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California Trends Guides Home Buying USA

Frequently Asked Questions Of Users When It Comes To Buying Real Estate

How to start buying real estate

The first step when buying real estate is to gather adequate information. When buying a property, if you have friends with an architect or civil engineer, invite them to take a look at the apartment you like. You will need the presence of a lawyer when you need to look at the documentation on the property you are interested in.

If you live in your own apartment, and you have the financial means to afford another one, consider the security of the real estate investment and possible ways to earn from that investment. Take a look at as many apartments or projects under construction and choose the one that suits you best. Whatever you decide, carefully compare it with the competition beforehand. You can evaluate some things yourself, and expert advice can help you with that.

1. Is new or old construction better?

New construction can be bad when buying real estate is an issue, but also great. Inquire about the method of construction, materials used and finishing of apartments. On the other hand, estimate how much money you need to renovate an old apartment. Keep in mind that you can renovate the apartment, but you cannot renovate the entire building, common installations, driveways, common rooms. Of course, when renovating, you have more opportunities to redecorate the apartment to your liking.

2. How to assess price adequacy?

When determining the price, investors take into account the costs they had until then. The price is related to the construction land and obtaining the necessary permits, then the location where the facility will be located, the quality and price of materials used in construction… The most significant impact on the price has the location. Apartment prices have recently reached a minimum with a tendency of significant and rapid recovery. If you want an apartment in a metropolitan area, the high price should not surprise you. In suburbs and the wider city area, you can find quality apartments for half the price you would pay in the city center.

3. Which location is best for buying an apartment?

The best location is where you can afford an apartment. Buying real estate is a big deal. With the expansion of cities, the centers gain their tourist significance, but the functionality of life in them decreases. When choosing a location, consider traveling to work, keeping in mind the frequent traffic jams. For family life, pay attention to the proximity of schools, kindergartens, markets, places for recreation. In large cities, traffic connection by public transport is of special importance.

4. How to protect ourselves from risks when buying an apartment?

During the verification of pre-contracts and agreements, notaries public check before verification and immediately after verification enter data on the real estate that is the subject of sale in a single database, to which all notaries have access. In that way, the possibility of any abuse was reduced, in the sense of double sale of the same real estate. For buyers who buy an apartment in a new building, it is desirable to have an insight into the investor’s documentation, especially the building permit.

5. How to choose the most favorable bank for raising a housing loan?

In order to choose the most favorable bank, it is necessary to go to several of them and compare the conditions they offer you. When comparing, one of the most important elements for you is the effective interest rate (EIR).

How much money do we need for additional costs when buying an apartment?

Before buying an apartment, it is necessary to get information about additional costs, so that you would not be surprised at a later stage of the purchase. If you buy an apartment with your own financial resources, you will have notary fees, taxes on the transfer of absolute rights and a possible commission of the bank for money transactions. If you are a user of a housing loan, the costs are much higher, so it is necessary to get precise information from your banker about how much money you need to have at your disposal and what you need, because these costs can amount to several thousand euros.

Choose a registered apartment

If the apartment meets the technical requirements, here are the things to pay attention to when it comes to paperwork:

  1. – it is safest to buy an apartment that is already registered
  2. – the title deed must not be older than one day
  3. – if the owner is married, you should also have the consent of his spouse on the sale of real estate
  4. – if it is an apartment from inheritance, the seller should enclose a decision on inheritance, with a clause on validity and decisions that tax has been paid and that a request for registration has been submitted
  5. – if the apartment is from divorce, both spouses should give consent to the sale of the apartment or proof that the apartment belonged to the one who sells it
  6. – one should be careful when the apartments are inherited according to the contract for life support. Insist that a probate hearing and registration of the apartment be done.

In addition to the obligatory checking of the paper, it is very important to check what material the building is made of, what is the position of the apartment or what is the sound insulation.

6. A few universal rules

Shortlisted properties for purchase visit several times at different times of the day to see some important factors for living and spending time in the apartment / house:

  1. Light at different times of the day
  2. The possibility of ventilation
  3. Noise

If you own a car, parking opportunities are a very important issue in most cities in Serbia, which are “zoned”.

Whether you are buying an apartment or a house, it is good to talk to a cheerful tenant / neighbor, everything useful can be learned from the natives.

Ask a friend / acquaintance, an architect or someone who has experience with renovations, to look at the property you choose, because an expert may draw your attention to some problems you are not aware of (eg obsolescence of installations, limitations in planning a new layout in the apartment,), and which could later lead to unforeseen costs.

If your monthly budget is “tight” and you like to keep your fixed expenses under control – ask about the amount of the bill for the info station, the amount of taxes, etc. Also, check with the owner if there are any contractual obligations with the cable TV, telecommunications or internet operator, whose validity is in force, because if you do not want these services, you must agree with the owner to regulate it, because without him you will not be able to.

If you have a pet that you take for a walk, take a walk along potential routes, pay attention to forbidden zones and specially fenced zones for dogs, of which there are more and more. The proximity of animal feed stores and veterinarians is also important, in emergencies.

7. If it is a new building

The biggest problem with a large number of new buildings is the saving on insulation materials and equipment of apartments, so it would be good to check with an expert primarily whether the apartment is adequately insulated, and then some “little things” that you later can significantly reduce living comfort – sound insulation in the ceiling (if the apartment above is not yet occupied, try to ask someone to talk a little louder and walk briskly – those who hear the neighbors will know what I’m talking about), the thickness of the wall between your apartment and the next (If the neighbors are noisy or violent, this can be a big problem).

With new constructions, there are various deviations from the project and the urban plan, so it can happen (especially in suburban settlements) that the building is improperly close to the neighboring one, so pay attention to whether someone can peek into your plate and still be in your apartment. .

However, there are also good new constructions and you will soon understand that in terms of the price per square meter and the equipment of the building / residential complex. In addition to some advantages related to the safety and maintenance of the building (24h porter, maintenance service), modern condominiums are often built using the principles of energy efficiency (use of solar / thermal energy, better thermal insulation, use of “gray” water, etc.), which can significantly affect the reduction of fixed monthly costs.

8. If it is an old building

When buying an apartment in an old building, the most important thing is to estimate the amount of investment as close as possible to the condition in which you want the property. You definitely need the help of experts for that, but keep in mind that you have to add 20-40% to the estimated value of the investment, due to unforeseen costs and changes in decisions during the works (it is often the case, for example, to replace parquet and work, and when the old parquet is removed, in older apartments it usually turns out that the substrate – cement screed – has failed and can not accept new parquet, so the old must be broken, removed and poured new, which is a significant new cost and extension of works).

Installations – their strength, type and condition – are very important to examine. Many old apartments and houses have single-phase electricity, which cannot withstand the load made by modern household appliances and machines, so all electrical installations need to be replaced. Also, old water and sewage pipes can be rotten, so it is good to replace them.

What is also a big issue is the type of heating. Electric heating and tiled stoves do not bring the thermal comfort characteristic of central steam heating, families with small children and the elderly should avoid them. Often in old buildings, tenants decide to replace the installations and introduce central heating, so that investment can be expected in the foreseeable future.

10. If you are buying a family home

For families with children or couples who are planning to have children, it is important to pay attention to walking routes and the proximity of green areas, as well as areas where groups of children can play safely. Also, pay attention to public lighting, if you have children, it is very important that the area is well lit.

The proximity of kindergartens and schools, and possibly sports, children’s and cultural centers with a good offer of activities for children, is also important, so that it does not become a true joke that “driving is half parenthood”.

In the building itself, it is important that there is an elevator, if you are above the second floor, because of the prams and other “luggage” that parents carry every day.

If you are buying a “girl’s” or “boy’s” apartment

If you are in your mature years or if you are sensitive to noise and easy sleep – check:

  • – who lives in the apartment above not to be there, but to expect the children to sit quietly at home)
  • – street traffic (our old buses can make a lot of noise)
  • – are there any commercial / industrial facilities or craft plants nearby
  • – are there nightclubs nearby (sometimes difficult to see from the street)
  • – someone may be bothered by the noise from the school yard / kindergarten, check if there are any in the neighborhood

Older people may be bothered by insufficient thermal comfort, and therefore should look for an apartment with central heating.

11. If you are buying a house

When buying a house, it is important for a professional to check the roof (if nothing has been done on it for more than 30 years, you will probably have a larger investment in the foreseeable future) – pay attention to the smell of melt masked. Try to come up with a project or architectural drawings of the house, which mark the positions of installations and structural elements – it will be of great importance to you in the operation and maintenance of the house, and possible work. Try to find out if there is a problem with groundwater in the end, and from the previous owner how old the plumbing, sewage and electrical installations are.


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