- Joined Mar 13, 2004
I'm a sucker for that HGTV show "What You Get for the Money." I think it's very interesting to see how far certain amounts of money will goin various markets around the US....anyways, I came across this Yahoo article this morning....it's worth a look....the article will be continued in thelink at the bottom...
What will $400,000 buy in 2009? That all depends on what you want. And, more importantly, where you want it.
"You can get a small one-bedroom in Brooklyn, a Georgian mansion in Georgia, or a rambling ranch in Southern California," says Barbara Corcoran, real estate expert and founder of The Corcoran Group, a New York-based real estate firm.
This year, that money buys more: more space, more special features, more yard, and a better school district. "You definitely get an extra bedroom and bath in almost every market," says Corcoran.
At today's best rates, with a 30-year fixed mortgage, 10 percent down -- and excluding taxes, insurance, points and fees, and community dues -- a $400,000 price tag equals roughly $1,919 per month.
In 2009 buyers are enduring increasing scrutiny from lenders and are turning an equally keen eye on the condition of prospective properties. Sellers, courting fewer buyers in many markets, have stepped up their game. The result: buyers are finding more homes in better condition.
"People are paying attention to a lot more details when selling and that's the buyers' advantage," says Corcoran. Moreover, they're having home inspections, and repairs, completed before the homes go on the market.
At the $400,000 level, many real estate agents report that homes that aren't in great condition don't make the cut with potential buyers. Facing a wealth of choices and a dearth of competition, buyers will simply move on to a property that's move-in ready.
Adds Corcoran, "The bottom line is that every single one of us is getting more bang for our buck."
Here's a look at what $400,000 will buy in various markets, from big cities to small towns, metro areas and suburbs, all across the country:
1. What will $400k buy: Aberdeen, MD
Overview: This contemporary two-story was built in 1993 and sits on a 1.3 acre lot. Sunken great room overlooks dining room and kitchen with breakfast bar, oak cabinets, recessed lighting, built-in desk, microwave and eat-in area that features a view of yard with mature trees. Large study could be fourth bedroom. Master suite has double doors, walk-in closet and bathroom with shower. Finished basement features built-in oak bookshelves, full-wall entertainment center, corner fireplace, sleeping area and scrapbooking area.
Features: Main floor laundry room, dining area with ceiling fan, mature landscaping, workshop, and three-car garage.
- 4 bedroom/3 bath
- 3,372 square feet
- 1.3 acre lot
Listed by: Century 21 Investment Realtors
Price trend: In Aberdeen, $400,000 will buy a top of the line house, says Dar Burgard, broker/owner of Century 21 Investment Realtors. "They can buy new construction -- probably a three-bedroom, two-and-a-half bath, 2,400 to 3,400 finished square feet," she says. That would normally include granite counters, hardwood floors and a three-car garage with up to a half-acre lot, Burgard says. With established houses in the area, "You usually get more for your money," she says. The problem: There aren't that many on the market at one time. Buyers can also opt for an older home -- something 50 to 100 years old. "We have some really beautiful areas" with historic homes, she says. Lots are often larger, at least a half-acre or more, and often have features like grand oak staircases, leaded glass, French doors, large pantries and large formal dining areas, she says.
Prices have gone up slightly since last year, says Burgard. "But when you factor in the interest rates, you're going to get more even if the prices are slightly higher."
2. What will $400k buy: Atlanta
Overview: This 5,200-square-foot, chalet-style home on 13 acres was custom-built in 2001. The two-and-a-half story main level features an open great room with two-story windows, cathedral ceiling, exposed Douglas fir beams, pine walls and floor, stone hearth and forest views. The main living area opens to a dining area and kitchen with stainless steel appliances, stone countertops, recessed lighting, breakfast bar and stone backsplash. The master bedroom features pine paneling, multiple windows, sitting area, surround sound and lighted wall sconces. The master bath has a jetted tub set into stacked stone, an oversized double-head shower with stone walls and floors, double vanity and stone tile floor. This home also has a game room/den with stone hearth, recessed lighting, bathroom and wall mount for a flat-screen TV.
Features: Gas starters for the fireplaces, hot tub on the deck, three-car garage
- 4 bedroom/3 ½ baths
- 5,200 square feet
- 13-acre lot
Listed by: Eclipse Atlanta Realty
Price trend: With $400,000 in the metro Atlanta area, "you can get a lake-view property with five bedrooms and three-and-a-half baths built after 1998, in a swim/tennis/golf community," says Reggie Moon, owner/broker with Eclipse Atlanta Realty. "Another $400,000 purchase could be in the high-rise district of Buckhead (just north of downtown Atlanta)." For that Price, buyers could get a three-bedroom, two-bath in a building with a private elevator, pool, concierge and covered parking, he says. In the metro suburbs, $400,000 "could get four bedrooms, two-and-a-half baths on a half-acre lot" in a swim/tennis community that's less than 7 years old, he says. Buyers could get a 1920s fixer-upper in historic Grant Park with five bedrooms and three-and-a-half baths on less than a quarter of an acre, says Moon.
In 2008, median home values fell 13.1 percent to $149,500 in the Atlanta/Sandy Springs/Marietta area, according to the National Association of Realtors. Buyers are definitely getting more for the money this year, Moon says. "Atlanta home values have always been cheaper than the rest of the country."
3. What will $400k buy: Bangor, Maine
Overview: This 12-room colonial two-story was built in 2005. The formal entry has cathedral ceilings and a view of the second story balcony. The family room with hardwood floors opens to the kitchen, living room, and "a very large deck," says James "Jim" Stoneton, president of Coldwell Banker American Heritage Real Estate. A first-floor library could serve as a sixth bedroom. The kitchen, which opens to the deck, sports granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, an island, custom cherry cabinets and opens to the deck. The master suite bath includes granite countertops, a jetted tub, separate shower and a water closet.
Features: Fully finished basement with two bonus rooms, electric and oil heat, above-ground pool, tree-studded lot, attached two-car garage and detached two-car garage with unfinished bonus space.
- 5 bedroom/3 bath
- 4,600 square feet (approximately)
- 2 acres
Listed by: Coldwell Banker American Heritage Real Estate
Price trend: For $400,000 in Bangor, buyers will be looking at a home that is probably either colonial or Cape Code in style, says Stoneton. The price will buy either in town or out on some land, he says. At that level, expect granite countertops, hardwood floors, and plenty of interior trim. Finishes will be "good quality, but won't be top of the line," he says. At that price range, buyers are "more in the upper middle" of the pack, he says. In Maine, home sales fell 19.2 percent in 2008, according to the National Association of Realtors.
In Penobscot County (where Bangor is the county seat), median home prices decreased 7.2 percent to $135,000 in 2008, according to the Maine Association of Realtors.
About 35 miles from the Maine coast, Bangor is "a reasonably inexpensive place to live," says Stoneton. The typical $400,000 buyer will either be a transferred executive or a current resident who is upgrading, he says.
4. What will $400k buy: Branson, Missouri
Overview: Property description: This 7-year-old contemporary split-level sits right on the fairway in a gated golf and tennis community, says Carolyn Crispin, broker/salesperson with Coldwell Banker Hometeam Realty. The modern floor plan features a large, open great room/kitchen/dining area with cathedral ceilings, hardwood accent paneling, floor-to-ceiling bay window and hardwood floors. The kitchen has stainless steel appliances including a refrigerator, stove and microwave, and opens onto a patio that overlooks the fairway. The master bathroom includes two pedestal sinks and an enclosed garden tub accented with stone tile. Annual $1,700 dues cover gated security, maintenance of common areas, and use of the clubhouse with swimming, tennis, golf and workout facilities, says Crispin.
Features: Great room with cathedral ceiling, dining nook with floor-to-ceiling bay window, oversized two-car garage, patio, and professional landscaping.
- 4 bedrooms/2 baths
- 2,842 square feet
- 1/4 acre (approx.)
Listed by: Coldwell Banker Hometeam Realty
Price trend: In 2009, $400,000 will buy more house or a better view in Branson. For that kind of money, buyers have a choice, says Crispin. "Do they want to be on a private lot with a lake view or in a golf community?" she says.
At that price range, buyers will be looking at "the top half of the market," says Crispin. Three-plus bedrooms, 2,500 to 4,000 square feet, and -- whether new or older -- in very good shape, she says.
Most of the choices in that price range "will be fairly modern," she says. And at this price, an older home will be refreshed and updated. Lot sizes will generally range from a quarter-acre to an acre, depending on location and view. Home prices are down about 15 percent from last year in the Branson/Table Rock Lake area, says Kathy Clark, president of the Tri-Lakes Board of Realtors. Statewide, home sales are down 11.9 percent, according to figures from the National Association of Realtors. Since many Branson-area houses are second homes, market conditions in other locales are having a negative effect on the Branson area, says Crispin.