We are here to help first-time buyers find their first, and hopefully, their last real estate investment that they can call their own for the rest of their life. We can give you connections, but it pays to educate yourself about the basics in this industry.
1. Negotiate for a more favorable price even when a realtor says that the price is fixed.
That used to be the case of the hitherto Spelling mansion by top producer Aaron Spelling. His wife Candy Spelling listed the manor for $150 million but remained on the market for quite some time. It was not until the realtor arranged a negotiation just to have the manor sold, which eventually happened for $85,000,000, almost half of the original price.
The manor, which is known to be the largest house in Los Angeles County, was bought by Formula One heiress Petra Stunt (nee Ecclestone). It’s been put back on the market in 2014 with an asking price of $150 million.
Real estate rarely has a fixed price. It’s almost always open for negotiation, so you shouldn’t settle for the asking price right off the bat. In fact, many realtors know that many of their clients ask for impossible prices, sometimes double than the realistic values.
Also, keep this in mind – precious memories are not shared between a seller and a buyer. Push your way through to make the seller realize that you are only willing to pay for the property’s physical worth.
2. Base your construction plan on the lot, not on your dream.
We’re sure a lot of people will say nay to this, but let us be realistic. It will require a long wait before you can start building your dream home if you want to stick with it as you look for a lot. This is not an issue though if your dream house is not as ambitious as those of Rebecca Riskin’s clients.
Riskin is one of the most in-demand realtors in Montecito. In her years in the real estate industry, she has seen a lot of clients postpone the construction of their dream house because the lot they find in the market just won’t match their requirements.
It is perhaps safest to say that a compromise should always be considered. Stick with your plan if you can afford to wait and risk seeing properties rise in prices. Or, change your plan if you feel that the size or shape is the only problem, but the location of the lot is a dream for most buyers.
3. Subscribe to an online real estate finder.
A decided buyer should not miss one important update or notification. The best way to do that is by subscribing to an online property finder. It blasts up-to-date information that can help you find the best property and decide whether to buy already or not. Aside from the notifications, an online property finder usually has more listed properties and has partnerships with reliable realtors in your location.
Let us be honest, people nowadays look at their computers, smartphones and tablets when scouting for a property. If builders and brokers tap into that market, why not be there at a time they knock on the door?
4. Use your network to look for credible referrals.
This is the reason why you cannot afford to live under a rock. You need connections and become a part of any network with common interests.
High-end clients usually get referrals from their colleagues in the business and friends in country clubs. They talk about buying properties over dinners and not through chatrooms or Skype. At the end of the day, every real estate buyer will be conducting a formal scouting, so you might as well do it early.
Ask friends who’ve had experience in buying properties in the past. Ask around your neighborhood if they can recommend someone. Always prioritize a person with firsthand experience with a realtor or firm before jumping into ads.
5. Attend open houses.
Many potential buyers fail to find a property of their liking because they do not get the point of holding an open house. This is not held for the buyers to see a house and see the details up close and personal. In fact, this is an opportunity to “feel” the house and validate the buyer’s gut feel about it.
Visualize yourself while in the house. Do you see you and your family spending time there and having fun? Do you see yourself feeling proud about your investment while talking to your neighbors or officemates? Do you feel comfortable signing the papers and saying goodbye to your hard-earned money? If you can say yes to all of those questions, then you have finally found the property where you belong to.
6. Look for something sustainable.
When Extreme Makeover: Home Edition was still airing, it faced a lot of criticisms especially during the time of recession. Why? The designers just had a taste for fancy and flashy designs, layouts, and materials that were all sophisticated but not sustainable. There have been reports that some featured families had to sell their house because they could no longer afford to pay the utility bills.
You don’t have to be featured in a TV show to know the difference between a flashy house and a sustainable house. Not everything visually appealing is practical. You have to consider your capacity to provide for the utilities, and your children who might be in danger with non-child-friendly materials and designs.