Marianne Cusato, author of “The Just Right Home: Buying, Renting, Moving — or Just Dreaming — Find Your Perfect Match!” wants you to rethink how a life fits into a home. She has relevant ideas for anyone thinking about renting, buying, downsizing or adapting a home into something else.
“This book is designed to engage with what your needs are and the needs you haven’t even thought of yet,” Cusato said during her presentation at Books & Co. at The Greene in Beavercreek on April 3.
Cusato, designer of the award-winning Katrina Cottages, approximately 300-1,800 square foot homes, said deciding on where to live is a balancing act of function, cost and delight. “It’s about finding the sweet spot between something that works, that you enjoy and costs what you can afford,” Cusato said.
Cusato says the new rules of real estate are:
1. Live-in value trumps resale value. The old way of thinking was looking for things in a home that the next person would want, and now consumers are reassessing items in a home.
“If you move into a home that has a really good live-in value for you, chances are it will have a really good live-in value for the next person, and you then have the resale value, too,” Cusato said.
2. Proximity trumps location. Consumers are moving away from auto-dependent homes to homes that are more connected to community.
“Proximity, proximity, proximity. Location only matters if it is in proximity to something you need,” Cusato said. “We are now seeing a shift for millennials and boomers not even wanting cars; they want walkable communities.”
3. It isn’t a great deal if you can’t afford it. “We’re now seeing a new austerity, but in a good way. We’re looking to live within our means,” Cusato said.
4. Home ownership isn’t a given. “Home ownership is important if it’s at the right time,” Cusato said. “We’re seeing people renting for a period of time when in between places and now rents are skyrocketing. I live in Miami, Fla., and rent is astronomical, but I like the mobility. For me, renting is perfect. Other people like the stability.”
Setting your budget involves more than just the price you are able to pay for a house; consumers need to calculate the costs of housing plus transportation.
Consumers need to be savvy about hidden costs like what it takes to heat and cool a property and care for landscaping needs.
“Demand a full year of past utility bills, and if not able to get a full year, get August, September, January and February,” Cusato said.