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5 ways to know whether you’re an informed buyer

Want to buy a house but are waiting for that golden opportunity? That’s great, but telling a great deal from a lemon requires at least a basic understanding of real estate.

Even though buying a house may seem intimidating, there’s nothing particularly difficult about the operation. The following suggestions will help you develop good instincts.

1. Do you understand the buying process?

Forewarned is forearmed! Being familiar with the purchasing process lets you move forward with confidence. Everything seems less intimidating when you know what to expect.  

The steps in buying a home are simple. First, you pr epare by establishing what your needs and budget are. Next, you search for the ideal property by carefully evaluating the options. Then, you file an offer to purchase and you fulfil the selling conditions that have been agreed upon.

2. Are you willing to shop around? 

Finding properties that are for sale is child’s play. But finding a real good deal requires a little more knowledge about the market. There’s no magic formula to this. The secret is to visit several properties and compare the products on offer.

Checking how much homes in the neighbourhood have sold for will give you an idea of what a reasonable price is. For instance, if you don’t know that bungalows on the same street as the property you’re visiting have sold for about $195,000, how can you know that this one, listed for $235,000, is a bit too pricey?

3. Can you be open-minded? 

Buyers who can keep an open mind often find unexpected treasures. Don’t close any doors!

For instance, if you restrict your search to homes listed at $200,000, you might not get the results you’re hoping for. But if you look at all the properties included between $175,000 and $225,000, there will be way more options! Who knows, maybe the $175,000 property is a gem, and maybe the one listed for $215,000 will sell for $200,000 if the owner is willing to negotiate.

4. Are you asking the right questions?

When you’re well informed, it’s easier to make a sound decision. And the way to get accurate information is to ask the right questions.

Does this home meet my needs? Is it in good condition? Am I paying the right price? Am I OK with the terms of the sale? To get answers to questions that may arise during the home-buying process, you should get information, talk to the owner, or use the services of specialists like a building inspector or a notary.  

5. Are you prepared to negotiate?

Feeling shy or afraid of being turned down may keep some buyers from negotiating. However, you should be aware that many homeowners are prepared to negotiate and know that it’s often part of the game.  

Ultimately, the buyer and the seller have to agree on the price and the terms of the sale. So don’t be afraid to discuss with the owner. A good negotiation can sometimes end up in you getting a good deal and saving money!