5 Key Points All Home Buyers Should Know!

5 Key points all home buyers should know!

When looking to purchase a house or a condo there are 5 key issues that home buyers should be aware of and really think though. By doing so you will eliminate some of the stress of home buying along with ensure the property you have bought is not only a good investment but an investment that you can comfortably hold onto for years to come.

1. Short Sales vs. Standard Sales. Really do your homework when you are looking to purchase a home or condo. Do not start your search only looking for short sales and foreclosures, keep your opinions open by including regular sales. Sometimes a standard sale can be a bigger deal than a short sale. Homeownership comes with many expenses along with many unforeseen expenses, so don’t just look at the purchase price and make a decision based off that. Inquire about the age of the appliances, quality of materials, age of plumbing, A/C units, roof and other high priced expenses, that if they break, you will be paying for them.

We had a client who purchased a short sale (because they were adamant about the ‘deal) and prior to moving in they had to redo the roof, refurbish the floors and landscape the yard. Finally having moved in, they formally met their neighbors when they knocked on their door one morning informing my clients that their waste pipe had split, dumping all my clients waste in the neighbors yard.

Whilst you can never predict every issue that you may have with a house or condo, you want to try to limit the number of issues that may arise (especially within the first few years of ownership) and sometimes buying the slightly more expensive, well maintained property is the better long term investment.

2. Split your wish list from your non-negotiables. You won’t always find everything you want in a single home or condo but recognizing what can and cannot be changed can mean the difference between buying your dream home and eventually settling through frustration and tiredness. From expecting a $500,000 house on a $200,000 budget to couples refusing to even look at a home if the kitchen cabinets were not the color they preferred, trust us when we say we’ve seen it all. So when we say that no matter your budget, and honestly, no matter your budget, your home search in Los Angeles will have to include some compromises, you’re better off establishing what your non-negotiables are and what your wish list comprises of before you start your search, so you do not risk losing out on your perfect home because of one minor issue you refused to overlook.

3. Recognizing the value of a property. Buying the one remodeled unit in an old, run down building. Location & Building/neighborhood more important than the unit (house itself). When it comes down to resale value, upgrades do little to boost your property value. Comparable condos and houses in the neighborhood and an average sales price per square foot are ultimately what will determine the value of your property. So before you get swept away by hardwood floors and granite countertops look at the landscaping and general upkeep of the houses and buildings around you. If you can, check out other units in the same complex and make sure you are not buying the diamond in the rough.

4. Making the decision. Buying a home is not an impulse decision, that being said, don’t wait too long deliberating the pros and cons and loose the property. I’ve had clients who make snap decisions even against my advise and half way through escrow they are backing out of the deal because the house or condo is just not what they ultimately want. Conversely, I’ve had clients that have also waited so long to make a decision that we’ve lost out on properties that were absolutely perfect for them because they just couldn’t pull the trigger. Which then acts as an even bigger problem moving forward because every home or condo viewed now is instantly compared to the ‘perfect’ place that got away. Make sure you arm yourself with every tool you need when you decide to buy a house or condo and when you start your search treat with some importance, if you see a place you think will work for you, but you want to see a couple of comparisons first, either arrange to see the comparisons the next day or submit an offer first then arrange to see your comparison properties (there are a number of clauses in the offer that will allow you to back out if something better presents itself).

5. Know your maximum budget. Honestly and truly, work out where your comfort level is and stick with it. Home ownership comes with many more responsibilities than renting. If you are buying a single family home budget for those unforeseeable expenses that are undoubtably going to pop up, (plumbing repairs, roof repairs etc.). Even if you live in a condo, along with your mortgage payments (if applicable) still remember to budget in home and contents insurance, a home warranty program (an absolute must for any homeowner, see post here for full information), property taxes and HOA dues and also put money aside for any unforeseeable issues inside the unit and any HOA special assessments.

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