Whenever people decide that they want to buy a house, there’s suddenly this surge of excitement that propels them to sometimes make hasty and unfortunately careless decisions. Before buying a house, there is an ample amount of research that you must do first. Which is reasonable, because buying a house is one of the biggest decisions in your life (it’s probably the second one after marriage – or maybe third?) Before you go on a scavenger hunt to find your dream house, there are a few things you need to consider and perhaps obey.
#1 Buy from the owner himself
Nobody knows the house more than the owner himself. Before turning to brokers, first scout the market for those who are selling property directly. Or you can go old-school and roam the streets looking for the sign, “Property For Sale”, who knows you might get lucky. Anyway, the reason why direct purchase is better is because you will get more accurate details about the house and even the neighborhood. Brokers are trained to use a lot of flowery words in order to sell, but information from owners is much more authentic. Plus, you have a bigger chance on a good deal because the owners won’t have to give commission to brokers. Just hope they don’t have any ghost stories for you.
#2 Choose a reputable intermediary
If you have exhausted the market and have not found a direct seller whose house is to your liking, then be sure to select an intermediary or broker with good reputation. The real estate market is a minefield full of swindlers and dishonest people, be on your guard. Ask your friends if they know of any real estate agents you can trust.
#3 Ask how old is the building?
Now, if you’re already eyeing a house, it is very important to know the age of the building. Houses aren’t like wine (the older the better), nor are they like restored cars (all original parts have a higher value). You want to buy a house that’s not so old. That way, you have fewer worries about piping, or wires or the ceiling caving in. If it is an old house, ask if they’ve done any renovations. Some people are glad to acquire such properties because they come in cheap, but unbeknownst to them, there are a lot of renovation costs that hide beneath.
#4 Inspect the building; is it in pretty good shape?
If you’re going to buy a house, you have to be comfortable in it. Or at the very least – secure. Here’s a list of what you need to check:
- Are the walls paper-thin? It’s poorly built then.
- Check if there are any termite trails
- Check the bathrooms, is there enough water pressure?
- If possible, maybe you can check the roof. Make sure it’s still in good shape.
- Are there any traces of leaks on the ceilings or the walls?
#5 Sniff around. Is the neighborhood safe?
Perhaps you can inquire from the nearest police station if there the area is crime-free or if it is a hotspot for thieves. Ask if there are any reports of robberies or break-ins in the neighborhood, if there’s too many, then that may not be a safe neighborhood.
#6 Check completeness of documents
Check if the certificates are authentic. Have there been consistent payments with the real estate tax, or is it behind? Check the certificates of the Building Permit and so a cross check just so you’re sure it’s not illegal or unofficial.
#7 Check prices
Look around other lots to check whether or not this house is soaring above what the current market price of other properties is. This is especially helpful so that you can offer a reasonable price that’s not too lowball, and not over your limit as well.
#8 Be sure that you have organized your finances
Unless you’re a descendant of the Vanderbilts, better scratch that mansion off your list because it will suck the life out of your finances. If you plan to buy a property, be realistic! Buying a house isn’t something you do on impulse, prepare for it. Make sure you have ample extra before making a downpayment. Don’t buy a house if you’re still behind on a couple of other debts; in fact, pay off all other debts first before you buy a house.
#9 Keep your credit in check
Once you’ve bought the house, don’t be in a rush to make it the best house in the village. Most people who’ve recently bought property start swiping their credit cards for nice furniture, designs and all that interior jazz. Don’t if it’ll be on credit, but if there is a separate money allotted for these agendas, well, yeah that’s ok. But the point is, be cautious with your spending habits, now that you’ve bought a house you just took on a huge responsibility.
#10 Most especially, don’t lose your job
Buying a house is something that you will commit to for years. Over this period you have to have a stable job which will pay for the mortgages. Keep your credit scores up, lest terrible interest rates befall on you. If the conditions are not so good when you bought the house, you can consider refinancing to avail of easier payment methods – one that suits your financial status best. Bottom line – don’t lose financial flow.
Lara Seers is a real estate agent for properties in Queensland. She presents buyers with several options and describes each property in full detail to make it easier for them to make the best choice.