Buying a home is one of the most important decisions anyone can take over a lifetime. However, many people take this decision lightly, carried away by their emotions and not taking into account factors that could affect their future economic well-being and that of their families. That's why we recommend the following steps before making such an important decision and avoid future regrets.
Get a price opinion or BPO
It is crucial for you to know if the property is worth the amount by which the owner is willing to sell. However, we must not expect that the owner pays for an appraisal (which can cost about $400). For this, we can ask a real estate agent to prepare us a BPO. If the broker does not understand that you mean by a BPO, you can tell him “thanks for everything and goodbye”. A BPO is a "broker price opinion" or an opinion of value. This analysis is based on recent sales and properties that are currently for sale. It cost approximately $75, and good brokers usually stand out by doing good BPO’s.
Hire the services of a real estate broker who knows the area. The best option would be to hire buyer-side real estate agent you trust who knows the area to assist you in the sale. This agent must be impartial and must show that his priority is to make a good buy for you instead of making a good sale for him. Remember, a buying broker usually share the commission with the seller's agent (in a co-broke agreement) and you are not always required to pay directly for this service.
Get to know the community
Visit the neighborhood, know the HOA (homeowners association) and, if possible, some residents. Remember that the appearance of the community is the best reflection of what is happening in the market. If the facilities look decayed as well as the painting and overall appearance of the community, this may be an indication that the financial health of the HOA and/or its residents is not performing well. Have a mortgage bank “checklist’' done for more details about the budget, annual income and reserves of the community. This "checklist" is always required by the bank once the financing process begins. Here you can download a checklist that you can send to the homeowners association.
Properties are for sale and foreclosed
Check out how many properties are for sale within the community. The less for sale listings and bank owned properties the better. Beware, finding out this is almost a science. The most reliable source to find out how many properties are for sale in a certain area or specific development in Puerto Rico is clasificadosonline.com. However, many of these ads are duplicates. Clasificados may show 40 listing ads in the neighborhood, but in reality there are only 12 of them. This is because foreclosed properties are advertised by different real estate companies and although it is a single property, there can be multiple ads created by multiple agents. Identify and analyze how many are duplicates and see how many properties are are actually for sale within the community. The less for sale listings the better.
Now that you know the theory behind buying a house, go get it it yourself or give us a call, we are always willing guide you skillfully through the process.