Buying property requires a lot of forethought, and carefulness when you’re going through the process. It’s an expensive thing to do, and for most people, it’s the most they’ll ever spend on a single asset. By the time you’ve paid off your mortgage, you will likely have paid hundreds of thousands towards it. In addition to the property itself, the journey of buying a property can be very expensive, making it more difficult to become a property owner. Whether you’re getting your first home or perhaps buying property to rent out, saving as much money as you can is important. Fortunately, there are plenty of tricks and tips you can follow to make sure you don’t overspend.
Research the Market – Buy at the Right Time and Place
Before you launch your search for a new property, it’s worth being familiar with the current state of the housing market. Are house prices up or down? What sort of properties are most popular, and where can you find them? Buying at a certain time or even looking for your property in a particular place can make a difference to how much you spend on buying a home. The first cost to think about is always going to be the price of the property because you need to consider how much you can afford to pay each month for the next however many years.
Choosing Your Lender and Mortgage
A few people have enough money that they’re able to buy a property using cash. But even the richest people will often take out a mortgage on a property to spread the cost of buying it. Finding the right lender and choosing the best mortgage for you is an essential step to take before you get too into looking for properties. You need to get pre-approval on a mortgage so that you know how much you have to spend. Shopping around for a mortgage and comparing interest rates isn’t something you should rush. You should try to take it slowly and give yourself enough time to really think.
When you’re looking for a mortgage, you need to consider more than just interest rates. It’s important to look at how much you’ll pay each month, and the total amount you’ll pay back. In addition, you should know whether there are any extra fees if you want to make early payments in an attempt to pay the mortgage off quicker. Other fees are often involved in securing the mortgage too, so you need to be aware of the charges you might have to pay.
Another thing to remember if you’re trying to save money on a property is that you don’t have to aim for borrowing the highest amount possible. The bank might be willing to lend you a lot more than you need, and you don’t have to take that much, especially for your first property. A smaller mortgage could be paid off sooner and could be an option if it’s enough to buy you a suitable property.
Compare Quotes for All Services
When you buy any type of property, be it a home or commercial property, you’re likely to use a variety of services. You might choose to do some things on your own, but there are other jobs you need a professional for. Hiring someone to do a property inspection or to sort out any legal matters is a necessity, as you can’t do either of those things yourself. However, even if you need to use these services, you can still try to save some money. Before you decide which professional you’re going to use, you should collect some quotes and get some examples of how much it might cost you. Of course, you also have to weigh up the price of the service with the quality. If you pay too little, you could end up paying again for someone to do the job better.
Make Savings on Taxes
When you buy property, some taxes are unavoidable, and you have no control over how much they cost. However, there are other taxes you might have influence over, especially if you’re buying property as a business. One way to pay less in tax is obviously to look for cheaper properties, but that’s not always an option. If you’re buying commercial property, it’s well worth speaking to an accountant about how they might be able to help you save money. They can help property businesses to find the most efficient tax structure, and help to save on income tax and capital gains tax. Accountants can also help you plan for inheritance tax.
Consider a Fixer-upper
A lot of people think about buying a property that needs a bit of work to try and save money. Others would much rather buy an asset that doesn’t require any updating before it can meet their needs. If you’re hoping to save money, buying property that needs to be renovated in any way could help you. However, it’s not always the right choice, so it’s something you need to consider carefully. If you have to spend too much on updating the property, it could wipe out any money you managed to save. Plus, if you’re hoping to make rental income from the property, any time spent working on it is time when you’re not bringing in any money. If it’s a residential property, you might end up spending more money on staying elsewhere while you fix things up.
Learn to Haggle
Haggling is a skill that some people take to naturally, but others can find it difficult to master. When you’re buying property, it can be particularly useful to help you save money. You can haggle on various things, from the price of the property to any services you might use in the buying process. There are some costs you don’t have much control over at all, so you might as well try to influence the expenses you do have some control over. The cost of the property itself is clearly the biggest one, and you can try to discuss things like any improvements that could be included in the price (or could be a reason for the price to be reduced).
Save on Looking for Tenants
If you’re looking for a property that you’ll rent out, whether it’s residential or commercial, you’ll also need to look for tenants once the property is yours. You might prefer to find ways to save on your search, as you might include any costs in the expense of buying your property. While you can get help to find the perfect tenants, many landlords prefer to find someone themselves to keep the costs down. There are several places where you can advertise privately, both online and offline.
Remember the Risks
Before you dive into buying any property, it’s important to make sure you’re aware of any potential risks. Being sure that you know what could go wrong is a definite way to help you save money, or at least avoid losing more than you need to. It’s important to remember that there is always the risk of a potential purchase falling through at the last minute, which can mean you’ve essentially lost money you might have spent on surveys or other things for that particular property. The best thing to do is prepare for these costs, so they don’t take you by surprise.
Buying property is expensive, but you can still avoid paying more money than you need to. Be prepared to take the right financial approach.
Who Is The Real Estate Agent Working For?
Dealing with a listing agent, either as a vendor selling a property, or as a prospective buyer, keen to purchase, can be challenging and stressful.
So how do you find out who the real estate agent is working for, and how can you protect your interests in the property?
In this article, we will look at your options as a vendor selling your home and also what you can do as a prospective purchaser.
What you may not know is not all real estate agents are honest some go rogue, and work outside the rules at their client’s expense.
Over the years, agents have been reported to authorities, for all sorts of dodgy activity. The most common include: encouraging vendors to sell their property for less than market value and persuading motivated buyers to pay more for a property than it’s worth.
When you’re the vendor who has engaged the Agent, most likely you believe you’ve chosen well and your agent is working for you not a prospective purchaser so it would be a shock to learn otherwise.
In most situations this is the way it works, however not always and too often the agent’s own personal agenda gets in the way of doing the right thing and playing the rules.
Property market conditions can and do change the motivations of all parties involved in property sales.
Therefore as the Vendor you need to make sure you have gone the extra mile in your agent selection process. Where the market is in the property cycle does impact on the well-being of the agents and their actions accordingly.
In a buoyant property market, sales prices are rising, and there are lots of listings, therefore even the less successful agents can make a living during this phase. This usually means they’re not desperate for the sales commission, so arguably you can probably escape a bad deal being done during the boom.
In a slump there are generally less property listings as property owners hold until the market turns and they can get a better price. Agents that are less successful can go weeks if not months with a sale and it’s during the tough times that desperation can make some people take extraordinary risks. Vendors need to know markets can change quickly, so it’s your job to choose your agent and their agency wisely.
Do your research on the agent and their agency every time you sell a property. Ask better questions when you’re interviewing them. Seek to learn what they are good at, how they plan to market and sell your property. What you’re looking for is non standard sales speak. They should also have come prepared so they can show you their success with selling properties similar to yours.
Most important is sounding out their knowledge of the market’s phase in the property cycle and their specific local knowledge of listings and sales. Here are a few questions:
- How well do they know their area and what’s happening in it?
- When did they last sell a property similar to yours?
- How long did it take?
- What could be done to shorten the time your property is on the market?
Strategy and Plan
Finally as a vendor, make sure the agent’s goals for your house sale align with your own. An agreement needs to be reached between you and the agent on the condition of your property, and the expected sales price. Agents may suggest some cosmetic work, to modernise or refresh the property. Painting walls, home staging and maybe landscaping to create a welcoming entrance.
Condition of the property
At the same time the agent should be able to give you a guesstimate on how much you need to spend and how much more profit is likely to achieve due to the investment. Of course you’re not going to hold them to it and you’d get quotes from the service providers doing the work, but this extra input does separate the good from the average or extraordinary from the ordinary.
Understand how your home will be marketed, both offline and online. Review the marketing copy and photos, and make sure it’s what you expect from it. Remember the plan is to get your home sold, in good time for the right price.
Prospective Purchaser Relationship
From a purchaser’s prospective it’s best to assume the listing Agent is working for the vendor not you. Their commission comes from the property sale and it is the vendor that has chosen the agent over his or her peers. This doesn’t mean you’ll have no influence, remember the property cycle does change how an Agent may interact with purchasers. Quieter times call for a different approach therefore know where the market is in the property cycle.
What happening in the area you are looking to buy a property? Not all cities or regions are in the same phase of the property cycle.
Property sales prices can be going upwards in one city (boom phase) and dropping in another area (slump phase). So it’s important to know what’s happening where you’re looking to buy as well as have a broader view of the national and global environment. Consider everything that may change the stability of the house price so you can purchase well.
Property Sales Analysis
‘Knowledge is power’ and you can use it before you deal with listing agents.
Do your research before you find the home you want to buy.
The more you understand the local area and recent sales activity as well as what’s on the market for sale; the easier it is, to make sure you pay the right price irrespective of whom you deal with as part of the sales process.
Buying a home is a big ticket item so it’s not the time to be seen as a novice. Yes, it may be your first home purchase but you can be confident when you know what’s happening.
Finally, always seek professional legal advice and it’s always a good idea to communicate with your accountant too before you sign an agreement to buy a property.
Being a vendor or a buyer is no guarantee you’ll be on the right side of a property deal.
The more you know about the property market, and your own circumstances, the more confidence you will have in making the right decision. The aim is to avoid asking the question: Did my agent just rip me off?
Top Reasons to Move to Texas
Texas is a great state to live in for many reasons. If you are in the process of deciding which state you’d like to live in and are weighing all your options let this article help. One of the main things you will learn is the cost of living in Texas is still relatively inexpensive compared to other parts of the USA.
Ross Quade owner of Austin based New Listing Alert.com explains, “Texas has some wonderful opportunities for people looking to relocate. A good real estate professional can help match the best neighborhoods with your budget.”
The economy in Texas is sizzling. Texas is still producing lots of jobs, and the unemployment rate is currently at 3.7% which is near the lowest ever. Construction and the financial sectors are reliable indicators of the overall job marketed in Texas. The Midland area of Texas has one of the lower unemployment rates in all of Texas so if you are looking to relocate that is one area you should consider.
Is there better food on the planet than in Texas? Whether it is Tex-Mex or BBQ, the great state of Texas delivers. Places like Franklin Barbecue in Austin and Lockhart Chisholm Trail BBQ in Lockhart are Texas traditions. People wait in long lines just for a chance to eat and these places.
Throughout the state, there are plenty of good spots to eat at. In Texas, you don’t need a list because every city and town has one to two go-to locations. Some of these are what you’d call a hole in a wall.
State Income Tax
There are seven states within the United States that have no personal income tax. This is a huge advantage especially for those that make a considerable amount of money. Compare that to states like California where the average state income tax is 6% with the top end of 12%. As you can see moving to Texas from California would nearly pay for your mortgage alone.
Over the past seven years, the price of land in Texas has been going up. The good news is Texas has plenty of land and on the overall scale of things, the price for the land is still relatively low. On average the total cost of the land for a house is around 20%. This varies from city to city but as you can see the land is still very affordable.
Lots of Activities
No matter where you live in Texas there are so many activities you can do and most all within a day trip. Some of the more popular destinations are the Riverwalk in San Antonio, the Space Center in Houston, the Texas State Capital in Austin, and the world-famous Forth Worth Zoo.
If sports are more your thing, there are major sports franchises located near all the large cities. Football is by far the number one watched sport in Texas. Many support their hometown high schools whether they have kids playing or not. The NFL has two major teams with The Cowboys and the Texans.
If you are more of a basketball fan, you have three NBA teams in the Houston Rockets, San Antonio Spurs, and the Dallas Mavericks.
In addition to sports teams, you can find plenty of hiking, camping, fishing, and other outdoor activities in Texas.
How To Buy A Property In Slovenia
Is visiting Slovenia on your bucket list?
This Balkan country is known for its beautiful mountains, with ski resorts, lakes, and ancient architecture. It’s no longer the best kept secret of Europe and many visitors go a step further, and buy a home for their own use exclusively or to use for their holidays and when not in use, rent out on platforms like AirBnB.
While many countries are tightening the rules around home ownership by offshore residents, in Slovenia, it’s not such an ordeal. They’re still welcoming the offshore investment and hence it’s a popular country for homeowners and also tourist now there’s a lot more accommodation available.
Buying A Property In Slovenia Made Easier
In 2004, Slovenia joined the EU, and it meant EU citizens had equal rights to home ownership as its countrymen. In addition to its members there are three other countries that get the privilege.
Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway are not in the EU but they’re part of the European Economic Agreement or EFTA and this membership allows its citizens the same equal opportunities as their EU neighbours, including freedom of travel, improved residence and employment terms.
With more movement of people, Solvena’s property has been in hot demand, and not just from EU residents but also from citizens of other countries, many as far away as Australia and New Zealand.
Displaced citizens and their descendants, mainly due to the world wars have been keenly researching their ancestral lines to find a way to secure the many benefits of a EU passport. EU member, Lativa was very successful with hundreds of exiles and their descendants secured dual citizenship, which has in turn opened up the treasure trove of the EU, including the purchase of real estate.
Foreigners can also get their pocket of land in Slovenia when they can prove there’s a reciprocal beneficial interest e.g. prove a Slovenian citizen can buy property in country X, then the citizens of country X can also buy property in Slovenia as well.
And if that doesn’t work the next way in is to have a business in Slovenia or be married to a Slovenian national.
As the saying goes: Where there’s a will there’s a way. 🙂 It pays to understand the process and make sure you’ve got all the paperwork required. Property transactions and the legalities vary in all countries. Get legal advice and contact your team of locally based advisors so you know where you stand before signing a real estate sale and purchase agreement.
The Attraction of Slovenia
Slovenia is considered a safe country. In fact it’s one of the safest in Europe. It has a strong growing economy and stable modern democracy. These are the conditions that appeal to entrepreneurs keen to grow startups. With more business, there will be more demand for workers and no shortage of interest. Accommodation is key to house a growing population, so investment in property and business is a must. Solvenia is definitely ‘open for business’.
The natural landscape and architecture is similar to its neighbour, Austria. The country also borders, Hungry, Croatia and Italy.
Move Where? 4 Key Factors to Help You Figure Out How to Decide Where to Live
Moving regularly ranks as one of the most stressful life events a person can experience.
No matter how excited you might be to start over in a new place, chances are you’re also experiencing a lot of anxiety surrounding your move. For example, you might be wondering how you’re supposed to choose the right place to live.
Finding the right location is essential if you’re going to be happy in your new home. Not sure if you’re making the right decision?
Here are some factors you should consider when you’re trying to figure out how to decide where to live.
How to Decide Where to Live
Whether you want to move to a new city or across the country, there are lots of things to take into account when choosing the location of your new home.
Here are some of the most important things to consider:
1. Tax Burden
There’s a lot of variety in tax rates (and not just property tax rates) depending on which stay you choose to call home.
For example, some states, like Alaska and Oregon, do not charge sales tax. Other states, including Texas, Wyoming, and Washington, do not collect individual income taxes.
If you want to reduce the amount of money you pay each year in taxes, you might want to consider moving to one of these states.
2. Job Opportunities
Of course, you also need to make sure you’ll have opportunities to work in your new city or state.
Before you make a decision, spend some time researching the job markets in the area you’re considering. Take into account differences in salary in different locations, too.
3. Crime Rates
Nobody wants to live in an unsafe area.
Research the crime rates in the state, city, and neighborhood you’re considering before deciding whether or not it’s a good fit for you.
There are lots of online resources that let you look up the number of crimes that have occurred in a particular area, as well as the type of crimes that took place.
4. Cost of Living
Last, but certainly not least, you’ll need to take the cost of living in a particular area into account.
Will your current salary allow you to live comfortably? What kind of house or apartment will you be able to afford? How much do things like gas, groceries, and electricity cost in this new area?
Consider all these factors before you decide whether or not you can afford to live in a specific city.
Find Your Dream Location Today
As you can see, there’s not exactly a simple answer when you’re trying to figure out how to decide where to live. But, if you keep these essential factors in mind, you’ll likely find the process to be a lot easier.
Do you need more help planning your big move? Are you unsure of what to look for in a home or how to get the best price on a house?
Whatever information you need, we’ve got it covered in the buy section of our blog. Whether you want to buy a condo or a multi-family home, check out this section for all kinds of helpful advice.
My First Home: 7 Things You Need to Know About Buying a House for the First Time
It’s part of the American dream: the perfect house.
But if you spend every night thinking, “I can’t wait to buy my first home!” don’t go out and purchase quite yet.
There are a few things you need to know before you jump off the deep end and invest in the house you’ve always dreamed of. Here are 7 things to keep in mind if you’re a first-time home buyer.
1. Ask If You’re Ready to Buy
Before you call a single real estate agent, you need to ask yourself one simple question: are you ready to buy your first house?
To be clear, just because you can buy a house doesn’t mean you should buy a house.
First things first: take a long, hard, honest look at your finances.
For example, do you have the money for a down payment? Or rather, do you have the money to realistically afford a down payment in your area?
Examine your monthly expenses and determine whether it’s cheaper for you to continue as you are or to make mortgage payments.
Also, take a look at your neighborhood. Are you ready to move to a new neighborhood, either because your current one is going downhill or because the cost of living is too high?
Finally, take a look at why you want to buy. Are you truly committed to buying a house, or do you just want to live somewhere new?
2. Start Saving Early
If you do think you’re ready to buy a house, then the best thing you can do is start saving early.
Some homebuyer programs allow for a down payment as little as 3%, but you should aim to make a down payment around the common amount of 20%.
Here’s the thing: while a lower down payment might seem cheaper initially, you may deal with higher insurance rates, and you’ll have to pay a higher mortgage amount.
If you need ideas, tinker with this down payment calculator to figure out a goal down payment.
You should also look into other financing options in the meantime. For example, this Great Start Grant QLD is a great option for first-time homebuyers in Queensland.
3. Get Approved for a Mortgage First
The right mortgage can seriously reduce your stress when buying a house. Alternately, the wrong one can make your home buying process a living nightmare.
With that in mind, get approved for a mortgage before you start shopping. This will give you a clear idea of the maximum sum you can afford when shopping for a house.
That said, use the mortgage as the upper limit of your budget. Remember, a smaller mortgage means you’ll own your home faster, so you want to keep your mortgage lower if you can manage it.
4. Decide on Location versus Space
Once you’re approved for a mortgage, it’s time to start looking for a house.
But before you get excited, consider what your priorities are.
Let’s say you have a choice between a house in an area you love or a house that’s larger and cheaper but further away from your favorite haunts. How do you decide?
Think about whether you care more about proximity or the space itself. If you figure this out in advance, you can make informed decisions about where you make an offer and what homes you’re genuinely interested in.
5. Consider Your Long-Term Plans
You should also consider your long-term plans before making an offer on a home.
For most people, buying a house is the single largest investment they will ever make in their lives. You want to make sure you make the right one.
Are you planning on staying in your current job? How secure is your current job? How long do you plan to live in this area? Do you plan on getting married? What about children or pets?
If you’re not sure this is the house for you in five to seven years, then keep looking.
6. Buy the House You Know You Can Afford
Along similar lines, invest in a home you know you can afford.
Remember, this is most likely the largest purchase you’ll ever make. So buy a house you know you can afford, not the house your mortgage company thinks you can afford.
Your approved mortgage amount is the uppermost limit of what you can afford to buy. Ideally, you should go for a home well below that actual sum.
That way, if your job changes, or you lose your job, or any of life’s many unexpected roadblocks occur, you can still afford to make your monthly mortgage payments without stressing over every penny.
7. Use a Trusted Real Estate Agent
The thought of working with a real estate agent might drive you nuts. The thing is, your home search will be much more stressful without one.
Think about all of the searching that goes into finding a single home. It takes hours of digging to find exactly the right fit for you, on top of finding the time to see the house, check for any issues, and figure out whether the asking price is worth it.
Chances are, you have a full-time job and a life to worry about. A real estate agent looks for houses as their profession. They know what they’re doing, and they know how to separate a great house from a money pit.
Once you’ve found one, here are a few tips to make the most of them.
Buying My First Home, Made Easy
If your dreams have included the words “buying my first home” for years, we’re here to help make that dream a reality.
Check out our blog for more helpful posts like this one to help you find and maintain the house of your dreams, like these five things you need to check during your property inspection.
How to Live Luxe in a Small Apartment
Depending on the city you live in or what your budget is, a small apartment might be your only option for housing. But just because your place is particularly petite, doesn’t mean you can’t live luxuriously. Whether it’s picking the perfect environment for you or strategically decorating, there are plenty of ways to turn your flat into a lavish escape.
Find the Right Place
The first order of business to live luxe is to find the apartment most fitting for you. Without enjoying the area or the style of the complex, you won’t have the motivation to spruce it up. Websites such as Buy Melbourne Apartments allow you to search in certain areas of cities to find available units . They even have advanced search options to narrow the selections down to your specifications. Being happy where you live is the most crucial part to living a comfortable life. The website also provides useful tips for apartment owners and occupiers, like the article on how to declutter your apartment.
With a new apartment comes new décor to fill it with! Decorating with accent pieces like sparkly pillows or an exquisite rug give that sense of luxury we all want. Hanging floor to ceiling curtains draw attention to the height of the room while giving the illusion of taller windows. Sheer curtains (or none at all) are recommended to flood the unit with natural light and draw the eye towards outside.
Be sparse when hanging decorations on the walls. It can look cramped with too many pictures or knickknacks. Avoiding clutter at all costs is important in keeping your apartment looking as big and luxurious as possible. In the case that you do have things laying around, organize them in a fashion that is pleasing the the eye and looks like it is meant to be there.
The furniture you have in the space and how it is positioned can make a huge difference in appearance. If you put your tables, couch, and shelving against every wall to maximise room, it could end up backfiring and looking crowded. Pushing the furniture out will add depth to the area, making it feel larger.
Living luxe might mean having an abundance of furnishings for many purposes, but in a small apartment how is that going to fit? Multifuctional furniture is your answer. There are plenty of secret storage and transforming pieces on the market. Getting a coffee table that doubles as a safe, bed frame that has drawers underneath, or convertible dining table will save space and add a unique aspect to your home.
Deciding on what colours to paint the walls will be a decision that majorly effects the mood of the room. Light and neutral colours reflect sunlight while dark hues absorb it. Not only are simple coloured walls trendy, but they also make the apartment feel roomy and inviting. As for the dark colours, if you are feeling brave enough try painting the ceiling. The dark contrasts with the light on the walls and draws your attention upwards, leaving an impression of depth and high ceilings.
When we think of every detail of luxury we think of elegance and cleanliness. Maintaining a consistent colour scheme throughout the house will help bring those concepts to life. Paint your walls and trim variants of the same colour and then match your furniture accordingly. If these things do not match, the contrast can make the actual size of the room prominent.
Just because you live in a small apartment does not mean luxury has to be sacrificed. Finding the right furniture and layout companied with colours to compliment the space can make all the difference.
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