Buying an apartment or house is a big step for all of us. With so many things to consider and an often tricky, long process ahead, having help from an expert can be a welcome intervention!
Real estate mogul Samantha DeBianchi, star of Bravo’s Million Dollar Listing has all the answers to your homeowning questions. One of the more interesting trends over the past few years in real estate has been single women buying homes. In fact, single women are the number two demographic when it comes to homeownership, just slightly behind families. This trend shouldn’t really surprise anyone. After all, over the last 50 years the women’s movement has picked up incredible momentum and continues going strong. Therefore, it’s only natural that single women should make what is perhaps one of the best investments out there. Owing a home is practical for a lot of reasons, but unlike other purchases that depreciate overtime, the typical home in America continues to increase in value by roughly five percent each year.
Check out Samantha's top tips for the home purchasing process below!
Don’t rush the decisionI’ve seen it countless times. I take a buyer to see a property and before we walk out they are ready to sign the contract and put down a deposit. Sure this thrills me as an agent trying to make a living, but I always encourage my clients to sit on it for a day. The reality is that purchasing a home isn’t the same thing as buying a $90 outfit from Macys that you can easily return. Ask yourself some tough questions and answer honestly. Do you see yourself staying in this home for at least five years? Will it work if you meet the man of your dreams? Does the location fit your lifestyle? Are there more pros to cons for making this purchase? Make sure and really think it through.
Are you financially ready?By far, one of the biggest mistakes I see single women make in the home buying process is they only consider the price of the home. There’s a lot more to it than that and the sticker price is just the beginning. Don’t forget about property taxes, insurance, moving costs, utilities, repairs, attorney fees and more. Also remember you’re going to need a considerable down payment. At least 20% is recommended to avoid private mortgage insurance, lower the monthly payment and reduce closing costs. At the same time, the stronger your credit and the better shape of your own financial house, the more attractive you’re going to look to the banks for financing.
An inspection is a mustAn inspection is a must. It is never something to skip even if you have to foot the bill. I’ve watched too many women be swindled by a smooth talker who convinced them an inspection wasn’t necessary. You’ll hear things like, “I’ve maintained the property in tip-top shape from day one,” or “I just recently had the home checked from floor to ceiling and everything checked out just fine.” Even if the inspection doesn’t find anything significant, you’ve given yourself peace of mind by having one. If it does find something, try to get concessions from the seller to fix the problems.
Safety is paramountSafety is always important but especially when you’re a single woman living by yourself. Even if an area looks safe, do your research. Are there any registered sex offenders living nearby? What is the vibe at night like? Lookup area crime statistics online. Speak with several neighbors or the local police station to get an honest assessment of the neighborhood and crime rates. Most important: always follow your gut instinct. If it doesn’t feel safe or it just gives you a bad feeling, walk away from it because you’re probably right.
Always be honest with yourselfYou’ve seen me sell some multi-million dollar mansions on Million Dollar Listing Miami, but just because my typical client is a professional athlete, successful entrepreneur or celebrity who can afford such a purchase, the truth is most people can’t and shouldn’t consider it. Sometimes the banks don’t help with this because they’ll lend you more than they should. Remember, you don’t have to use every dollar the bank is willing to give you. When you decide to buy a home, leave your emotional side at home and think logically. Be honest about your price range and what you can and can’t afford. Remember that price and square footage isn’t everything. What you do with a home can make it beautiful and special, too.
The housing market is expected to be red hot in 2016. If you’re considering homeownership, now is the time to make your move. The most important thing to remember is to play it smart. If you do, you can find the place of your dreams and know that you’ve made one of the best investments money can buy.
Samantha DeBianchi is founder and CEO of DeBianchi Real Estate in South Florida. She also stared on Bravo’s Million Dollar Listing Miami.