BUYER’S GUIDE



What would you recommend as the first step when buying a new home?

Before you start looking at homes for sale, be sure you do some “homework.” Here are some of the questions for which you’ll need answers:

Check out interest rates

What are current local mortgage interest rates for 15-year and 30-year fixed rate mortgages, and for 1-, 3- and 5-year adjustable rate mortgages?

Shop for the best loan

Which type of loan is best for you? Will you be in the house several years and benefit most from a long-term fixed rate, or do you want a lower, short-term rate because you plan to move soon or expect your income to increase rapidly over the next few years?

Determine how much house you can afford

How much of a mortgage can you qualify for? The loan amount plus your down payment tells you how much house you can afford.

Investigate neighborhood prices

What neighborhoods feature homes in your price range?

Separate needs from wants

What are your priorities for your next home? How important are public transportation, community facilities, on-street parking, lot size, privacy? How many bedrooms and baths will you need? Will you need a space for a home office? How important are quality neighborhood schools?

17 Steps to a successful first home purchase:

If you’ve decided it’s time to buy your first home, you may be a little overwhelmed about all the things you need to do and decide on. Here’s a handy list of steps you should take on the way to your new home.

1. Select a professional real estate agent

2. Investigate mortgage programs

3. Contact a reputable lender

4. Get pre-approved for a loan

5. Develop a “needs and wants” list for your house

6. Research housing inventory with your agent.

7. Tour homes

8. Pare down your choices using your “needs and wants” list

9. Write a purchase offer for the home with your agent

10. Negotiate the contract with the sellers

11. Sign the bottom line!

12. Prepare for the move

13. Hire movers; or

14. Get lots of boxes and invite all your friends to help

15. Complete final walk-through of the home

16. Attend settlement

17. Move in and celebrate!

 

What is the single most important rule in looking for a home?

While many important details must be considered in choosing your first home – style, size, price, location – one thing is certain: if you will be moving again in a few years, be sure you buy with selling in mind. Chances are, the items that make your new home a comfortable fit for you will also attract buyers later on.

Some special considerations for the first-time homeowner who has resale in mind:

  • Watch for growth potential: Look for an established neighborhood that will be enhanced by future growth but not inconvenienced by it.
  • Look out for resale value: Seek a prime neighborhood where homes sell well in any market.
  • Check out location: Consider availability of all aspects of transportation; even those you may not use.
  • Research Area Schools: Check for quality public schools, whether or not you have school-age children.
  • Go for the green: Look carefully at the lot for trees and greenery to buffer winter winds or summer heat.
  • Make room for visitors: See if ample guest parking is available for you and your neighbors.
  • Ponder privacy issues: Consider how much privacy the home and lot provide.
  • Drive the commute before you buy: Check morning and afternoon drive time to work, schools, shopping, churches.

What should I ask a prospective agent?

For novice home buyers, the first place to start is by looking for a professional to help you. An experienced real estate agent will “bind” together the entire process and help you find the right property. Best of all, your real estate agent will keep things on track from shopping to closing.

Here are some key questions to ask the agents you are interviewing:

  • Do you represent the buyer or the seller?
  • What are your fees and who pays them?
  • How much time will you have to help me look for a new home? What tasks will you perform for me as my representative?
  • How often will you communicate with me, and how can I reach you?
  • Can you refer me to some buyers you have represented recently?
  • Do you have access to the area multiple listing service, foreclosed listings and other sources of information about available homes?
  • Can you show me all the available homes in my price range, even if they are listed by another company?
  • Will you give me a comparative price analysis for any homes I am considering?
  • When to buy? When is the market good for buying property?

 

Top CIP Tips for First Time Buyers

Put yourself first. Your personal needs are of the utmost importance when it comes to buying a property. When looking to purchase a property chances are you are considering purchasing because you’re currently renting or you have some savings and you realise that you’re not getting the rent you keep paying out you won’t get back whereas you could be using the same money to invest in an asset that will provide a roof over your head. This house is something you can borrow money against. Buying property is a pivotal part of creating wealth. Think about it, what do we notice about the rich and famous? Their cars, the number of businesses they own, their house. People tend not to measure your wealth by how many shares in a company you have. They look at the number of cars you have and the type of cars. They look at the number of properties you own and that says something – it says you own assets that are valuable. Owning a house makes you a low risk client for anyone to lend money to. Owning a property not only satisfies your basic human need for shelter but it also puts you on one of the most important steps on the ladder towards creating wealth.

Consider your timing. If you are living at home, not paying rent and you’re just waiting to leave the nest, timing is not as crucial for you so save your money and buy at a time when there are more opportunities and the market is favourable. Timing the market is risky and you can never be sure. Now is a great time to buy property in Barbados without question because we are coming out of a recession period and we are going to follow (surely as we normally do) the more developed countries that are beginning to show economic growth. Hopefully if all goes well our economy will be on the rise in the next 6-12 months once we are making the right economic decisions. Property prices now are mostly where they were 6 years ago or even longer and there are tremendous opportunities available now. There are great deals available now. If you have the money now is your time to buy. Buy now and when the economy does improve, you’ll be sitting pretty.

Check out the market. One frequently asked question we get is "Who to trust? How can I tell if the price I’m being charged is a reasonable price or not?" Most people need approximately three months of looking through the market before they are ready to make a purchase. We always advise looking around the market. Even though we recommend that first time buyers especially work along with a professional real estate agent there is no harm in doing your own research and checking out the market for yourself. The more information you have, the more able and equipped you are to make the right choice.

Do your due diligence. Don’t just look around the market, pay special attention to it, ask lots of questions and compile all the information about what is going on in the market that will be valuable to you when it comes to making your decision. If someone makes an offer to you, discuss it with your trusted mentors, friends and confidantes, persons with business acumen who can advise you on whether that particular property at that price is a good investment to make or not.

Don’t buy the first property you come across. This is especially crucial for first time buyers. If you are someone who is aware of the property market and property values or if you have done homework and you have knowledge of the market, then you might be able to make an educated decision as to whether or not it’s a good deal. But if not, always get a second opinion.

After spending three months looking you should have created a certain amount of market knowledge for yourself. At this point now, who do you trust/listen to? Let the owner put forward their case – although they may have an agenda or biased opinion. An owner is hardly likely to undersell his/her property. Buyer beware. An owner is more likely to point out a property’s assets or benefits than its disadvantages. This doesn’t always mean that they’re deceitful but owners tend to have an attachment or sentiment towards a property that they have owned for quite some time and invested in. You, as the buyer, need someone who will look into the property and give a more objective opinion and make you aware of any issues the property may have.

If you know someone who is familiar with buildings, property (contractor, structural engineer) then great. But as the average house buyer you need someone whose opinion you can trust, someone who can give some insight to the property’s resale value, whether it will be a good long term investment and a safe, comfortable place to live. This is where a good real estate agent comes in. He/She should be aware of the many different types of properties, what’s in demand and what isn’t, the potential issues of a new development or existing benefits of an established neighbourhood. You should quiz the agent and he should be able to clearly point out to you the good, the bad and the ugly in any property that he is showing you or recommending to you. If he’s making a recommendation he should make clear why that property is a much better purchase than another one he had shown you or one you brought to his attention. It should make sense to you and you should completely understand how what he’s saying adds up/that his advice is good.

Remember at the end of it all you should feel confident in your decision to purchase that property. A good real estate agent can help you to do that.

 

 

 

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