Once you have determined that you want take action on buying a property and you have decided what type of property you want, you have to figure out the next two parts viz. location and budget. At this stage itself you can decide that you are going to can save yourself many hours of time and effort by approaching a real estate agent at this point of time. A competent and experienced real estate agent knows the neighbourhood like the back of his hand and knows what properties are available where along with price ranges and desirability of the neighbourhood apart from it’s many pros and cons.
But a Realtor can only help you to the maximum if you yourself are sure of what you want. Going to a real estate agent without knowing your preferences and requirements can make the agent push their own preferences on you. Real estate agents including our own agency always have a large number of not-so-great properties in our listing pool that we want to get rid of on behalf of sellers! You don’t want us to guide you to where we want you to buy.
We all know the value of Location and are all familiar with the phrase – location, location, location! In the world of real estate buying and selling, location can mean different things. For example, a store at a busy arterial commercial street has a more valuable location than a shop inside a lane on a residential neighbourhood. However an apartment situated at a noisy junction is far less desirable than one in a quiet residential neighbourhood.
Location also refers to the neighbourhood. All properties in a neighbourhood undergoing gentrification (developing into a classier neighbourhood) are likely to see an increase in their value. Though the rate of gentrification is rarely something you can count on. Investors may have to own a property for more than a decade as the neighbourhood slowly and definitely improves over time.
As far as neighbourhoods are concerned you may feel more confident buying a home in one neighbourhood over another. Follow your instincts. Many other things also come into play at this time. Things such as whether you intend to live in the property or whether you have school-going children will influence your buying decision. You have to settle these questions ahead of time rather than consult your real estate agent about these aspects. Also remember that the factors that influence your choice of location will vary as you analyze the four types of properties that one can generally buy as discussed in the previous article (read here) – first home, trade up home, vacation home and rental property.
Know Thy Neighbourhood
Most of us know our own neighbourhoods in great detail but can hardly find our way around in an adjacent neighbourhood. It is but natural that the places that we know the most intimately are the places where we and our family have chosen to live, work and play. We may not have the time nor the inclination to see other places. Come to think about it you may not even be aware of how little you know about the town or city you live in! You have definitely heard people say, “The last time I was here there was a field here!” or “I never saw this building coming up!” Indeed large tracts of housing and commercial developments seem to come up into existence almost overnight! As a house hunter you may need to expand your horizons by doing a bit of exploration. And a good and trusted real estate agent can be a huge help to you at this point of time.
Once agents know their clients’ preferences and what they can afford to spend, the agent can then simplify the search process by omitting out neighbourhoods that do not meet your criteria. If you are an investor looking for good appreciation the agent will tell you about which happening areas have passed their peak and which areas are still good for investment. The real estate agent will also know why prices seem really low in some areas for reasons such as pollution, highway planning, criminal activity, corruption etc. A lot of buildings go for sale by builders in cities like Mumbai without getting an OC (Occupation Certificate) and some new residential towers are caught up in legal disputes. A good real estate agent will immediately inform you about the problem areas and buildings to avoid and the good areas and residential buildings to buy in. Your real estate agent can be a unique source of many different kinds of knowledge that can save you a lot of time, money and heartburn in the future!
When your Realtor observes that you have a clear goal and objective in mind and a serious buyer then he / she will not waste much time showing you properties that you may not buy. Competent agents quickly understand exactly what you are looking for when you yourself clearly spell it out. Your own attitude reflects how real estate professionals treat you!
In the next article we will discuss how to find a good real estate agent and someone who will not only help you in your most crucial financial decisions you will ever make in your life but also help you grow your wealth and be a friend, advisor and guide for life.
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