Home Buying Guide
The biggest financial decision you will ever make will likely be the purchase of property. Whether you are a first-time first buyer or an experienced one, this decision must be made cautiously.
Why do you want to buy?
There are likely as many reasons to buy a property as there are kinds of people buying them. Some folks grow tired of paying rent and want their money to be more wisely invested. Some folks decide to downsize, or upsize, due to life changes. Others love their home but are seeking an investment portfolio or a rental property. Various life factors figure into the decision to buy. Would you rather live in a different area? Do you want to shorten your commute? Do you long for a neighborhood that accommodates your lifestyle? Are you a community person who loves hustle and bustle and walkable destinations? Do you like your privacy? Are you an outdoorsy type who enjoys nature? Having a clear sense of your reasons for buying will help you choose the right property.
A Wise Investment
Historically property ownership is a solid investment. On a ten year scale average markets can show appreciation of 6-8% per year. Whether you are looking for your dream home, a rental property, or to expand your investment portfolio, owning real estate is one of the least risky ways to build equity or to obtain a greater return on your initial investment.
Choosing A Real Estate Agent
When you decide to make one of the biggest financial purchases of your life, it is wise to seek a professional, experienced real estate agent to help you. Navigating through and negotiating a property purchase is an accomplished skill. Buying a property requires making many important financial decisions, understanding complex issues and completing a lot of paperwork. We can guide you through this process, and also provide you with up-to-the-minute access to property listings, often giving you exclusive market access before the general public sees them.
Here are some factors to consider when choosing your real estate professional:
- Look for a full-time agent. Many real estate agents view it as a part-time job.
- Choose one who has experience completing transactions similar to yours.
- Interview a few agents to find how familiar they are with the area in which you are interested.
- Ask how much time the agent will have for you, and if they are available at night and on weekends.
- Ask about credentials and education: A good agent will continually learn about new developments and latest real estate trends. Ask if he/she has earned any professional designations.
- Examine how the agent communicates. Does he/she return your calls promptly? Time is money when attempting to buy a property and an agent who is too busy or preoccupied to communicate loses deals.
- Ask for a list of properties they have sold and/ or a list of references.
- Choose an agent who listens attentively to your needs, concerns and gets to know you. Pick an agent, with whom you feel comfortable.
Once those preparations are out of the way, it is time to find the right property for you.
Take a Drive
Get to know the neighborhoods, complexes, or subdivisions, which interest you. Drive around and get a feel for what it would be like to own a property in the area. Start getting a sense of the properties available in those areas. Get out of the car and make your exploration a sensory experience. Finding the right areas is beyond seeing. Listen and smell. Use your intuition as well. How does the area feel? What is the “vibe” it emits?
Narrow Your Search
After you have narrowed down an area or two or three, select a few properties that interest you the most and have your real estate agent schedule showing appointments to visit them. Ask your real estate agent about the potential long term resale value of the properties you are considering. Many consumers do their searches online first before contacting an agent. Beware that photos of a property cannot convey it in its entirety. Some homes look better online than in person and vice versa.
Many buyers set up a showing to see a house based upon online pictures only to have wasted time and effort on seeing it in person. A professional agent can guide your passage into home viewing by knowing other agents’ business practices, marketing techniques, and types of listings he/she takes on. Marketing a property is a complex, orchestrated process that a layperson may not realize. Having an agent in your corner, working for you as a buyer/client is wise.
Time to Buy
Once you have chosen the property you want to purchase, your real estate agent will help you make a strong offer that the seller will accept. Your agent can also help you draft your offer in a way that gives you the advantage over another offer through detailed research he/she does for you. He/she can also investigate the potential costs and expenses associated with the new property such as taxes, neighborhood or condo fees, utilities, and other expenses that affect your bottom line as well as s monthly living expenses.