You have finally done everything right. You saved, you kept your debt level down and your credit rating up. As fate would have it, banks have started lending again, especially to first time home buyers and you just got pre-approved for that all important mortgage that will enable you to buy your very first home. It is okay to have dreams and fantasies about a grand castle with terraces from here to Timbuktu. But once the reality sets in, you know you have to seriously look and find the perfect, yet affordable, house where you and your family can finally begin making a home. With that in mind, here are some tips that will help you find that very house.
Do not underestimate the physicality of the property
After you have found the right price range and have bagged yourself the best realtor your money can buy, it is time to look at pictures of potential houses. Making snap judgments whether or not you like a house based on those images is a bit of a mistake. Yes, pictures are great and they give you a general idea of what the property looks like but never underestimate the physicality of the house itself.
You need to actually go physically and see those houses. You have to walk through them to get what kind of ‘feeling’ it will invoke in you. The pictures may not show you just how rustic the attic is or how beautiful those sliding windows are in relation to the whole building. Only when you walk through the house can you truly picture you and your family living in it.
Go out of your way to meet the neighbours
We are assuming by now you have done quite a few walk through and have narrowed your choice down to a few potential homes. One thing you should know is that the realtor is not going to tell you if there is a problem with the neighbourhood. Their job is to sell the house, not reveal problems in the area.
The best thing for you to do is walk up to the front doors next to you, knock and have a candid conversation with your neighbours. Ask them for their honest opinion about the neighbourhood and how they feel about raising children there if they have any.
Another way to gain insight on a neighbourhood is to ask people who have invested there already. In past articles, I’ve mentioned the PIN meetings of Simon Zutshi and the We Buy Houses Community Meetups of Rick Otton because these are regular monthly meetings where you can reach out to fellow investors for valuable insight. If you have time to go at least once a month, you’ll be surprised at just how much info you can gather by simply talking with fellow investors.
Apart from that, use your solicitor to find out any note-worthy incidences that might have occurred in the neighbourhood. You could also walk down to the local police station if you are anal retentive that is, and ask them about the prevailing security issues. Only when you have all the pertinent information can you decide what you can and can’t live with as far as your new neighbourhood is concerned.
Don’t get too excited
This is all about bring the price down. Once you have done all of the above and have decided on a house, giving this information away is liable to driving the price up. Play coy and cool. Let your realtor know that you are strongly considering at least three other properties and that you will get back to them with an offer. You should also expect that your very first offer will be rejected. That is how you know you are getting a good place at a good price. However, do not wait too long to make the offer. Give it 24 hours at most and remember that should it be rejected, it is the number that is being rejected, not you. So do not take it personally. Just rethink the figures and go at it again.
Do not let your excitement for buying your very first home cloud your judgment and land you in deeper debt. Take your time, make sure every duck is lined up in a neat row (well, almost every duck. It is almost impossible to get every one of them to tow the line). Once everything is done, let your head make the decision with only a touch of influence from your heart.