Buying a home? Here are tips to get you started

Home for sale

Buying real estate is a big decision that you should not take lightly since it is a major life event.

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When Caroline Koech saw an opportunity in a growing city where property prices were steep and people needed options when it came to buying quality homes, she co-founded Koch Properties Limited, a real estate company in Nairobi.

Having been a realtor for two years now, she has carved out a niche for herself, guiding a variety of clients through the complex processes of purchasing, selling or renting properties.

“Whether it’s marketing a home or sitting with a buyer for a consultation, at the end of the day, that client should feel supported and heard.”

We engaged her on the dos and don’ts when it comes to buying a home.

Dos when buying for investment:

Buying real estate is a big decision that you should not take lightly since it is a major life event. Whether or not you are a first-time home buyer, the home-buying process can be challenging. Like any big project, it is all about getting the details right from start to finish.

Start by creating a wish list

Whether you are looking for a starter home or somewhere you picture yourself living for years to come, there are lots of little details and bigger decisions you might make when drawing up your list - which type of home will best suit my needs: a duplex, a townhouse, a condominium or an apartment? Which specific features do you want your ideal home to have?

While it is good to have some flexibility in this list, that purchase should fit your needs and wants as closely as possible.
Work with a budget - what can you afford?

If you’re buying a home for the first time, before you start house hunting, you need to determine how much you can afford. Keep in mind that homeownership comes with several maintenance costs that you do not need to worry about while renting, meaning, you may need to budget extra for lawyers and other costs.

Getting your finances in order before embarking on a search can make all the difference in a competitive market. Consider your income and existing monthly expenses. Ask yourself what your price range is and how much you can save per month.

Determining your budget and how much financial wiggle room you have can help put your must-haves more clearly into view.

Don’ts you should avoid

Not hiring a Realtor

A real estate agent is a tremendous resource. You might think to yourself that you do not need an agent, but getting professional help will make the process of buying your home much easier.

Caroline Koech is the co-founder of Koch Properties Limited, a real estate company.

Caroline Koech is the co-founder of Koch Properties Limited, a real estate company.

Photo credit: Pool

Their knowledge about the market value of homes can be extremely valuable, and best of all, it does not cost you anything to use an agent. Your agent will look out for your best interests by finding homes that meet your criteria, get you showings and help you negotiate. Having an agent by your side can help you navigate the real estate market.

Becoming emotionally attached

If you’re a seller, you cannot afford to become emotionally attached to your home. This just makes it more difficult to declutter, depersonalise and stage. All these factors are essential to attracting buyers who can envision themselves living in your house. At the end of the day, your house is a piece of property being sold as a financial transaction.

Keeping your emotions in check and focusing on the practical aspects of selling your house allows you to have a more successful sale and make more money off the sale.

Advice to buyers and investors

If you can afford it, stop waiting, buy today.

Buying a home in 2023 means you will be investing in an appreciating asset, building equity and wealth over time, increasing stability in your life, and possibly even saving money.

All of these factors make owning a home a sound investment for anyone looking to buy in the near future. Although there are no guarantees in life or real estate, the potential benefits of buying a house far outweigh the risks. Navigating the real estate market can be challenging, therefore, it is important to have a plan that goes beyond simply buying any property you come across.

Before you fire up those real estate search engines, you must think specifically about your dream home, sit down and make a list of your needs and wants — and yes, those are two different things. If you skip this step, you are only setting yourself up for disappointment further down the road, therefore, to get ahead in a market full of so many options, the key is preparation.

A buyer should also do due diligence when it comes to researching the market. Look at potential locations and thoroughly research neighbourhoods, compare prices, and consider mortgage options that work for you.

It is also important to start saving early. Begin by opening a savings account so that you can set aside money each month and build up your credit score.

Get an idea of how much you will require for the down payment and other costs and also come up with a realistic budget. Once you have this, it will be easier to plan for your goal of owning a home.