SAVVY HOUSE HUNTING
Lately I have been assisting a few clients and friends acquire property. I was taken aback by how little knowledge home buyers have on how to go about it. They are firstly blinded by the sales pitch and seduced by the cosmetic aesthetic of houses on the market. House hunting has a lot more elements to consider, both intrinsic and extrinsic.
Whether you are a 1st time buyer, upgrading or downsizing, there are fundamentals you need to consider when embarking on the process of purchasing a new home. Remember buying a house is the biggest investment you will ever take on in your lifetime, so it pays to relax and take your time. I have compiled a list of tips to help you with attain the home of your dreams.
1. Evaluate Lifestyle Needs
We have to evaluate our lifestyle needs; which stage of life are we in?, and what the use for the home will be. Before heading out to view anything, first draw up a list of your priorities, e.g. top 10 things you would like to have in your home and what purpose they will serve. Needs differ from person to person, if you are single yours are different from a family of 4; do you have pets or plan on having?, do you entertain a lot?, because you’ll need ample space to play host, do you have a car collection that needs garage and yard space. Once you start looking you wont be easily swayed by charming features or the Realtor’s great selling abilities. You can always refer to your list and make sure you stay with your fundamentals.
2. Get Acquainted with you Budget
I cannot express how important your budget is when it comes to shopping for a house. Find out what you are eligible for according to your financial profile. Only after you are aware of your budget can you start the hunting. Remember that your budget will determine what you can afford, which makes the search a lot more streamlined, so you wont waste your time with properties that are out of pocket. Always check with the Estate Agent, buyer and bank who will be covering transfer costs, because this will affect your budget, and I have also found that this point often comes up as an issue.
Just because the selling price is exactly your budget that does not mean you can afford it, take into consideration the administration fees that follow after making an offer.
3. Location, Location, Location
WHERE you live is important, choosing a location/area that compliments your everyday routine and recreational needs. As much as this might be a luxury for some, considering the incredible number of commuters in the urban establishment, but if you can help it choose an area that has facilities and amenities you need on a regular basis close by. If you have kids, make sure there are schools, park near by. We tend to drive everywhere if you live in an area that promotes walking to the grocery store or the local park, it will save you money and improve your quality of life. If you’re single you might be looking for a vibrant area with night life activities and electric vibes, somewhere in the CBD for example.
Your lifestyle needs and budget will help you determine which location best suites you.
4. Pay attention to the Details
Remember open houses always present the house in the best image possible, the estate agent is looking to close the deal so they will use the right words to convince you that this very house you looking at is PERFECT! You need to pay attention to these details:
- Viewing the house in both day and night time, seeing how the sun falls, and the lights at night.
- Opening cupboards, to see if there is enough storage. Storage is a huge nightmare once you’ve moved in, make sure there is provision.
- Furniture can be used to hide imperfections, lift rugs, and look behind shelves, check if there are any lifting tiles or floor boards, look out for signs of rising damp, chipped paint, rust. These can cost a fortune if you have to fix them yourself.
- Open taps, flush toilets, switch lights on and off.
- Take your time when walking through the house, don’t rush because you’ll miss things
Noticing the details also helps you establish any faults or hangups that the seller can fix before you move in, this way you can save on nasty surprises once you’ve unpacked your boxes.
Ask the seller questions about the average maintenance costs for the house, along with Levys & other bills that come with the up keep of the property. Just because you can afford the selling price does not mean you can afford the day to day upkeep of the house. Make sure its within your means.
5. Bring in an expert
If you feel you don’t have the ‘eye’ or patience to comb through the details yourself, you can enlist the services of a professional. A plumber can help you determine any issues with water and the overall condition of plumbing on the property. An electrician will offer great insight on how the electrical system works, sometimes what seems as a minor detail like a light bulb that has fused could be a sign of a failed electrical connection. An Interior designer or decorator can assist you with the potential space usage, what will work in your favour and what might disadvantage you, i.e. storage, utility areas, outdated fittings etc. An interior experts can help you visualize the probable future of the house and how it will benefit your pocket. These professional charge a minimal call out fee to give you advice that will save you money in the long run, so do consider getting help.
Take your time when looking for a home, approach it as an inspector rather than a potential buyer. It is very easy to get sidetracked or distracted by the sales pitch. With house hunting I have found that there is such a thing as the perfect fit. Whether you’re looking at a fixer-upper or an updated home that will not require you to lift a finger once you’ve moved in, it should feel right before putting in an offer.
I hope the above tips will help as you look for that investment. If you need further information or professional assistance with shopping, email us on firstname.lastname@example.org
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