General Tips for Buying Real Estate Worldwide

By: John Keating

Buyers and sellers are constantly entering and exiting the real estate market anywhere and at any time. While there are differences in each nation's marketplace, there are also many similarities. The following are tips for homebuyers and real estate investors, no matter where they live. They are a general guide to aid wise decision-making.

Choosing an Agent

When selecting an agent to represent you choose someone familiar with your specific market and market area. Also, choose an agent who predominantly works with properties similar to those in your price range. An agent knowledgeable in these areas will help you find a suitable home or investment property faster.

Consider working with a buyer's agent. They concern themselves solely with you, the buyer. Real estate agents who represent buyers and sellers may not give the focused attention you desire. An agent who represents buyers exclusively can approach the market's entire home inventory without bias. There are no dangers of them favoring properties they list, because they're not listing any properties to begin with.

Choose an agent who favors open, frequent communication. You don't want an agent of the "don't call me, I'll call you" persuasion. You don't want to play cat and mouse trying to track your agent down either. Select one who keeps you abreast of local market news and new sellers on the market. Make sure they communicate with you promptly concerning feedback from sellers on viewings you attend.

Mortgage Shopping

Do comparison-shopping when choosing a lender. Before you begin looking at property, get pre-approved for a mortgage. This will make your star rise in the eyes of sellers. They tend to favor potential buyers already pre-approved, as there is less chance of the sales process stalling. If there are competing bids, you will have the edge, as others may not have secured financing yet.

When shopping for mortgages compare different institutions rates and services. Be willing to negotiate with them. It's a competitive market and they may be willing to scale back their rate a bit. They may offer incentives for you to contract with them. At the very least, it doesn't hurt to ask, they may surprise you with a "yes we can do that for you."

Do Your Research before You Buy

Stay in control of the process. No matter where you are in the world, others may take advantage of you. You need to be a street-savvy buyer. You need to be as knowledgeable as those selling homes are. Understand the price spread between similar homes, those that received an upgrade and those that didn't. Are the prices justified for upgrading done? Are you better off buying an unaltered home and upgrading yourself?

Research also involves researching real estate firms so you choose the one that's best for you. Check the track record of the firm. Check the success of their local agents as compared to other agents in other firms. What's the word on the street when it comes to an agent or agency? Talk to other homebuyers and investors to see what their experiences were like with a certain firm.

Have a Home Checklist Prepared Before You Go Out to Buy

You want value for your hard-earned money. To make a wise home buying decision you need a lot of information. As you spend time looking at many properties they may blur into one big picture. That's why it's beneficial for a real estate investor or homebuyer to have a detailed sheet pertaining to each home. These facilitate easy comparisons when it comes to making a final buying decision.

A typical checklist would contain these sections:

* The Home Section: Number of bedrooms, bathrooms, closets. It would include details about the yard space, and garage size. You could list condition of exterior and basement. You may want to list number of windows and if the home is energy-efficient. Any other details you feel are important would be put in this section

* The Neighborhood Section: In this section, you would document general appearance of homes and businesses. Traffic and noise level concerns. You may want to list availability of street parking, zoning regulations and garbage and recycling services. You could talk to neighbors about police protection and fire protection -availability and response. Your idea is to get a feel of what your comfort zone would be in this area. If you will resell the property these could be selling points.

* The Convenience Section: Here, you will list proximity to schools, shopping centers, doctors, dentists, workplaces, and childcare. You may want to include how close the home is to an airport, major highway, and public transportation.

All of the above tips will make your decision to purchase a property an easier one. They will remove much of the stress that goes with buying a home. The international real estate marketplace can be so different from country to country, but these tips will serve you well wherever you choose to buy.

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