When you’re buying a property, whether your very first property or your fourth, you need to make sure you think about things as thoroughly as you did the first time around. There are many things that can affect your decision to buy a property.
Take a look at the following 15 essential things that buyers need to think about before buying a property and you should have a good idea of what to think about and what to do before you make an offer. Read on if you’re going to be buying a property any time soon:
1. Are You Thinking Long Term?
You might be dazzled by a property when you first see it, but you need to make sure you’re thinking long term. Do you plan on having kids in the future? Is there any chance you might end up caring for elderly relatives? If anything could change about your situation a few years down the line, it’s worth taking this into account before you purchase the property. Will you need extra room, or to be closer to certain amenities? Buying and selling a property is a complicated, expensive process. You can save yourself a lot of trouble by thinking about these things now.
You’ll also want to consider the resale value of your home. If you’re around bad schools or busy streets, there’s every chance that people with kids or those who plan on having them won’t bother looking at your home. You should also consider any congestion problems and things like street parking. It’ll be better for you living in the property and better for any future buyers this way. You can always check out lists that tell you where to buy the best kind of properties, like the best New York neighborhoods to buy a condo. This way you can take a lot of the hard work out of choosing a property, although you’ll still need to go and see your options in person and make sure they’re right for you!
2. Making A List Of Things To Check
Before you go out and look at properties, make a list of things to check. It’s all too easy to fall in love with properties while you’re viewing them, only to realize they have absolutely nothing you truly needed when you’ve bought it. Then you’ll be in a pickle! Make a list so you can check things off as you view properties. You could write each property out at the top of the page, and then the essentials down the left hand side. As you view, you can put a tick in a box, and then compare ticks later. You can also take photos to compare later, so you don’t have to rely on your memory.
3. Look At Every Expense When Budgeting
When budgeting for your new place, make sure you look at every expense. You need to make sure you’ve taken absolutely everything into account so that there are no nasty surprises and that you can truly afford this property.
4. Read A Contract All The Way Through
If you are given a contract, don’t just sign it without reading it. You’re probably a busy person, but skipping out chunks of the contract could leave you in big trouble. If you haven’t got time to read through the contract, get somebody else to do it for you with a fine toothed comb – like an assistant, or even a legal professional if you want to make sure that you’re not going to get stung.
5. Don’t Get Sucked In By The View
Unless you own the land between your home and the view, do not get sucked in by it and buy for the view. Any number of things can happen to ruin the view. People have lived in properties for merely a year, only to find out that the view is going to have houses built on it and there is nothing they can do. Make sure you love the property and see the view as just a bonus.
6. Save Up As Much Of A Down Payment As Possible
This is tried and tested advice, but we’re including it with good reason. You’re going to have a much better time buying a property if you save up a down payment that is as large as possible. Saving 20% is the recommended amount, and your mortgage payments should be manageable this way. You may be able to get by when you save a smaller down payment, but there are too many benefits to saving a bigger one.
7. Get Your Credit Into Tip Top Shape
Getting your credit in better shape will leave you in a better position to buy a house, if you haven’t done this already. You’ll get better mortgage/interest rates, and you’ll have an easier time taking out credit should you need it for anything else. Make sure your debts are paid off, that you pay your bills on time, and that there are no mistakes on your credit report, as they can seriously hinder you, and it won’t even be a fault of yours!
8. How Long Has The House Been On The Market?
Find out how long a house has been on the market before you make an offer. This can be very telling in terms of how desirable the house is to others, as well as any underlying problems that may be present in the house. Of course, going through the regular recommended checks will give you a good idea of whether there’s anything to worry about, but it doesn’t hurt to dig deeper and ask for questions.
9. Any Major Building Work Recently?
Another question you should ask: has there been any major building work recently, and if so, what was the reason? Will this work impact you in the future? It may be beneficial to you, but you need to be sure that it won’t be harmful to you either.
10. Why Are The Owners Moving?
It could be innocent enough, such as wanting to grow their family, to downsize, or to move for work. However, they may not like the house anymore due to persisting problems, or perhaps the neighbors throw wild parties into the night. All you can do is ask, and if you feel like you’re not being given a straight answer, you could try speaking to the neighbors yourself. Introduce yourself and tell them you’re thinking of moving to the neighborhood.
11. Is There A Chain?
It’s important to find out the motivations of the seller before you purchase a property. Have they found their next property? If so, they could want to sell their current house quickly, making them open to accepting lower offers (although you shouldn’t count on this). This means they are not part of a chain and the buying process should be easier for you.
If they haven’t found their next property, it could result in you waiting some time in a chain which can be a long and grueling process. Use the information you find out on the current owners’ situation to help inform your decision. A chain doesn’t mean you shouldn’t buy, but it can change things for you as a buyer.
12. What Is Included In The Price?
Make sure you’re absolutely certain of what will be included in the price. Will the appliances be included? How about the garden shed? Some owners even rip up the carpets when they leave, so you want to make sure you’re not going to end up in the same position before you buy!
13. Meeting Your Neighbors
We already mentioned meeting your neighbors, but it’s worth doing anyway, even if you don’t believe that the owners are moving under suspicious circumstances. As you’ll be living close to these people you’ll likely get to know them well, and you want to make sure they are the kind of people that you want to live by. You should consider visiting a property at different times of day to make sure the neighbors don’t throw wild parties or have dodgy dealings going on!
14. Local Amenities
Do you have everything you need close by? If you don’t, are there good transport links? What sort of things do you need close by to live comfortably? Shopping, food, and other amenities, or do you want to live in the peace and quiet?
15. Is There Room For Negotiation?
Finally, consider whether there’s any room for negotiation when you make an offer. Now, you don’t want to make a ridiculously low offer. You might offend the seller, and this isn’t a game. Make what you believe to be a fair offer, and don’t try to pretend that you don’t care about the property. Be a grown up about it – they will see through you.
If you consider these 15 essential things when buying a property, you should end up with the right one for you. Leave any of your own tips below!