Buying real estate has been regarded as a wise investment throughout history. As the saying goes, land is always valuable - they aren't making any more of it. Buying property is more than just a matter of exchanging money for land, though. The wise buyer takes the time to educate himself beforehand to ensure that he gets the most out of his investment.
Whether you are buying or selling a home, don't underestimate how long a sale actually takes to go through. Just because an offer has been made doesn't mean that the ball is rolling yet. The seller may hesitate on accepting the offer. The buyer may have trouble selling his current home. Either party may have trouble with financing. The buyer may request that repairs are made and the seller may disagree. However long you may think the process is going to take, add another two or three months to be safe.
Understand the setup of the utilities in rental properties. If you are considering a multiple unit rental property, it is important to pay attention to the way that the utilities and heating system have been set-up. Take note of the number of gas, water and electric meters either inside or outside of the home to determine how many services are connected to the property. If there is only one connection, be aware that you will most likely need to include utility costs in the rent payments. You might also want to make a call to the local zoning commission, so that you know if there would need to be any major changes to the utility services. There could be significant costs involved in splitting or combining services and you will want to know this in advance.
When purchasing real estate to use for rental properties be sure to do a careful assessment of the neighborhood. Look at the cars parked in the street. Old cars can tell you a lot about the neighborhood in which the property is located. Trash on the sidewalk or worn down houses can tell you that the neighborhood is less than great and at what level you can expect to rent the property.
First time investors need to be aware of some challenges associated with properties that are listed as 'for sale by owner'. Many times, investors have purchased these properties (or want to purchase additional properties in the area) and they are simply testing the market to see how much they are actually offered. Dealing with 'for sale by owner, property may be complicated, and the process of settling on a contract can get fairly lengthy. Therefore, you might want to consider these properties down the road, after you are a more experienced investor.
Investing in real estate in this market can still make you money. With prices well below the cost to replace the building it has shifted to a buy & hold strategy rather than the fast flipping of previous years. But there are some fantastic bargains available now from their peak prices of 2006.
When working with an agent to buy a home, it is a better use of your time to sit down with the agent first and discuss what you're looking for. Otherwise, how can they find a home that suits you, if they do not know what it is?
Make sure the locks on a home that you want to purchase are changeable. This is because you should have a Locksmith change your locks as soon as the home is yours. You never know if the previous owners made copies of the keys and therefore has access to your home. If the home has an alarm system, make sure to change the code.
Think about what improvements you will want to make to your new home right after you take ownership of it when determining your budget. You want to be sure that you do not use up all of your savings toward the purchase of you home if you plan on painting, changing the locks, or some other basic improvements.
Tips like these can help prospective real estate buyers, whether they are buying their first piece of property or their twelfth. Real estate is a wide field and it changes rapidly, so there is always something new for the would-be buyer to learn. Taking a bit of handy advice to heart could end up saving the buyer a lot of money.