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The first, and biggest mistake is not to worry about minor cosmetic issues. I’m talking about referring to walking into a home and not liking the paint color. Or not liking the carpet. Or thinking the backsplash is ugly. Too many buyers get caught up in the small, easily changed details that they overlook the bigger picture and pass up an otherwise perfect house for something that can be changed out within a day or two for minimal effort.
Anytime you’re checking out a property, look at 3 things:
-The location. This is something you’re stuck with and can’t change, regardless of how much money you sink into the property.
-The second is the floor plan. This CAN be fixed, but it’s just a matter of money. At a certain price, things just don’t make sense to fix – if you’re buying a property for $150,000 under market value, then maybe changing the floorpan can be justified. But if you’re buying at retail level and think the floorplan sucks, then maybe the house isn’t for you.
-The third, like I mentioned, are cosmetic issues. These can easily be changed for very inexpensively, all things considered. Don’t get caught up here.
The second thing to know is that when you see a property, it’s usually only during an hour in the day – sometimes a weekend afternoon, or a week day after work. But it’s important to understand wha the house is like throughout the day – sometimes what you could be a quiet weekend street is filled with back-to-back stop and go traffic during the week as everyone gets off work.
The third is to consider neighbor noise and much like the first example, go there late at night or on weekends and see what the neighbors are like. Trust me on this one…while neighbors come and go, and chances are they won’t be noisy forever, at least have an idea what you’ll be getting into.
Fourth thing to consider is commute times. Obviously this won’t matter if you’re buying an investment property, but for anyone else, figure out how long it’ll take you to get to and from work depending on traffic. Especially in Los Angeles, what could be a 15 minute drive at 2am might turn into an hour long commute at 6pm.
Fifth, is to always get the home inspected – this is a common sense – I’ve never seen a home NOT be inspected, but I can’t stress the importance of this enough. Get the home inspected, and do as many inspections as you think will be necessary. Even if not to try to get a credit, but just to know what you’re getting into.
Finally…as a 6th bonus tip for reading all the way through, because you’re the real MVP…don’t open up any lines of credit or buy anything expensive 6 months before getting your mortgage. The worst thing you can do right before getting a loan is to get yourself in debt or give the bank any reason not to give you the full amount promised. Always get the mortgage, first – then whatever you decide to do after that is on you.
For business inquiries or one-on-one real estate investing/real estate agent consulting or coaching, you can reach me at GrahamStephanBusiness@gmail.com
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