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10 Tips for Those Who Have Decided to Buy
By: Erika M. Kay, broker-owner Independent Broker Consultants, Corona, California.
Wanting to buy a home and deciding to buy a home are two different things. The first is a desire or a dream. The second is commitment to achieve the goal. Do you want to buy, or have you decided to buy? What are you planning when you think of purchasing real estate, whether it's a house, condominium, cottage, or investment property? Is this something you'd like to do, but could be dissuaded from if it seems too hard, or your life becomes busy? Or, is this a goal you take on with determination to overcome barriers and maximize strengths? If you are ready to commit to success, you are determined to replace wanting to buy with deciding to buy. Here are 10 tips to help you on the path to real estate ownership.
1. Decide who will facilitate your buy! The professional team you put together can make all the difference. You're not looking for new friends, so concentrate on credentials and experience. Salespeople are trained to be personable, so if someone is likeable that's nothing special. Their knowledge and ability to strategize on your behalf does matter. The real estate professional you select must be as convinced as you are that you can be successful and understand how to make success happen.
2. Decide when will you buy! Buying a home, cottage, or investment property is not something to rush into, but taking a long time does not necessarily make your choice a better one. A recent online survey by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, the national housing agency, revealed that Canadians take, on average, 11 months to plan their purchase. That means sometimes the process takes longer than a year, and sometimes things happen more quickly. To facilitate a sound buying decision, project ahead three months at a time to see what external factors in your life and career might disrupt buying momentum, or add additional advantages to the timing. Possibilities of interest rate increases and price fluctuations are difficult to pinpoint for even the most informed experts, so prepare to respond to any shifts commonly predicted for your chosen location. Keep in mind, that if your Offer to Purchase were accepted today, you would probably not move in for 30 to 90 days depending on the sellers' plans and yours. Tip: The more pressure you put on yourself to adhere to a specific move-in date, the less flexibility you'll have in purchase negotiations regarding price and terms.
3. Decide where you will buy! Location is still the key factor in sustainable value and rate of appreciation over time. The best returns come from buying the best location you can afford—neighbourhood and street, or condominium complex and floor. You can renovate or rebuilt the structure or unit, but you cannot move the land or condominium complex. Location matters. Spend time discussing your choice of housing, neighbourhoods, and special features like in-law suites or separate apartments with your professional advisors before you start looking at properties.
4. Decide which you will buy! It's not how many properties you view that will ensure success, but whether you see the property that best suits your needs, wants, and decision making. One strategy involves acting quickly with newly-listed properties, another stresses the hidden value in slow-to-sell real estate. You may decide to stay on alert for new listings in the best neighbourhood and on the best street you can afford. Time invested in preparation will enable you to act quickly when the ideal property hits the market. If you decide on the alternate strategy that seeks purchase-price advantages with properties that do not show well, still search out the best location you can afford. Here, you'll view tired or poorly-decorated condominium units or houses, and revisit with contractors and decorator to evaluate true potential.
5. Decide what you will buy! Stay on point and avoid getting carried away. Your buyer agent will help keep you focussed, but you need to be sure you know what features you want and need, and why. Does proximity to schools or public transportation matter? What will your home-based business require? Will an income-suite enable you to buy an even better location? Is this a fixer-up property that will build your financial strength, so you can eventually buy your goal property, or are you here for the long haul? Write your must-have list down and check it when you view properties and before you make an offer.
6. Decide what value you can add! Do you have skill with interior design or home renovation? Or, will you hire the expertise you need? Concentrate on improvements that increase functionality, affordability, comfort, and resale, not just changes in decor. What professional skills can you add to the search, analysis, or decision making?
7. Decide what buying will cost! Set a budget for the entire project, not just the mortgage. Your real estate professional can help prepare a full financial projection of costs. For more on mortgages, please contact Erika Kay for " Things You Don't Want to Learn the Hard Way.”
8. Decide how you measure success! Short of having your Offer to Purchase accepted, how will you know how well you're progressing? What ongoing evaluation criteria does your real estate professional suggest? If you don't track time and the properties you've seen, you may become overwhelmed with detail and confused by the continually changing real estate market. While you're set on your decision to buy, interest rates, the economy, and many other variables may change. Focus is the key. Organization will ensure your success.
9. Decide what's unique to your situation! What considerations or challenges must you take into account that may not be true for all buyers? Do you have a property to sell before you can buy? Do you have special mobility needs, or design features like higher ceilings or a detached garage that are important to your hobbies or business? Share this information with your real estate professional at the start, so they have the full picture of your needs.
10. Decide: What's the point of buying? This decision must come first and stay first as you go. There are many great reasons for buying real estate, but what are yours? Not reasons you've been told to buy or think you should, but why you know you're prepared to invest time and effort on the quest. When your point or purpose in buying is crystal clear, you can weigh the relative merits of the properties you view, and the many small decisions that must be made on the way to the first big step: Have you decided to make an offer? If so, please contact me, Erika Kay
Erika M. Kay, Broker/Owner, Property Manager
Short Sale & Foreclosure Specialist (NARSFR)
SRES (Senior Real Estate Specialist)
Independent Broker Consultants
1655 E 6th St. Ste A-1, Corona, CA, 92879
Office: 951-734-6447 - Direct: 951-545-3786
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org - Website: www.ErikaKay.com
CAL BRE #008047509