How to Choose an Apartment to Buy in Honolulu and What to Look For
Buying your first apartment is the dream of many, especially young families. It is also a serious step, which entails not only one-time large, and for many even huge, costs, but also increases your monthly expenses by an order of magnitude, unless, of course, you live in a rented apartment, the rent of which also accounts for pay a lot.
And before you embark on the arduous journey of finding your first apartment, read on for a list of certain factors to consider in order to choose the right apartment to buy.
The real estate market can be divided into two groups: the buyer's market and the seller's market.
A buyer's market is when there are more offers of real estate on the market than there are buyers on them. This tends to happen during periods of high inflation.
The seller's market, on the contrary, occurs when the number of apartments for sale does not cover all the needs of buyers.
However, when choosing an apartment for purchase, it is important to understand that each area is characterized by market fluctuations either in one direction or in the other. Therefore, the first thing you should do is talk to your real estate agent in order to understand how negatively the market will affect the buyer, i.e. how much the supply of apartments prevails over demand. And in the case of a large number of offers in relation to demand, the buyer can count on a certain price reduction at the time of the transaction.
What you need to do before you start looking for an apartment
Buying an apartment is by no means a banal trip to the supermarket for groceries, and not even buying a car. This is a complex process that requires the preparation and study of certain documents, such as documents for obtaining a loan (if you need it), studying documents confirming the seller's ownership of the apartment, etc. Actually, your real estate broker will tell you all these nuances.
First real estate purchase. The main thing is not to rush to give all the money for an apartment, try to bargain. Oh, how you will need money to cover the costs of re-registration of the apartment, some repair work, which, as a rule, is performed by almost any buyer in the purchased apartment, and even more so if this is a new building, then you may need a considerable amount in general to properly furnish your new home.
Also, if you need a loan to buy an apartment, I would recommend that you first get at least a preliminary approval from the bank so that you can understand which apartment you can count on. Unfortunately, in my practice there have been several cases when the buyer really liked the apartment, and he already agreed on the price with the seller, then he goes to the bank for the missing amount, and he is simply denied a loan. Accordingly, there is not enough money, and the buyer is forced to look for other simpler and less profitable options for him.
Apartment type and location
In which apartment do you mentally see yourself? Is this a large duplex apartment in a new building? Or is it a cozy apartment in a quiet area? Is parking near your home important to you? Where will your child play on warm summer days? Do you need a comfortable place to work from home? There can be many such questions, but they need to be answered in order to determine for yourself which apartment will be ideal for you. And only then, starting from the ideal and the amount of money available, proceed to the search for suitable options.
At the same time, do not rush to cut down your wish list greatly, tell your broker about your “wish list”, maybe he will immediately find the most suitable option for you.
As for viewing various options, I would advise you to go to viewings with a qualified realtor, because. he will be able to help you deal with the documents confirming the ownership of the apartment, as well as tell you what you should pay attention to in the apartment itself and hint when you can start bargaining.
When communicating with the owner of the apartment, be sure to ask him how much on average he pays monthly on utility bills, because. this is also important.
Distance from work
Work is also one of the important components when choosing an apartment, and serious attention should also be paid to this. First, you need to understand how stable your work is. By the way, banks also look at this factor when you take a loan from them.
Is it possible for you to move geographically for work in the next few years (for example, transfer to another region for another position)? All this is important, if only because when changing jobs, you may want to change your apartment, or maybe you will stay in the same place, but you will go to work every morning, leaving the house a couple of hours earlier. Agree, it often happens when we become attached to a place and feel happy in our cozy apartment, although we are insanely tired from the road to work and back. Remoteness of the apartment from work
Or maybe you even work at home, and then you just need to make sure that you can equip a comfortable workplace for yourself in the apartment you are purchasing, whether it be a small workshop or a mini-office.
Home repair and maintenance
Some of the expenses will definitely go to the repair and maintenance of the purchased apartment. When thinking about what kind of apartment you can afford, keep these costs in mind. Be sure to carefully inspect the apartment option that suits you before buying. Suddenly it turns out that, for example, the air conditioner needs to be replaced, or the roof is completely leaking. Accordingly, in the absence of the necessary funds, you will need to set aside this money every month to cover the costs of those unforeseen situations that will occur more often than you think.
In my practice, there were also such options when people bought an apartment in need of major repairs for relatively little money, and after they invested the money saved during the purchase in repairs and made it “for themselves”, as a result they got, one might say, ideal an apartment for yourself.
Do you have children or are you just planning to have them? If this is the case, then you will need a kindergarten and school nearby. But even if you do not have children, it is still very reasonable to pay attention to the presence of children's educational institutions in your area, because. in life, everything flows and changes, and you may unexpectedly decide to have children. remote work
Also besides school, when you have kids, don't forget other factors that might be important. Take a look around. Is there a good playground near the house? Is there heavy traffic on the surrounding streets? Is there a swimming pool and sports sections nearby? Are the sidewalks well maintained? What about other children?
A few more important points about fraud and not only
The euphoria of getting a long-awaited home as a property can end very quickly if it suddenly turns out that the apartment is at a certain risk and it can be easily lost. And this can be not only when you fall for scammers, but it is also possible when there are prerequisites for the termination of the seller's ownership of the property, and, accordingly, the termination of your rights as a buyer.
But do not be afraid ahead of time. Here are the most common things to watch out for:
If the cost of the apartment is less than the market value by more than 20%, then this is already suspicious. Practice shows that in order to sell "unclean" housing as quickly as possible, unscrupulous owners significantly reduce its value. This has a hypnotic effect on the buyer, and he often loses his vigilance, and we all know very well that free cheese is only in a mousetrap.
When I hide from you who in reality is the owner of the apartment, or offer to sell the apartment by proxy, then this is most likely also a harbinger of a problematic transaction, which should be immediately abandoned. It is important to check the authenticity of all documents and the history of transactions with this apartment even before the transaction.
The more owners an apartment had in short periods of time, the more such a property should alert the buyer.
The persons registered in the apartment, as well as the owner himself, are the people who should interest you first of all. It is important that none of these persons is in the risk group (alcoholics, drug addicts or mentally ill people), because. this may lead to termination of the transaction in the future.
It's no secret that in order to reduce costs when registering an apartment, many sellers insist on reducing the value of the property being sold in the sale and purchase agreement. But if for any reason your transaction is declared invalid, then you can only get back the amount that was written in the notarized contract. And in order to avoid these possible problems, it is necessary to transfer money correctly and correctly draw up receipts.
If the owner was previously married and is now divorced, then it is important to check in what period and by whom the apartment for sale was acquired, because. in the case when the apartment was acquired during marriage, then each of the spouses has the same rights to it. And this means that, without having the consent to the sale of one of the spouses, you will probably have to share the new apartment with him in half.
The next important point is the registration in the apartment and the discharge of minors. So, when before the sale a minor child is discharged to a social or orphanage, the prosecutor's office, as a rule, without difficulty, through the court, returns the ownership of the apartment to the child. And given the speed of our state machine, only an innocent buyer always suffers in such situations.
If someone from the apartment was discharged to places of deprivation of liberty, then it is also important to note here that the law establishes the right to housing for these people as well. And this means that after returning to his apartment after serving his term, this person has every right to live in it.
When buying an apartment inherited by the seller, it is important to check whether there are still legal heirs to this property. And in this case, in order to avoid unforeseen problems, it is worth signing an agreement with the seller, in which he undertakes, in the event of the appearance of other heirs, to give them a proportional part of the money received from the sale of the apartment.
And lastly, be sure to check whether the property you have chosen is not involved in disputes, and whether it bears certain encumbrances that may affect the legality of the transaction in the future.
Buying an apartment is a very responsible and complicated business, so if you decide to take this step, it’s better not to risk it, but seek help from qualified real estate agents.
These are all the main points that relate to the question of how to choose an apartment to buy and what to pay special attention to. If you have anything else important to add to the above, write in the comments, it will be very interesting to know what I have not said yet.