Buying your first apartment may the largest investment that you have ever made, which makes it even more important to have a plan before you go looking for apartments. Just like any other investments, you should do your homework as to how much you are willing to invest and what you hope to gain in return.
1.Decide where you want to live? Which part of the city suits your lifestyle best? How far do you want to be from your work spot? Do you want to have shops nearby? If you like to have a walking community then put that in your wish list. If you want open spaces nearby, look for apartments near parks.
2.Decide how much you want to pay. Make sure to meet with a loan officer to be prequalified for a mortgage loan. He will enquire about your income and debts and tell you how much you can afford to spend. Then spend some time deciding as to how you want your life to look like after buying the apartment. Are you planning to have children in the near future or do you want money to travel? A lender can tell you how much you can afford to spend today, but he doesn’t know what you purpose to do with your life in the future. If you plan on investing less on apartments than you can afford then you will have money left for other things.
3.Look for a real estate agent. An agent knows the market well and can use your “wish list” as a tool to narrow down as to where you want to look. He can also negotiate to get you the best possible deal on a property and can complete the paper work involved in buying a home. Always make sure to find an agent that can represent you as a buyer and not as a selling agent. Remember, it is the seller who pays’s the buyer’s agent, so you don’t have to pay him while working with him.
4.Ask your agent to write an offer on your behalf after you have found a home for buying. He can help you find a fair opening bid and remind you of any extra amenities that you can ask to include. He will present your offer to the seller’s agent or to the homeowner if he is not working with an agent and will keep you informed on how the negotiations are going on.
5.Find out how much it’s actually going to cost to buy the apartment. First time buyers are often shocked to learn that their initial purchase is going to involve more than the down payment. Expect inspection cost, loan-origination fees, application fees, first month’s homeowner’s insurance, recording fees, appraisal and attorney’s fees. All of these fees can add up to 3-8% of your final purchase price. Ask your real estate agent to prepare a good-faith estimate (GFE) for any property that you are planning to purchase so that you know how much the total cost is.
6.Finally you are going to find about the ongoing costs. Ask for copies of the previous homeowner’s utility bills, repair bills, property tax, insurance bills and trash disposal bills. And don’t forget to include these expenses in to your monthly budget.