Are you thinking about buying your first home? Congratulations! You are on the cusp of an exciting new chapter in your life. For many people, becoming a homeowner is the true measure of achievement. It shows stability; that you are establishing roots. But because it is your first time, you may be slightly apprehensive. It is a big investment, after all. You do not want to get it wrong. Not to worry though. This checklist should help you navigate your purchase:
I know, I know. It sounds disingenuous. You already know what you want. A house. That’s it, right? Well, not quite. Remember, not all houses are the same – they are made with different people’s needs in mind, so, if you want to be happy with your purchase, figure out what yours are. Apartment or standalone? How many bedrooms? What features are a must have for you and your family? Is the lack of a swimming pool a deal breaker or a minor irritation? Location is also crucial and you should weigh this carefully because it affects your quality of life. Think about the amenities that you need to have around you; things like hospitals, schools, commercial centres. Consider also, accessibility, security, infrastructure and the capital appreciation of the property.
You already know that buying a house will cost you, but how much? And how will you pay for it? A loan, or, do you have some savings? Think through your monetary situation and make a plan for how to finance your home ownership dreams. It is important that you do this before you start looking so that you don’t get lost in the excitement of shopping. Otherwise, you’ll get saddled with a home you cannot afford. More importantly, in the process of figuring out the cost of your ideal home, you will be collecting information that will come in handy when you are negotiating later.
You know what you want and how much you can afford, so the next logical step is to start looking for it. You can begin by doing a quick online sweep and proceed from there. Recommendation from friends and family are also a good way to gather solid leads. Attend open houses and comb through directories for listings that might interest you. Many real estate firms arrange for weekly tours to their developments, so sign up for those. Above all, avoid paying for anything whose authenticity you haven’t verified. There are many unscrupulous agents out there. It would be advisable to attach yourself to a developer whose track record is proven. Look at developments that have been completed and handed over if you are going to buy off-plan.
When you are sure you’ve found what you are looking for, agree on payment terms. If you are a skilled negotiator, this will be a breeze for you. You and the developer should agree on a payment schedule that works for both parties. Make sure you understand all the options that the developer offers and the implications of each.
This is the last step. You are almost a home owner. How exciting! But, curb your enthusiasm just a little. Take a step back and look everything over. Are you sure about the house you have picked? Can you afford it? Are you happy about the payment plans? If the answers to all these questions are “yes,” then you are good to go. It is always prudent to have an external party – a trusted friend, or better yet, a lawyer – look over the agreement before you sign anything. Once everything is determined to be in order, close the deal. Sign the sales agreement, put down your deposit, and go collect your keys.
Welcome to the homeowners’ club.
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