASTICALLY affects the value of said house. Your house in Texas costs $200,000 because fewer people live in Houston (per square mile) than Seattle. And fewer people (per square mile) live in Seattle, than San Francisco. Increased Demand = Increased Price.
Not too long ago, I blogged about our recent experience visiting some Seattle Open Houses. The three houses we viewed we’re all price around $400,000, incredibly small (like 2bd/1bth 1,300 sqft), and built over 60 years ago. Needless to say, $400,000 in Seattle buys you a very mediocre house that will likely need some major updating.
While many left constructive criticism or helpful hints, some readers provided worthless comments like “In Arizona houses are like $240,000. If I were you, I’d be looking for something more in that price range.”, “Wow, $400,000 for that? Can’t you get something nicer?” And….
Look at what you can get in your price range in XYZ, TX (where I live).
I think you need to see what you can get in other locations before you decide to spend that much money there.
Would you tell someone wanting to live in New York to consider moving to South Dakota just because house prices are cheaper? Would you tell someone looking for beach front property in San Diego to cap out at $500,000? No. That would be dumb. Just like it would be dumb to suggest I move to a city (or community) where I DON’T want to live, just so my house can be nicer/cheaper.
I get it if you just can’t relate, I really do. I get that if $400,000 in Texas buys you a McMansion, you might be shocked that it buys you a shack in San Francisco. Shocked is fine, but simply saying “find something cheaper” is useless. Cheaper real estate will always exist, but we looked at houses in Seattle because we wanted to LIVE in Seattle. Funny how that works, huh?