Is It Still a Bad Idea to Buy the Best Home on the Block?

Conventional real estate wisdom says to never buy the best home on the block—but is that still the case? We checked in with a real estate pro to find out.

<p>JOHN BESSLER (Left); Edmund Barr (Right) | Design: Better Homes & Gardens</p>

JOHN BESSLER (Left); Edmund Barr (Right) | Design: Better Homes & Gardens

Does location still matter most? Should you remodel your home to suit your tastes, or for resale value? Are starter homes still a thing? We all have plenty of questions about the ever-changing world of real estate. In our Ask an Agent series, we’re partnering with experts at Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate to answer your biggest questions about finding, buying, and selling a home.

You’ve probably heard it parroted over and over again: “Don’t buy the best home on the block!” Conventional real estate advice claims that buying the most expensive or highest valued home on the block is a mistake for a number of reasons. The value of your new home will grow more slowly than that of the surrounding homes if the neighborhood improves; the value of your home won’t match the location, so when it comes time to sell, the people who can afford your house might not like the location and opt for houses in different areas.

But while this advice has been around for decades, in today’s housing market, does it still apply? Is buying the best house on the block still a bad idea, even if it’s the best house available for you?

<p>Jessica Poulos</p>

Jessica Poulos

For this installment of Ask an Agent, we spoke with Jessica Poulos of the Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate Northwest Home Team about whether buying the best home on the block is still something to avoid.

Meet the Expert

Jessica Poulos is the Designated Broker and co-owner of Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate Northwest Home Team, with three offices in northwest Washington. She has more than 20 years of experience working in real estate in the area, helping clients find their dream homes.

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Ask an Agent: Should You Buy the Best House on the Block?

With real estate, it’s all about return on your investment, and I never want to put my name on a contract with a client and give them advice to blow all their money, and they will not get it back. It’s always about, “What’s the return going to be for them?”

However, my advice to buyers is not, “Is this the best investment, and will this make me the most money?” Those are good questions. But the first question is always, “Does this meet the needs of my family, or my job, or my whatever season of life you’re in? Does this meet my needs?”

Because that’s the purpose of a house, right? It’s to live and raise kids or downsize or whatever that may be. So I think it is OK. If you need the most expensive house on the block because it has a shop, or it has a detached office or has a second kitchen or something that’s making it a more expensive home, absolutely, that’s OK. It is about a homebuyer’s needs.

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Let’s say they have three kids, and they want a certain school district, and that school district is a little more money, price per square foot. And it doesn’t make sense for them to buy in a neighborhood that maybe doesn’t have the same [school district] for that lesser price.

However, if it’s a full investment, and they’re just looking at money—we work with a lot of investors, and if all they’re looking at is return on investment, it could be bad to buy the best house on the block.

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Or maybe it’s a military family.:“We’re only going to be here two years, and we just need three bedrooms. We don’t know anything about the schools. This is just a transaction for us.” Well, then maybe we need to make müddet that, come two years when you get restationed, that you’re getting the most amount of money. It’s all situational.

I think so many real estate agents—we look at either blanket answers or, “This is how it’s always done.” But we really have to assess what’s going on with a client first.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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