What to consider when buying a house

Sunday, May 12, 2019

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Jamaica, particularly the Corporate Area, has been experiencing a boom in property development over the past couple years. With increasingly competitive mortgage rates available through financial institutions and more people looking to own rather than rent, conversations around what make a 'good' buy have become more prevalent.

876 Listings reached out to the experts Dawn Ruddock, realtor and broker associate, and realtor associate Lystra Sharp at Coldwell Banker Jamaica Realty, to find answers.

Both agree that when buying a house, one factor displaces all others. “Location! Location! Location! It is important for the buyer to consider location from the following perspectives: commuting — convenient distance and time from the house to the sphere of activities and amenities; ambiance and lifestyle — the look, feel and safety of the neighbourhood and resale value of the area [as] the buyer will want to have a reasonable expectation that their property will increase in or maintain its value,” they shared via joint responses.

Now that you have looked at areas of interest to make a purchase, the next glaring question is 'What do I buy?' New-built apartment complexes and housing schemes seem to pop up on a daily basis, but should you go all-in on a new development, or buy a fixer upper which may be cheaper but require a little more love and care to make that house a home?

“It is always preferable to buy a fresh, new, move-in-ready home instead of a fixer upper. Buying a new home may sometimes be less expensive in the long run as refurbishing a fixer upper can prove to be very costly. However, initially, the fixer upper may be more attractive to the buyer with a limited budget, as the fixes can be done at a later date,” Ruddock advised.

That notwithstanding, buyers need to be careful when making purchases so as to “ensure that the get value for their money”, say Ruddock and Sharp, adding that relying on the assistance of contracted professionals is essential to confirm that “there are no breaches and encroachments regarding the property, the structure is sound, and the neighbourhood is acceptable and there is good resale value”.

While some may be unwilling to make adjustments as it relates to their preference for a new-built or fixer-upper property, there are some things that may require compromise in the final assessment — for instance, convenience versus affordability.

“That is a tricky one! Generally, the more convenient a location, the more expensive the property will be.”

And while being selective is not necessarily a bad thing, Ruddock and Sharp insist: “A buyer will usually have a list of criteria of the house he or she would like to buy. Sometimes these do not fit within the buyer's budget and the availability of properties on the market. Compromise will therefore be necessary. The buyer should make a shortlist of the most important features and adjust accordingly.”

And when you have found that dream property that you absolutely cannot pass up? “With the help of your realtor it is time to put in an offer and BUY! BUY! BUY!”

— Paul Allen


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