This week, I held an open house at a $350,000 house, on a 1 acre lot, with 5 bedrooms, and 3 baths. Most of the visiting buyers were in their 30’s, and were current home owners. 

  I asked each of them where they currently lived and what they were looking for. They all had specific needs, and none of them were emotional buyers. This time around they were going to buy the right home, and they weren’t going to be rushed.

  The number one feature they were looking for was 3 or 4 bedrooms on one level. Almost all of them owned a split entry or rambler with 2 bedrooms on one level. This worked fine until they had their 2nd child, as they now have 2 children sharing a room and they want separate bedrooms for them. They also want more family room space. 

  The number two feature they were looking for was school district and family friendly neighborhoods. This was not a concern when they purchased their first home as they didn’t have children, and now they are faced with moving to a better school district or paying to send their children to a private school.

  Number three was lot size and/or privacy. They want more room for the family to have outdoor activities. Some want to move back to their childhood communities to raise their children and be closer to family.

  They said the main reason most of them bought their first house was affordability and proximity to work. Now they are willing to commute longer distances to improve their quality of life and get the home that fits their changing family needs.

   Some of the buyers wished they had better long-term vision when they bought their first home and some were content with experiencing living closer to downtown for a while, but they all agreed that if they had a better plan, when they bought their first home, they would have saved money. The average price point of their first home was $225,000. Most of them had been in their homes for about 2 years.  Their homes haven’t appreciated enough to make up the difference in closing costs to sell their home, buy a new home and cover moving expenses, which is estimated at $25,000-$30,000. Many of them have increased their wages and have been able to save additional money, since they purchased their first home.

  An experienced real estate agent, can help you devise a plan to maximize your long term real estate investment goals.

Ask the Real Estate Agent is a weekly column by Cheryl Kempenich of Coldwell Banker Burnet, who lives and offices in the Chisago Lakes Area. Submit your questions to All information is deemed reliable but not guaranteed. For legal assistance consult an attorney.