If you are in the market for a new home, there are a few ways to ensure that you make the right choice and get the home that you really want, says Adrian Goslett, Regional Director and CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa.
Preparation is key, so get ready
Before going out and looking for a property speak to your mortgage professional about your financial situation and credit history to determine your loan options. It’s important to know how much house you can afford based on your down payment and income. According to Goslett, a strong letter of pre-approval can really add to your bargaining power.
If you must sell your current home to afford a new one, consider putting it on the market before starting your search. You can often negotiate a better deal on a purchase if your property is under contract or you already have the cash in hand.
Once you have an idea of what you can afford, have a meeting with your real estate agent to discuss your needs and preferences. Also, establish the best method for your agent to send listings and communicate with you about available properties.
“A real estate agent is a great resource that buyers can use to tap into what is happening within the local property market. An agent can provide a wealth of knowledge about an area that can help you make the right decision,” says Goslett.
Homes that are in pristine condition will cost you more than a property in need of attention, but if you do consider a fixer-upper, judge structural deficiencies more harshly than cosmetic flaws.
“It can be costly to replace major components or to change the layout, but redecorating with flooring, fixtures or paint is relatively easy and sometimes offers instant equity potential,” says Goslett.
Another key aspect to consider is location. Even if the site seems perfect for you at present, think about whether it will appeal to a large pool of buyers if you should decide to sell in the future.
Next step – go for it
To write a winning offer without overpaying, look at the prices of comparable sales. “Again, a real estate agent will be a valuable resource in providing statistics and figures regarding recent sales in the area,” says Goslett. “Consider whether the property is in a high-demand area or if there is plenty of competition.
Ask your agent to find out why it is for sale and if the seller seems motivated. If you accommodate the seller’s preferred closing dates or other terms, he or she may be more flexible with the price.”
Do your due diligence
Once you have come to terms with the seller, schedule a home inspection. Many sellers expect to address issues related to safety or building codes, and additional repairs or a credit may be negotiated.
Make sure all of your questions or concerns regarding the home’s condition are answered through the inspection process.
“With the right preparation and research, you will be able to get the right home for you and your family,” Goslett concludes.