Q: I am a first-time buyer and I am torn between two houses I would like to buy – one in Burholme and one in Holmesburg. They are the same price and I love them both so I don’t know how to decide. My agent says I only have about a week or two to decide which house I want if I want to make settlement in time to get the $8,000 First-time Buyer Federal Tax Credit. I am so torn, what should I do?
A: Don’t let a decision be made for you if someone else buys one, or both of these houses, before you choose. With the tax credit expiring Nov. 30, and while it may be urgent that you accelerate your decision making, you can still make your decision wisely.
If both houses stack up the same in every way for you then take a look around to see which neighborhood best suits your needs.
First, think of the location factors that are most important to you. Which location is most convenient for you? These two neighborhoods may be much different in terms of your commute to work, distance from leisure-time activities, school or other places you frequent. Look for things such as access to major thoroughfares. Holmesburg is close to I-95, Burholme is not far from the Turnpike.
Second, scout out the neighborhood around both houses. Talk to the people who live there. Drive through each area at different times of the day, during the week, and on weekends. And look carefully at how well other homes in the area are being maintained.
Finally, have your agent do a Comparative Market Analysis on each property. Market value can differ from neighborhood to neighborhood.
Stacey McCarthy is a real estate agent with the McCarthy Group of Keller Williams. Her Real NEastate column appears every Wednesday on NEastPhilly.com. See others here. Read other NEast Philly columns here.