When you are looking to buy your first home, price and location are usually the two most important factors. Obviously, you can only purchase what you are prequalified for and most Buyers have their neighborhood preferences. However, there's something most real estate agents and Buyers overlook -- the people.
I recently sat an open house at Kuhale Kapahulu. Despite being a "townie" my entire life, I never heard of this town house complex until the other week. Sadly to say, I've driven by Kuhale Kapahulu and I never really noticed it.
Out of the hundreds of open houses I've sat, this open house was by far the best one. For the 3 plus hours we were open, numerous groups of prospective Buyers came by. A handful of these people were "nosy neighbors."
While most real estate agents and Sellers try to avoid these types of people, I was pleasantly surprised on how genuine our Sellers' neighbors were. That's when I met "Grandpa Joe."
Grandpa Joe, a long time resident of Kuhale Kapahulu, stopped by to see our unit. As he walked around, Grandpa Joe shared a bunch of miscellaneous facts and stories about Kuhale Kapahulu. I was amazed by his knowledge of the town house development. As he spoke, I quickly realized how much he loved this place. Kuhale Kapahulu was "his home."
I'm guilty. When I show properties to my first time home buyer clients, I often get caught up in the ascetics of things. Is the unit remodeled? What type of appliances does the unit feature? Does the condo have any amenities? Don't get me wrong, these things are important. However, lets take a step back.
People like Grandpa Joe are the heart of the community. Grandpa Joe is the type of neighbor that every person wants to have. He is the local historian, he's the guy that gets to know the other residents, and he's the guy that people go to if they have any problems or complaints.
When you are searching for next home, don't forget that "value" is more than getting a good price on the home you want. "Value," also means people. Location is important, but the people of a community will make a place special.