Property 101: Tips to a good investment
LET’S imagine you know what to expect when buying a home a home for the first time, but did you know that it is the little things that can make all the difference in terms of your long-term happiness with your decision? Below are our top 10 tips for making your buying experience as profitable, stress-free, and enjoyable in the long-term as possible.
Research thoroughly People waste five hours running around like chickens with our heads cut off and the entire process–after 2-3 weekends of this–quickly becomes disorganized and stressful. This is the exact opposite of how the process should go!
Instead, take time to do your homework before you even involve an agent and begin seeing homes to have a well-defined idea of what you’re actually looking to buy. Also consider attending a few open houses on your own– just be sure to let them know you’re working with an agent if you’ve already chosen one.
Location, Location, Location This is the most famous saying in our industry when it comes to the three things that most effect buyer’s purchasing decisions.
It’s wonderful that you can buy a 3 000 sq. ft. single family home for a very low price, but if no one will come and hang out with you, what was the point?
Location is such a crucial piece of the home buying puzzle because it will have the greatest effect on your overall lifestyle.
Do you love getting up early and walking a block to your yoga class and then having a nice protein shake from the juice bar across the street on your way back? If you do, then think long and hard before you decide to give up your ideal location for a few more interior square feet or some shiny new stainless steel appliances.
Don’t forget to account for extra costs When buyers are setting up their budgets, they always remember to account for things like mortgage, tax, and insurance payments, as well as any association dues (for condos or communities with common amenities). They also remember to budget for utilities like gas, cable, and electric and most even remember things like landscaping maintenance and routine maintenance.
What most people forget about are the little extras which, when you add them up, can become not so little. A prime example- using the tip above about location- let’s say you decide to move 4 blocks farther from your ideal location which isn’t so far- no big deal, right? Maybe not…
Let’s say you’re not much of a walker or are always in a rush–that 2-minute walk for $0 just turned into a $6 cab ride.
Always remember to really take the time to think about your overall budget and account for every penny that your new home will cost on a monthly basis, but also the ancillary income you will need to spend to conveniently live in that location.
Scope out the area Going out with your Realtor on the weekend and seeing homes is a great start once you become more serious about your search, but if you really want to get a feel for the area you’re considering buying in, you need to do more.
Start by visiting the property and general area at 9am and 5pm so you can judge traffic volume, noise levels, and the general feel for the area. Then come back during the weekend and walk around during the middle of the day. Stop in a local restaurant and have a bite and talk to a couple small business owners in the area to get a feel for their thoughts on the neighborhood.
The trick here is to figure out the lifestyle afforded by the area you’re considering and taking the time to make sure that lifestyle will be a good fit once you’re moved in.
Don’t compromise on the quality We’ve all heard the saying “You get what you pay for” and this couldn’t be more true than in real estate.
I get it–your girlfriend’s sister’s mom is a Realtor and she’s going to be so so so upset if she doesn’t get the business. Unfortunately, if you let people pressure you into hiring people who aren’t capable of fully representing you, then you can run into problems.
All hiring decisions- attorney, lender, Realtor, home inspector–should be based on merit and made without regard to personal relationships. If you know just so happen to be friends with a phenomenal agent with a stellar reputation who works in the area you’re buying in, then that’s one thing, but to blindly give out business when your hard earned money and happiness at stake is foolhardy to say the least!
Always know your exit strategies A good businessperson always knows their exit strategy up front and you should be no exception when it comes time to buying property.
Do you have enough for a down payment so that if you needed to sell quicker than expected you could without writing a check? Can you rent the home for enough to cover your total monthly expenses as an alternative strategy if you can’t sell?