Trying to find the perfect bachelor pad, waterfront home or brownstone in New York, Boston or elsewhere in the U.S. isn’t easy. It’s a time-consuming process that requires considerable hours, patience, a keen eye for what you’re truly looking for and knowing it when you see it. For people who haven’t been on this journey before, it’s a challenge to get through in one piece emotionally and financially.
Accordingly, here are some useful tips for people thinking about buying real estate.
Stay in the City for a Month or More While Looking
If you’re coming in from out of town or across the country, you need to spend time in the city. It’s not much good to do a flying visit for a weekend and try to get a good feel for the place. While you can read up about the best neighborhoods where you’re shopping for your next permanent home, it takes quite some time staying within them to get a proper feel.
A property purchase is a serious and costly investment, so choosing the right neighborhood is important. Driving around doesn’t really do it. It’s much better if you live nearby and hang out in cafés, restaurants and other places of interest. Take a bit of time with it to get a feel for the place.
In order to do this, it would be a good idea to look into serviced apartment providers such as Blueground. Blueground have these serviced apartments in Boston that have excellent furnishings, great indoor light and plenty of creature comforts. The company prides itself on offering the best apartments it can find and is gaining a strong reputation in real estate circles because of this single-minded focus. Their serviced apartments in the Boston area are a testament to that, but they also have rentals across other parts of the U.S too, including New York and Chicago.
Know Your Budget
You can approach the buying process in two different ways. It’s either knowing what your budget is for a new home and seeing what you can get for that much money, or deciding what type of home you want and then checking the price later. The first way has greater success than the second unless price is not an issue.
When a realtor is looking to find suitable real estate for you to buy, they’re best assisted by knowing how much you have available. It’s no good knowing you can spend (or borrow) up to $2m and they’re looking for places in the $2.5-3.5m range. It’s just wasting everyone’s time and likely will cause some measure of frustration over attractive homes that are out of your price range.
It’s better all round to start with a budget and go from there. You can attend open houses and private viewings based on that figure.
Figure Out the Deal Breakers
Everyone has deal breakers. These are things that you’ll absolutely say no way to when the realtor presents a house or apartment that has them. It’s very useful to think carefully about what your personal deal breakers might be. You might surprise yourself!
For instance, you might want a place on a ground floor only. Alternatively, you might be looking for a penthouse. The availability of highly-rated schools nearby could be a must-have with regards to the location of a property. How long it takes to get to your office might be another one.
Also, think about whether there will be renovations, upgrades or other improvements with the property post-purchase. This might mean the furnace needs replacing within five years or you’ll be interested in knocking through some non-bearing walls to expand the room sizes. What permissions will be required to do so, and how hard will they be to acquire?
Consider the Amenities
When considering buying an apartment in the future, what are the amenities that come with the purchase?
If an apartment is in NYC, for instance, then amenities like an elevator, doorman and security, a pool and a gym are often expected. While it might not bother you so much, if you ever come to sell the apartment later, you could find it more difficult to sell without these types of amenities that other people prefer.
There will also likely be association payments for the upkeep of the grounds, doorman and other aspects of the building’s upkeep. For NYC apartments, often the management board for the building association will need to approve you as the buyer based on your public records, credit report, etc. Association payments are in addition to property taxes to the state too.
Perhaps the most important thing to do when choosing new real estate is to take your time. While you may have to act fast to put in your best and final offer when actively seeking exactly the place you want and trying to secure it, first you must know what you’re looking for. Get that right and then start your property hunt in earnest. Not the other way around.
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