APRIL 2014
Khaas Baat : A Publication for Indian Americans in Florida

Real Estate

Locating a Good Property


Buying a home is exciting, but when not done right can consume time and be emotionally draining. Home buying involves three phases, 1) Locating a good property; 2) Working the Financing aspects; and 3) Closing the deal. The scope of this article is: Locating a Good Property. Other two phases will be addressed in subsequent articles.

Art of real estate has three timeless principles: Location, location and location. A great location can be a combination of several factors such as proximity to work, good school district, nearby shopping areas, etc. Location is such an important factor that even though most of all property values, including the ones in great locations tumbled during the bust, recovery started back first in prime locations. Of course, you pay a premium for a good location, but it is important to know that these properties retain their value and appreciate at a better rate in the long run. So, try not to compromise on location in saving a few dollars, when you can afford.

Second most important thing is the curb appeal or sometimes called the wow factor. It is similar to X-Factor (not the show). You know it when you see it, but can never define it precisely. Let me try it anyway. Curb appeal is what you see when you drive up to a home; it is the first impression that you get that makes you say, ”Wow” followed by a strong urge to buy the house, before you even see the inside. This unique quality is a mix of various factors such as symmetry of the house, flow lines, placement of the house in reference to the lot and the neighborhood, landscape, driveway and garage layout, and color scheme, etc.

The flow inside the house is also vital. If the house has been customized too much to the owner’s unique requirements, it may be a negative. Some examples of such customizations are, turning two adjacent bed rooms into a large master suite in high-end houses or converting a garage into an additional bedroom in low-end houses. Imagine, if you ever have to sell it later, a custom house or the one with no curb appeal is a hard sell.

In modern era, most searches start on the Internet. However, it is essential to drive around the neighborhood and cover 2 to 3 miles radius around the property. There are several sites you can go to, but the most popular ones are www.realtor.com or www.zillow.com. While realtor.com lists properties that are listed only by real estate agents, zillow.com covers all properties listed by real estate agents as well as FSBOs (For Sale By Owners). If you like a property listed by a real estate agent and would like to proceed further, find a knowledgeable agent to work on your behalf. You can also work directly with the listing agent, but the downside is the listing agent is more loyal to the seller who hired him in the first place and may not have your best interest at heart. If you like a property which is a FSBO, you can either directly interact with the seller or hire an agent or a real estate lawyer to represent you. Unless you are a real estate professional and understand the process/area thoroughly or know the seller in person, I recommend you have some professional representation. Last but not the least, is the emotional factor. For a seller, it’s not just a house, but it’s their home. A place of retreat filled with great memories. Having agents on either side takes this emotional edge out of the equation and makes the negotiating process easier. Despite being an agent in Florida, I used a Realtor to sell our out-of-state property and, trust me, I will never do it any other way.

Look for an agent, who is well-versed in the area. A knowledgeable agent with experience will provide you with great market analysis and good comps that empowers you to make educated decisions. A good agent will first review your requirements, understand your financial situation and narrow down the search. Don’t work with agents who push you to make quick decisions or try to up-sell the deals. At our offices, we always review the requirements first, if needed pre-qualify them financially, which is a free service we offer and then find a perfect fit that suites their tastes and their pocket book. This saves them a lot of time and effort. In conclusion, let me leave you with something funny.

A real estate broker who has been in business for a long time sees a brand new real estate office open right next door. The sign at the office reads ‘Best Agents.’ Very soon, he sees another office open up on the other side, and they even had a larger sign, ‘Lowest commissions.’ The broker panics, until he gets an idea. He puts even bigger sign of all, over his own real estate office. It reads: ‘Main Entrance.’

Wishing you and your loved once happy holidays and a prosperous New Year.

Sam Vijay Matcha, Century 21 Beggins Enterprises, can be reached at (727) 515-9460 or e-mail [email protected]

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