A buyer’s market
With the start of the new year, the economy is showing some signs of improvement which is being reflected in the real estate market, and if home ownership is your dream, but you’ve been putting it off, because of the uncertain times, one real estate broker and appraiser says now is the time to throw in all your chips and purchase your piece of the rock.
“There is definitely more optimism in the market,”says H.G. Christie Ltd. real estate broker and appraiser Elbert Thompson.”Right now it’s a buyer’s market, and over time it will become a seller’s market again. For the buyer this means that if things continue the way they are now, within another year, the great deals and negotiability that you may have have seen in the market prices within the last two years with the recession will become more solidified as more people become financially secure and acquire more disposable income. So right now it is a buyer’s market and over time it will become a seller’s market again. So anyone looking to buy a home, right now, this is a good time to make those first steps.”
The real estate broker and appraiser says the current stage that real estate is at currently presents the perfect environment for many first time buyers to fulfill their dreams of homeownership.
If you are one of those persons, there are several steps he says you will want to take when you make up your mind to buy a home. One of the first things you want to do if you are serious about purchasing a home is to start saving the initial 10 percent that you will need as down-payment for the home you want. Even though you may not know which home you want yet, setting a reasonable price range that you can afford he says is a good start so that you can construct a plan in terms of savings.
“You need to have something in hand when you go to the bank so that they can see that you are serious and you have already been planning this. Mind you, there are other charges and taxes to consider like stamp tax and legal fees which can add up to about 8.5 percent more, but at least having the initial 10 percent is a good starting point. So, if you are looking into a property that is$100,000 then be prepared to save$10,000 and if you want something in the$300,000 range then look forward to having$30,000 at your disposal beforehand so that you have some leverage when you’re negotiating for the loan to purchase your property.”
It is also important to know your market, and having a real estate agent working with you is a good way to go because you will never really know everything that is available to you on your own. Thompson says that many homes aren’t marked or on the market publicly, which is one of the main reasons why you want to have an agent working for you in your search. The agent will not only be able to show you houses you are already interested in, but also bring other houses within your range to your attention.
“Purchasing a house is not something you do everyday so you will want to do it right, and find the best place available to you. Don’t lock on one thing you may see and assume it is the best thing. Look around with some help and you will know where to go from there.”
Thompson suggests that you have a good relationship with your realtor, and have a trusted attorney on your side who will ensure that the title is good on the property you’re looking at, and any incumbrances can be cleared without problem.
“It is also important to know what you qualify for on a loan and have financial assistance already lined up for you when you are really serious about buying a house. Another good idea is to have a house inspector check over the home so that you are aware of any problems–like bad wiring, woodwork, termites, infestations or other issues before you invest. Many people may think they are aware of what is happening and can do a lot on their own but my best advice is to let people who are qualified to do these things do it, because at the end of the day you want to make the best decision on an investment.”
Knowing which areas you can afford to look at, much less consider investing in is also essential to consider when searching for the right home.
The real estate broker and appraiser says the average home on the eastern end of the island goes for around$300,000 to$400,000 and if you opt for a gated community you can look for the prices averaging as high as$500,000. In the west, an area he says is now in high demand, the average home is priced between$450,000 to$600,000. If the home is on the waterfront, the price he says can sky-rocket to several million dollars.
Thompson says purchasing on the southern side of the island is currently the most affordable, with homes averaging 200,000 to$400,000.
On the other hand, many people prefer to build rather than purchase a home but Thompson says that before you commit to building, that you consider the pros and cons of going that route in your decision-making process.
He says while you can build to your specifications, and the home will be exactly what you want, Thompson says you have to consider that you have to purchase the land first, and still find money to build the house. And if you are the kind of person that is not willing to compromise or customize an existing building, then constructing your home is your best bet. The real estate agent says when building you will also have to deal with the endless stress of working with a contractor who may or may not work according to the schedule you want him to. He says there may also be many more hiccups along the way when building, and that you will not know what the building will look like until the end–even if you already had a clear vision in mind.
If you prefer to purchase an existing building rather than an empty lot, the real estate broker and appraiser says you are more likely to get a better deal because the property value and cost of the home are built into the price which means you won’t have to get multiple loans to buy the land and then build on it. The only hitch with this option, according to Thompson is that you have to be willing to accept the building as is and go in with the mindset that you will have to customize because it is likely not to be what you want entirely.
At the end of the day, no matter what you decide to do, you have to purchase or construct a home, taking into account what is best for you on your budget. So while you may be excited easily over the idea of owning your own home, Thompson says to be smart and wisely consider advice given to you.”You don’t buy a home everyday, so when you do it, ensure it’s a decision you are happy about and can live with,”says Thompson.