Now that you’ve established your budget, priorities and preferred neighborhoods, you’re ready to take a look at properties.
To actually get into the properties to look around, it’s usually more efficient to see several at a time-Sunday open houses or arranged appointments with your real estate agent are the norm. If you see a sign on a building that looks interesting, call or e-mail your real estate professional to get more information and find out if it’s available and within your budget.
At first, it’s probably worth taking some notes to remind your self about certain properties, so that you don’t forget. It’s not uncommon to revisit properties at a later time-what you didn’t like initially may look better later on.
You’ll get good at weeding out the properties that work and don’t. Once you’ve honed in on a few that look interesting, you’ll need to start doing your due diligence; looking at the disclosures and spending time in the neighborhood to see what pluses and minuses you may encounter.
It’s become commonplace in San Francisco for disclosures to be available for buyer review prior to writing a purchase offer. This is good, in that you get to try to determine the negatives as well as the positives before you take that big step of writing an offer. Hopefully a recent structural pest or general contractor’s report has been done for your review and consideration.
Make sure and look at neighborhood crime statistics through the police and Megan’s Law websites. Here are a few places to look:
Remember that no property is perfect, so focusing on the bigger picture of what the property contains and being willing to work through smaller issues will yield a lot more property options.
There is no right or wrong time to buy a property. When a good property matching your needs comes up, especially if it’s a one of a kind, don’t be afraid to take the leap. In any market, you should consider committing to holding a property for five years or more.
You should be open to finding a property very quickly. I have had clients who found a property right away and did not move on it, only to regret it later. Be clear on how unusual it is (will another property like this come up again), is it fairly priced, or an exceptional opportunity. Conversely, you should expect your real estate professional to let you know if they feel a property selection is best avoided and why.