Buying a home in downtown Las Vegas might have seemed out of the question not long ago. But today, after recent redevelopment efforts, the area is becoming an increasingly attractive and popular option. The downtown area bustles with new restaurants and cultural activity, abetted by easy access to public transportation, which is rare in Las Vegas.
"There is no other part of the [Las Vegas] valley where you can walk or bike to the theater or to a dining establishment, have some cocktails afterward, and then walk or bike back home. Las Vegas is pretty much a giant suburb, and you can't get that quality of life anywhere else in the valley," says Steven Franklin, a Realtor with Elite Realty who goes by the nickname "Downtown Steve."
To help you navigate the downtown Vegas real estate market, here are four tips from some of downtown Las Vegas' top real estate agents.
Get to know the place.
Before you start your home search, spend some time exploring downtown Vegas neighborhoods. While there are no official downtown boundaries, the area is roughly bordered by Sahara Avenue to the south, U.S. Route 95 to the north, Eastern Avenue to the east and Valley View Boulevard to the west, Franklin says.
Nora Aguirre, Realtor and co-owner of Source Realty, also recommends doing research on future development and zoning plans. "You [want to] know if there is a possibility of you having to sell in the future because the commercial zone expands, or because a project goes right next to your home and that's not what you want," she says.
At the same time, some people might want to invest in a property that may be affected by future development as it may increase the value of the home, she adds.
Understand your options.
Living downtown doesn't mean you're limited to condos and lofts. "You can have anything from a 1930s 900-square-foot bungalow to a 3,000-square-foot home in a guard-gated community," Franklin says. "There's horse property available downtown [meaning it's zoned to allow owners to keep horses]. There are high-rises available downtown, and there are newer housing projects more typical of a suburban home. Pretty much whatever type of living situation you are looking for is available within a 2-mile radius of the core of downtown."
Aguirre says, "I sell quite a bit of single-family residences downtown." She adds that single-family homes downtown can range from $180,000 to $400,000, depending on the square footage and upgrades they feature.
As for condos downtown, they are typically more expensive than a single-family home. Aguirre says The Ogden is a popular high-rise located in the center of downtown, and she has found that units there are typically priced between $400,000 and $600,000.
Be ready for an older home.
A home downtown may be more affordable than a condo, but it's likely older. Because the development of Las Vegas began downtown, the homes there are some of the city's original residences. So, if you do purchase a home, pay close attention to the home inspection. "When we close, I always tell buyers that they are going to find something wrong with the house that they didn't know about," Franklin says.
Choose an agent with experience downtown.
The greater Las Vegas real estate market is so large and diverse that a Las Vegas real estate agent might sell hundreds of homes and never handle a property downtown. Agents with less experience downtown may not be as familiar with the different neighborhoods and housing options available. More importantly, they may not be able to effectively negotiate the price of a home.
"Appraisals can be an issue downtown because most appraisers are used to appraising homes that are in neighborhoods in master-planned communities where it is easier to find comparable homes," Franklin says. "For downtown, it takes someone who has a little more knowledge of the area to come up with a true value in today's market." To ensure you don't overpay, work with an agent who has experience buying and selling properties downtown.
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