Thursday, March 29, 2007

Buyer's Guide to Real Estate

Buying property can be stressful, but it doesn’t have to be. By keeping yourself informed, and aware of all aspects of your purchase, you can easily avoid the many pitfalls that an uninformed buyer may encounter, ensuring that your deal runs smoothly, and risk-free. The following ‘buyers tips’ will highlight such pitfalls, and give you the tools that you need so that you may avoid them.

Buying the Right Property to Suit Your Needs:

Before you enter into any kind of real estate transaction, it is imperative that you fully understand your own reasons for wanting to purchase property. Whether you are buying for investment purposes, or planning on living in the home yourself, many factors must be considered to ensure that your purchase fully meets your needs.

Purchasing as an Investment

Are you purchasing for investment purposes? Do you plan on renting out the property? If so, you need to research the area where you are planning on buying. First, you must determine that there is a demand for rented homes or apartments in your selected area. For example, a town with a university or college is always a good place to invest in real estate a there is high demand for rentable living space for the many students who live off campus. Further, consider the common rates charged for rent in the area, the cost of hydroelectricity and heat, and other factors that would affect your return. These factors will help you to determine if you are buying in the right area.

Alternatively, you may be interested in purchasing as a personal investment, seeking a return from selling the property when it increases in value. In this case, you must inform yourself of the market, and have an understanding of what types of property will give you the greatest return. For example, new developments will often have a great increase in value within the first five years. Know your market before you purchase, and you will be sure to get the greatest return from your investment.

Purchasing Your Own Home

Are you planning to live in the property you purchase? If so, you need to consider your personal wants and needs, and ask yourself if your purchase will accommodate you. For example, if there are children, elderly, or disabled persons living in the home, you may want to avoid purchasing a house with a lot of stairs. Instead, you may want to consider purchasing a bungalow. You will also want to consider the amount of people living in the home, and whether or not that number will increase in the future if, say, new children are born into the family, or an elderly parent is planning on moving in. Having the right amount of space, especially with bedrooms and bathrooms, is key to ensuring that you can enjoy your home with little stress for years to come.

As well, you must consider the property itself, and whether or not it is suitable to meet your needs. For example, if you are interested in putting in a pool, you must consider the size of the property, and whether or not it will accommodate this desire. Is there enough garden space? Are you interested in putting in a deck, and will the space accommodate one? These are all questions you must ask yourself before you purchase a property.

Finally, you must be informed of the surrounding area where you are buying. If you have young children, you will want to purchase in an area that is close to schools. You may also want to consider commutes to work, proximity to shopping centers and hospitals, availability of public transit, and many other factors that can and will affect your day-to-day living. By being aware of your surrounding area, you can assess and determine whether or not the community will meet your wants and needs, and this can greatly eliminate any stresses that could occur from buying in the wrong area.

Ensuring Your Home is up to Code:

Before you purchase any property, you must always ensure that the building is up to code. Have a building inspector look at the house, and make sure you have a full report before you decide to buy. Doing this can save you a lot of money, as you will know in advance of any problems with the foundation, the frame, etc., and you can assess whether or not the building is worth purchasing.

Also be sure to have a pest and mould inspection performed before you purchase. Once again, this will save you the time and money you would spend correcting these problems, had you been uniformed.

Purchasing an Apartment or Townhouse:

If you are planning on purchasing an apartment or townhouse, there are many unique factors to consider that deal with living in such close proximity to your neighbours. An important one to think about is noise levels. For example, young families with children may create more noise than an elderly couple would. These two types of people may not do well to live in close proximity to one another. Get to know the neighbours before you decide to purchase, to determine if you will feel comfortable sharing a living space with them. This will avoid the hassles of conflict between neighbours who simply cannot get along.

Considering Your Price Range:

Before you purchase any property, you must consider your financial situation, and determine how much you are willing to spend. From there, it is a matter of negotiation, and there are different ways to go about securing a purchase. If you feel that the property is in high demand, you may want to give your best offer upfront. That way, you have a better chance of avoiding being outbid by other purchasers seeking the same property. Alternatively, if you feel more secure in your ability to negotiate for the property, you can begin with an offer that is lower than your top price. By doing this, you may get the property for less than you were willing to pay, but you also may lose it to someone with a better offer, before you get the chance to raise yours. Consider your options. Each situation is different, and there are benefits and drawbacks to each style of negotiation. Assess the situation, and move forward as you feel appropriate, and you will feel confident that you paid the right amount for your property.

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