Whether you are buying your first property or your 5th property, there are still some things to keep in mind. While these tips might seem obvious, it’s a good checklist. And these tips are true whether you are buying a riad in Morocco, a chalet in Lebanon or an apartment in New York City.
- Communicate with the homeowner. This is true regardless if you are buying from the owner directly or using an agent. You should always have an idea of what is conveyed with the house. Listing notes should detail what stays and what goes but, if in doubt, ask. If you want something, ask. Staged properties are increasingly popular and just because a property might show with appliances and ornate chandeliers, does not mean they stay with the property when it is sold. This is particularly true when looking at developer listings or resort listings. The “show” unit is just that. Not an actual rendition of what each property will come with.
- Communicate with the owner or your agent what you do NOT want. Often big items and outdoor items – that you may not want- will stay with a property because the seller does not want to move them. This can true with outdoor spas, play structures for kids, greenhouses, etc. If you see something you do not want to come with the property, specify in the contract that the seller must remove the item.
- Put everything in writing. This advice is true for both buyers and sellers. If your curtains match the duvet cover, and you intend to take them with you, put it in writing. List what is included and what is excluded.
- Negotiate- or be prepared to negotiate- If the inspection shows that there are $1000 of needed repairs, the seller may offer to pay half the costs and throw in an appliance that initially was not included in the sale. This is especially true if the seller is moving into a property that has new appliances or does not want to pay the cost of moving such a large item.
Negotiation really depends on if it is a buyer’s market or a seller’s market. During buyers’ markets the buyer can be a lot more demanding. The opposite is true in a seller’s market so make sure your demands are within reason. You don’t want to lose a sale or property over something relatively small.
- Animal remains should always go. Or at least notify the buying party about the remains. If you have buried a pet cat, dog, bird, hamster, etc. in your yard – either have the remains moved or tell the party where they are located. Nobody wants to make that discovery while innocently planting a winter vegetable garden.
- Be alert during the walk through. This is the last chance to verify the property is indeed what you are expecting. Did you negotiate for the appliances but they are not there? Get them back. Is the pool table you don’t want still there? Make sure the seller gets it removed.
Yes, we know these tips are kind of obvious. But it bears repeating. And remember to communicate early about what you do and do not want.