RESEARCH YOUR NEW NEIGHBORHOOD
Identifying what neighborhoods you might want to buy in is a great first step to choosing which listings to go see in person. Start by spending some time in the neighborhoods you’d be living in, if you aren’t already familiar with them. Walking the street, talking to people who are out- and-about, or even reading Air B-n-B reviews from that neighborhood can all help. Trick-or- treating is a great time to go door-to-door to gauge who your neighbors would be. You can also contact local law enforcement to ask them what the criminal activity is like in that area. You’ll also want to do your best to predict that neighborhood’s future. Is there development in the area? Are other properties well-kept? Your Realtor can research the statistical sale history of that neighborhood for you to assess the quality of your investment.
WHEN WALKING THROUGH POTENTIAL HOMES
There are many things to consider when viewing properties. It’s very important not to get too swept up in the potential of a property, meaning it’s best to rationally assess it’s value as an investment. It’s a common mistake for first-time homebuyers to get excited about one or two features of a property, such that they may loose sight of many pitfalls. Here are some tips on how to keep a calm mind around this part of the process!
Where to begin!?
Most people have a basic idea of what they want. Getting organized with the details will really help you focus on which properties you want to see. Here is a list of property characteristics that you can decide upon before ever looking at a single property to give you an idea of where to start. It also helps to prioritize these so that you know what you are and are not willing to be flexible on.
# Bedrooms, # of Bathrooms, Parking, Garage, Heating, Flooring, Appliances, Square Footage, Age, Lot Size, Appearance, Location, School District, Fencing.
OTHER HOUSE HUNTING TIPS
As part of the home buying process, it is recommended that you consider the main areas where buyers end up compromising during negotiations. Knowing what IS and what IS NOT a deal breaker for you is extremely important. Some of the factors to consider are: Price, Location, Size, Parking, Natural Lighting, Deferred Maintenance.
Beware of properties that seem like a “bargain”
The old adage holds true, “If it looks too good to be true, it probably is…” Sometimes amazing deals do come up in the real estate market, but dependng on the local market, it’s rare that a property like that will be for sale for more than a day. If a property has an unusually low price, or seems like a plain “good deal”, ask your Realtor what they think of the price, and see if they can do some research to get more in-depth information about the property before getting too excited!
Focus on what CAN’T be changed
This principle works both ways. Sometimes buyers fall in love with a house, but can’t bring themselves to write an offer on it because they truly hate the color of the paint. Obviously, the paint color can be changed, and often fairly easily, so it’s shouldn’t necessarily be a deciding factor just because you don’t like a certain color. Conversely, people will overlook very important factors like Location or Cost, if they fall in love with a house before they’ve considered the full impact of a commute, a different school district, or a higher mortgage, all things which cannot be changed once your purchase is complete. It’s important to ask yourself if the parts of the property that you don’t like are changeable, and if the compromises you’re making are permanent!