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Your Guide to Looking at Properties

Shopping for a home is similar to any other high-ticket item, buyers need to know what they want and then be able to make valid comparisons before they buy. Considering the statistics that well over six million properties are marketed every year in America the need to prioritize and have specific goals in mind is very important. Property markets are often in constant flux, what is available or reasonably priced today, may not be tomorrow or next week. First time, or novice investors, are encouraged to educate themselves to their current local markets and housing trends of the past, and they should also seek the guidance of local professionals who know the markets in question.

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What Exactly Do You Want in a Home?
One of the first tasks at hand for home buyers is to determine, and list, what their specific needs and hopes are for a property. This not only narrows the focus, but it also prevents them from comparing apples to oranges, and further complicating their search. It is important to be as specific as possible, and not over simplify the list of needs.

After determining the budget, pick a design or style of home that suits you. Know what type of neighborhood you want to be in, how large of a property it should be, and what is affordable in regard to the on-going basic monthly overheads. Taxes, insurance, energy/fuel costs and maintenance are only some of the considerations before you. Buying a home is just the first step; the second is keeping it in good condition. Prioritizing will not only help you pick and choose, it helps set the tone when all of your criteria are not met. Knowing before hand which listed items are most important will prevent you from possibly making the wrong purchase simply because you ‘love’ one particular feature that is really not one of your predetermined basic ‘must haves’. Hypothetically, sacrificing an amenity or two at purchase time, let’s say for a better location, could possibly come to haunt you when its time to sell. Long term, as well as short-term needs must be included in your list if you are to be successful real estate investors.

Being well organized during the search process will also help with the final determination to buy. One method of keeping tracking of all the properties that you look at is to create a spreadsheet of the prioritized list and the properties viewed. The simplicity of this type of visual can help one to see the choices in black and white, as it were, and once again create more focus on the desired goal.

What Should Be Considered When Choosing?

The old adage, location, location, location, doesn’t only apply to commercial real estate. If it is your intention to sell at a later date, having the best location possible is primary to the investment process now. Also knowing which types of designs sell better than others is beneficial. For instance, two bedroom condos appreciate more than one bedroom, and homes that have more than 2 bedrooms and one bath almost always sell faster than the smaller ones. Being a bit conventional is also a smart investment. The market is always kinder to homes that fit the neighborhood mold. Having the only unique or different property within an area can make it a slow mover. Whether it is the design, style or price range, if it differs greatly from the norm, it can become a problem to turn over. After all, anyone who will be looking to purchase your investment will have undoubtedly gone through a similar process as you are now, and would not want to make the same mistake in judgment.

Average homebuyers have many of the same needs and desires. The proximity and quality of schools, public services and safety, are all valid concerns shared by most folks. Is the neighborhood an established one or is it still growing? These are two of the more important considerations, as well as the proximity to public transportation. When investing, also consider what future investors may be looking for, too.

When doing the legwork, be as thorough as you can. Many valuable resources exist that were not available just a few years ago. As you know, the Internet is at your disposal. Knowing the local values and past trends is crucial, also knowing the people who will be assisting you is also important. Make certain that the person showing you a property is the listing agent because they will have the

most comprehensive and up-to-date information available, and probably work the hardest for you. They should know how long a property has been listed, and if it is a slow mover they should know why. They should also be able to tell you how many others have looked at and made offers on a property, and why a sale was not made, if that is the case. Knowing why a house is listed is also important. If the current owners are leaving because of the property itself, rather than personal reasons, you need to know exactly why. And last but not least, an agent must know what the present comparative value is of the property in question.

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