After all the planning has been made and after you are at peace of mind you can now start actively looking for a place to buy. If you think that saving enough money for the down payment and getting a steady job in order to cover the monthly installment was the hard, then think again. Prepare yourself for a grind. This is basically how looking at ads, calling numbers and actually visiting apartments feels like. In short, your planning phase is not exactly over. Now you really need to take numerous things into consideration and act accordingly.
Many people are fine looking at apartments alone. Others will need to bring somebody along who can point the good and the bad in each property. It is completely up to you to decide if you are among the former or the latter group. Just know that you will be living there and it matter the most what you think about a certain place. You need to structure your plan:
- Get informed
- Call some numbers
- Go look at locations
Don’t be afraid to call. Many fellas feel uncomfortable talking to brokers on the phone because they feel somehow inferior and are afraid that they will get duped. Others are very pessimistic and believe that they are wasting the broker’s time in case they do not buy the apartment they are calling about. All of these concerns are complete bogus. It is the brokers’ job to give you their time. They should be perfectly aware that most calls will not end up with a purchase otherwise they are not really cut for this job. The next thing to do is keep asking questions. This way you will get as much info on the phone as possible. Most of the ads you are going to see online will have just some basic information regarding the property. Brokers usually have more and it is up to you to get it. Lay your cards on the table and say what you are looking for. This way you will quickly be told whether what you have just seen on the Internet is good for you or not. This way you will quickly go through more ads and will increase the chance of actually finding the right apartment.
Always make sure you know how much money you have available
Know your limits. After you have decided on how much money you are ready to spend on purchasing an apartment you must then think of the money you are going to need to invest into renovating the property in case it requires it. Many rooms and premises in an apartment are pretty tough to repair and you might have many hidden expenses which are initially not exactly visible. For example if the bathroom of a very affordable flat is in a bad shape then this flat is not so affordable. After you pay the amount X for it, you will then need to repair the bathroom and these things do not come in cheap. The same goes for plumbing and window frames. If you just need to buy a sofa and a TV then you are fine and the flat is worth it. If not, then you better have some more money in your back pocket.
Buying a brand new flat has its pros and cons
Pretty much the same goes if you decide to invest your money into brand new flats in buildings which are still under construction. They look cheap and the thought of living in a brand new home is great but you must be made aware that they give you the keys to a flat with absolutely nothing in it. Floors are not covered with anything and walls have no paste and paint on them. You are basically receiving a property with brick walls and raw floor. You need to do everything from scratch and it will end up costing you just as much as the price of the whole flat. If all of this is fine with you then by all means go ahead and seek a brand new block of flats.
The next thing you need to keep in mind, and it is again related to expenses, are all the hidden fees you will end up paying in order to close the deal. Brokers work on a commission and it is usually about 3% of the price you are paying the seller. This is not as small of a number as it initially looks like. Next you will need to pay a notary fee for finalising the deal and it is again about 1% of the price. Finally you will need to pay tax for the transaction and this number varies in different countries and towns. It will not be lower than 2% though. This is why you need to have about 7-8% more money than the price of your property needed to be spent for these extra fees. If you also need to renovate parts of your flat then you are looking at some extra 10-11% in expenses.
Look carefully – this is one of our final pieces of advice. See as many flats as you can and always take your time while you are in there. Some questions will always occur as you see the actual structure of the property. You will now usually have the opportunity to speak directly with the owner (or a representative of theirs) and ask the tough questions. The broker might want to jump in but remember that negotiations are conducted between you and the seller.
Always ask for a reasonable discount. Most sellers are willing to provide it and will usually inflate their price just a little bit in order to have room to go down a little. Show them that you are aware of this technique and ask for an even lower price. You should eventually manage to meet in the middle and reach an agreement which is good for both sides.