How to avoid the nightmares of house hunting

Lynn Prins

Ever experience that excitement of going shopping for something you want? Well if you get excited about shopping, imagine how exhilarating it must be when you are house hunting for the first time.

With shelter being a basic necessity in life, many Nigerians feel the desire to own private homes and with desperation it could lead to many becoming victims of realtors.

With that being said, keep in mind that house hunting is fun, but it could also be exhausting and scary as a house is possibly one of the most expensive purchases one could make, therefore many factors have to be set in place before you make a property investment.

So where do I start?

Check out a step-by-step plan on how to get the property of your dreams

Know your budget

Make a list of what you can and cannot afford. Failing to have a budget might create some financial problems for you in the future. Not planning effectively, may result in you exhausting your finances and running the risk of landing in debt and even foreclosure.

Before buying real estate make sure you consider all costs associated with buying that property, such as transfer costs, moving costs, property taxes and most importantly, your monthly home loan payments.  Make sure the budget is realistic, achievable and indicates exactly how you intend to pay for these expenditures.

Tag along with a Real Estate Agent

Buying real estate for the first time is a complicated procedure and there is a lot you need to educate yourself on. A real estate agent provides professional knowledge and expertise on how to guide you through the buying process. Make sure you ask about the area, available amenities such as shops, hospitals and nearby schools for your children.

It is important however to take what the estate agents says with a pinch as, after all, they are also trying to make a sale. Never hold back on asking your estate agent anything and everything you require verification over.

Don’t haste the buy… get an inspection first

A house inspection is imperative when deciding on your perfect house. You need to make sure you are aware of all your property’spotential faults and quirks. Whether there is a leaky roof, outdated electrical wiring or mould, it is vital that you are aware of all problems (if any) before you decide to purchase.

Besides the piece of mind that you aware of any potential renovations that need to happen to the house, imperfections can also factor into the price and may give you some negotiating room.  

Don’t allow your emotions to control you

Emotions are a large part of searching for your new home, this is understandable. You are searching for your future haven and you want to make sure the house you buy has all the amenities you need as well as the “right feel”.

Unfortunately the “right feel” may factor into the price as hefty prices are usually assigned to properties that have little to no imperfections and are modern or updated.

Tip: Buy a house that is in the right area but needs work. It is far better to improve on the house you buy than buy a house that is modern but in a low-selling and potentially troublesome area.

Once seeing the house you love, and is in the right area, do not faun at your estate agent’s feet and say, “I must have your house!” This can result in the estate agent conveying to the owner that you are willing to pay whatever it takes to have the house. A business-like manner is imperative to get a house at a fair price.

No cash, contracts and registered real estate agents to seal the deal

When purchasing your property make sure it is with a registered real estate agent  and deposited into a bank account. This allows you to have a paper trail if something were to go awry with the seller. It is also vital, if not the first point of action, to sign a written contract and keep a copy of this for yourself. Cash be considered King in most forms of life, but documented evidence and pay receipts are King in the property world.

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