The three most important words in real estate, whether you want to buy or rent a new home, are location, condition and value. Focus on those three and you will make sound decisions.
Rent or buy, the neighborhood comes with the house. You know your preferred lifestyle, so look and listen as you scout the home’s location. As part of your decision-making about how much the neighborhood will enhance your lifestyle, you should also consider things like commuting time, access to shopping malls and public transportation.
When you consider the home’s condition, divide the topic into two. If you are a prospective buyer, you will be wholly responsible for this, but if you are a prospective tenant, a good property management company will address these issues on your behalf.
- Cosmetic Condition
Little things can tell you a lot about how well the home has been cared for. Look for scuff marks, chipped paint and minor carpet stains, for example, as well as the state of the outside areas. If surfaces look like they need pressure washing, it suggests areas you cannot easily see have not been maintained either.
- Functional Condition
A licensed home inspector will give you a detailed report on major items that may be in need of repair or replacement. The inspection will include the HVAC system, the water tank, major appliances, the amount of insulation in the roof space, and whether the electrics and plumbing are fully functional.
A home’s value also divides into two main categories; the price you are paying, whether it is purchase price or monthly rent, and the hidden value that only a professional can determine.
- The Price You Pay
You can compare the purchase or rental price with similar properties in the area. Today’s technology makes such comparisons easy to do. A real estate professional will provide you with a more thorough valuation more easily than you can do for yourself. If you are a buyer, a professional will access comparable properties that are currently on the market, those which have gone under contract, have recently closed, and those which failed to sell and have been taken off the market.
- Hidden Value
A full-service property management company will have screened their owners, so you can sign a lease knowing, for example, there is no risk of your being evicted because the owner is behind on mortgage payments and that there are no other pending legal liabilities. If you are buying, your attorney will ensure that all title matters have been addressed before you take ownership.
These five tips will guide you towards finding a home that is right for you.