As a renter, you have the luxury of choosing a place that meets your needs at the moment. Buying a home is a much bigger commitment, both in terms of finances and the length of time you’ll likely live there. When seeking out a house to buy, it’s important to do your homework. As one of the largest financial decisions in a person’s life, buying a home requires discretion, sensibility and budgeting. The following tips will keep you on the right path as you look to purchase your house.
Have your cash ready
In Nigerian real estate cash is king. Once you’ve got the cash, you’ve got the power to purchase any property your heart desires. The goal is to ensure that you have accumulated enough cash to purchase the property, pay all fees and make needed modifications and improvements as necessary. However, given the emergence of the mortgage industry, there’s now an alternative for cash strapped buyers who do not have the complete funds to make an outright purchase.
No perfect home
Your first home may likely not be the perfect place, but make it the right one. Finding the right home is often a matter of prioritizing. Make a list of “must haves,” along with “nice to haves” and “not necessary to haves.” Only you can measure the importance of the amenities you are looking for. Home-buyers who distinguish between wants and needs make the most sensible decisions. A list of must-haves should include items that affect your quality of life, such as a home’s location, its price, number of bedrooms, security, light and square meter. You should be prepared to concede nonessential items, such as views and extra rooms, if you find a house meets your must-haves and is within your budget. Being flexible also involves adjusting your criteria as the home search progresses.
Quality of workmanship
Your first place may not come with many frills or luxury features – but all the basics should be in good condition. Thoroughly inspect prospective properties. And before any purchase is made, performing an inspection with your team (plumber, electrician, generator man,) is a must.
Shop for a place that meets your current space needs, but also consider one that can adjust to a changing household. A five-year plan may not work out as you expect, so think about possible life changes (new job, marriage, children, new business, extended family) that could impact your need for bedrooms, bathrooms and square meterage.
Consider all costs
When you buy a home, you take on recurring costs you don’t have to worry about as a renter. The cost of a home is just the start, and smart buyers tighten their belts before buying to meet the monthly and yearly financial demands of home ownership. Look for a home that meets your budget in terms of full living costs – mortgage, bills, dust bin, security, electricity, pick-up, sewage fees, estate association dues and other fees. You’ll also need cash on hand for the upkeep and repair costs that come with any home. The average homeowner spends a decent amount of money on property maintenance each year. Expect to pay for repairs or maintenance even within the first year of owning your home.
Lifespan of things
In addition to identifying cosmetic and structural flaws before you buy, know what to expect from the home’s components. How long until you need to replace the roof, appliances, or carpet? Everything may be in working order now, but all homes need these types of repairs at some point. Researching the expected remaining life on large-ticket items can help you plan for the future.
Keep your cool
Don’t get overly excited in your search, especially in markets where homes are selling quickly. A bit of self-restraint prevents you from overspending or choosing a home that doesn’t fully fit your needs. Be prepared to walk away if a home inspection reveals more defects in a home than you’re able to deal with. Finding the right home that fits your lifestyle and budget can take weeks or months. By starting early and being patient, you’ll avoid the sense of urgency that often drives home-buyers to make hasty decisions.
*Source: Lamudi Nigeria
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