Buying an apartment could easily be the best decision of your life. However, the path to the end goal can be pretty stressful, tiring, and overwhelming. Plus, there is always the fear of ending up with buyers' remorse. Take a deep breath and relax because all you're feeling is entirely normal. On top of that, you have us to help you and make your real estate journey as smooth as possible. Now let us begin!
Buying an apartment 101
Nowadays, more and more people choose apartment living, and downsizing is slowly becoming a very popular trend. If you are considering joining this growing community, congratulations!
Even though it might take time to get used to a change like this, there are still ways to make it work. If you are moving to a smaller home, you might have to get rid of some stuff to optimize your small living space. But let's not rush. Before you start packing your things and planning your relocation, here are the ins and outs of the apartment buying process.
Know your finances
The first step towards achieving your goal of becoming an apartment owner is analyzing your finances. Here is what to take into consideration:
Evaluate your financial situation and set a realistic budget. As a mortgage is a big financial responsibility, knowing exactly how much you can afford is important. Have an honest conversation with your accountant, and they'll help you figure this out.
Familiarize yourself with all the costs involved in buying an apartment. For instance, there is the down payment, stamp duty, property inspection, and many more.
Make sure to research lenders and find the right financing for you. Don't rush and hire the first lender you get an offer from. Take your time and make sure you fully understand the terms of the agreements offered to you.
A good idea is to get pre-approved before going apartment hunting. If you find yourself in a bidding war, this will show you as a serious buyer and give you an advantage over other interested buyers.
What is a perfect apartment for you?
Before you start looking for your new home, it's important to understand what you want from it. A good idea is to create a "needs and wants list" and prioritize your requirements according to their importance. Consider the number of rooms you need, storage space, location, and similar.
Keep in mind that it's highly unlikely to find an apartment that has absolutely everything you want and fits perfectly into your budget. Therefore, be prepared to make compromises. Knowing your priorities and sticking to them will make your apartment search that much easier.
Hire an experienced real estate agent
After you've sorted out your finances and figured out what you want from your new apartment, it's time to research and hire professionals to help you with all other aspects of your real estate adventure. Even though you might think that going apartment hunting on your own is a good idea, we strongly advise against it.
What we suggest is hiring an experienced local real estate agent. They will have a crucial role in helping you find an apartment to your liking as well as handling other aspects of the process. For instance, they will also help you negotiate the apartment price and give you helpful advice during the entire process.
It's essential to take your time and interview several agents before making a final decision. Ask your friends, neighbours, or coworkers for recommendations. As buying an apartment is a significant investment, you'll need someone who will understand what you are looking for and help you find it quickly.
Finding the perfect apartment
Finally, we've come to the fun part - hunting for your perfect apartment. Your real estate agent will thoroughly analyze your needs and wants list and look for apartments that fit into it to show to you. Further in this article, you'll find out what else you need to pay attention to and research before deciding to buy an apartment.
Research the Owners Corporation fees and rules
When buying an apartment, there is a big chance that there's a company involved in managing the common areas of the building. If you're looking to buy an apartment in a building with amenities such as pools or shared bins, keep in mind that there will have to be someone in charge of organizing and coordinating the maintenance of these common facilities.
This is what Owners Corporations (also known as Strata company or Body corporate company, depending on the state) is here for. They collect funds from apartment owners and use them to maintain the apartment building with all of its facilities. Therefore, make sure to find out the cost of the Owners Corporation levies or fees.
Also, make sure to find out about any specific rules set by the Owners Corporation. For instance, there could be limitations in using communal areas or policies about pets. If you don't do your research on time, you can end up regretting buying your new apartment.
Research neighbourhood and amenities
Before investing your money in an apartment, it's also important to research the neighbourhood and find out what kind of amenities you have at your disposal.
If you are interested in a specific building, it's a good idea to "hang out" in front of it and see who is coming in and out. This will give you a general idea about the demographics and types of people living in the building. Thus, it will be easier for you to determine whether it's a place you fit into.
It's important to check what kind of amenities you have available. For instance, if you are a driver, make sure to ask about parking spaces. This is not something you want to discuss after your purchase, especially if you live in a big city. Also, ask about additional storage space. It's not uncommon for apartments to come with a storage cage available for you to use.
Good luck with buying an apartment!
As you can see, buying an apartment isn't as difficult or complicated if you make sure to prepare well and find great allies to have on your side. Therefore, arm yourself with patience, and good luck with your apartment hunting.