Three top tips when shopping for a house
House sellers and property agents will always aim for a fast home sale, so they will typically place great pressure on prospective buyers. Faced with such aggressive sales, many buyers will lose their focus and buckle under pressure. However, our three tips below will ensure that this never happens to you.
Write a list
When you go for your monthly grocery shopping, you will usually prepare a list of things to buy, right? After all, you can’t possibly be expected to remember the dozens of things you need to get. Why should it be any different when you’re buying a house, especially considering how much more expensive it would be?
With a list in hand, you will know exactly the type of house you want and how much you are willing to spend. Among the things you should list are maximum price, number of rooms, location, and square footage. This list will help you tremendously.
Choose the right property agent
Finding a trustworthy and well established agent is the next item on your agenda. Don’t work with an agent just because he or she is a relative or friend – you’re making the most expensive purchase in your life, so you need to have the best agent in your corner.
Use internet search engines to look for agencies that specialise in specific regions. Agents who are exceptionally familiar with local neighbourhoods will instantly know the best deals around, the structural and cosmetic conditions of homes, and the closest public amenities that families might need – all useful details that your realty agent cousin won’t know.
Read the online profiles of shortlisted agents, and look up any reviews left by their former clients. Where possible, speak to previous clients to gain an insight into the character of the agent. A trustworthy agent can save you money and potential heartache, so it pays to find a good agent.
How to view a house
Many potential buyers think house viewings entails just a short, single visit to a house. And once they arrive, many would just wander aimlessly around the house while asking soft questions. That’s the wrong strategy to employ, and will likely lead to future dissatisfaction.
A house viewing should start a day before the appointed date. Drive to the house and around the area. Inspect the external appearance of the house, gate and surrounding landed area. Check out the neighbours for any red flags – you don’t want to be dealing with troublesome neighbours after moving in. Keep an eye out for run down houses as well, as these could impact the current and future value of the house. Thereafter, drive around the neighbourhood to observe the road condition and traffic pattern. Visit the cited amenities such as supermarket, school and public swimming pool to determine the quality, as well as the actual driving distances. If the neighbourhood doesn’t impress you, then what’s the point in coming for a viewing?
When going viewing, ask for a friend to come along. Your friend won’t be emotionally invested in the house, so they will be able to provide an objective opinion. Check the walls, roof, plumbing, gas and wiring. Test out as many pipes, knobs, switches, etc. and make a note of the defective ones. Your note should also include any small repairs that needed to be done, such as broken window panes, cracked tiles and peeling paint. These notes will be useful to determine the repair cost once you move in.
Finally, do not, under any circumstances, make an offer after just one visit, regardless of how many people are allegedly interested in the house. You need time to digest and process all the information first. You might even need to make a second or third viewing before reaching a decision. Besides, waiting usually leads to a stronger bargaining position.