When one comes to a stage in their life to make a decision to purchase their first house, this is a great step, it is, in fact, a pivotal moment in an individual’s life. Purchasing a piece of real estate means that you will now become the owner of a property.
The expectations may seem overwhelming at first, but it is important to be prepared before venturing out on this new ideal. We will look at some of these steps.
How long will it take to complete the purchase? This time period could last from as short as six months to as long as 30 months (2 ½ years). The length of time will be determined by how prepared you were and if you acquired the appropriate help along the journey of your home-buying process.
What is the first step to take? One has to first decide what will be used to purchase this house. Will you be using cash from your savings or will you be seeking financing? Houses may cost anywhere from J$1 million to J$500 million. There are viable options to obtain financing the cheapest of all is through the National HousingTrust (www.nht.gov.jm). Other options include Victoria Mutual Building Society, JN, your Credit Union or even your own bankers. It would be advisable to seek pre-approval from the lending institution so that you can have an idea of how much you will be able to afford. This will guide you in making your house choice.
Hire a Real Estate Agent. Why hire a real estate agent? What will it cost me? The buyer does not pay the agent, the vendor does. Real Estate agents have a wealth of knowledge and expertise about the buying process, the housing market and the art of negotiation. The Real Estate Board of Jamaica (reb.gov.jm) may be consulted for a list of authorized and registered agents to choose from or you made ask your colleagues for referrals.
Make a grocery list of your wants and desires in a house. Would you want a stand-alone house or an apartment? How many bedrooms and bathrooms? Location-wise, would you want to live near to work or home or church or school? Do you prefer a house with an ocean view or a house with a large property?
Search the classifieds. If you are not depending on your agent to provide you with options, search the classified ads.
Visit your prospects. Have your agent and your trusted family member and/or friend accompany you to look at possible purchases.
Make an offer. Your agent can guide you on what to offer when you have made a selection.
Last Lap. Hire a housing inspector or a builder/contractor to help to determine if the building has any infrastructure issues. This will help with your final decision.
Loan Approval. The approval of your loan also depends on the following:
- A report from appraiser to determine the market value of the property
- A Land surveyor’s report to ensure the borders of the property
- The results of a title search to determine if there is a caveat against the property.
Any further information may be sought from the Real Estate Board.