1st Time Homebuyers
Focus on the sales price of the house. Don’t antagonize the seller over non-essentials like the air conditioner, appliances etc. Ask the seller to share in closing costs to help in reducing the over all cost.
Arrange for a home inspection if you have any doubts about hidden construction flaws. Many times the seller will pick up the costs or split them if you ask them to. Do this and you will not suffer first time home buyers remorse over defects that you did not notice.
Find a real estate agent who is professional so you do not waste valuable time or your hard earned money making costly errors. If you are a first time home-buyer or a veteran, it pays to avoid part-timers and the 80% who don’t deliver. Finding a “Buyers Agent” to represent you can save you money, too. By finding an agent acting solely on your behalf, you receive better legal protection and get an edge in negotiations.
Watch out for “For Sale By Owner” people selling their own homes. They can sometimes concoct inflated prices for their homes, even tacking on a commission for themselves.
Foreclosed properties held by government agencies or other lenders offer great value if you are willing to do a little work. Most probably, you will need an agent. A good agent will first inform you of more possibilities than you would have thought of and will cost you nothing since the fees are usually picked up by the seller.
Buy from motivated sellers who can save you money. Builders often offer incentives or price reductions to reduce their inventory that is sitting idly eating away at their potential profit margin. Death, divorce, job transfers, illness are other reasons people are motivated to sell their property fast and accept a lower priced offer. First timers should be aware of these possibilities.
To maximize future equity potential, it is usually wiser to buy an equally priced, run-down house in a better neighborhood than a mansion in a poorer neighborhood. In time, with a little work and money, you can bring it up to par with others in the neighborhood.
Don’t let the seller know you are particularly interested in his house. Say “that’s nice” and not too much more. If you are interested in a particular house, don’t offend the homeowners’ taste by criticizing their decorating or the unique traits enjoyed by their home. They may decide to sell to someone else to spite you.
Visit the home in the day time and the night time (cockroaches and mosquitoes come out at night). Visit after a heavy rain to see if the cellar leaks or expensive drainage problems are apparent. If the seller says, we have a new septic, a new roof, etc. get everything in writing if you do not have a witness. Otherwise you do not have a case if you require future legal action. You may want to check out the neighbors, crime rate etc.
If you are “cash strapped” for the down payment, rather than offering a lower price, negotiate for the seller to contribute that portion toward the closing costs. For instance, if the closing costs and down payment amount to $100,000, with the seller contributing $70,000 (the reduced amount you offer for what the seller initially wanted for his home), you’ll need only $30,000 in order to buy the house.
The government of Trinidad & Tobago announced that as of January 1st 2019, first-time home owners will benefit from an amendment to the Residential Stamp Duty threshold from $850,000 to $1,500,000 TT Dollars. This translates to a direct saving of $37,000 on closing costs.
See a Real Estate Monthly Payment Calculator for monthly mortgage repayment amounts. Save money by first shopping around for home owner’s insurance. Don’t take the first deal that is offered to you. Remember to insure the house only, not the land, against fire. Say, for instance, you bought a house for $500,000 and the land is worth $300,000 thereby making the house worth only $200,000. Just insure the house for its replacement value. Dirt doesn’t burn.