Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Make your property search easier

Back in the day (the dark ages, if you want to be snarky about it), most people looking for property listings relied solely on the Sunday classified ads - the three or four lines of 10-point letters in newsprint describing what could be their home in the near future. 

Use advanced search - most property websites have an 'advanced search' where you can specify in detail what you are looking for.

These days, we do our searching almost exclusively online, accessing the numerous choices for sites and their seemingly endless listings of properties all over the country. With just a few clicks or taps we can look for properties to rent or buy; and all with our specifications and requirements already considered from location, type, size, and price range. These listings typically include images (and sometimes, video) as well, giving us even more access faster and easier than ever before. 

Here are tips for making your property search that much easier... 

  • Decide what you want - Think about your ideal home - is it a starter apartment, freestanding family house or a high-rise condo? How many bedrooms do you need? What kind of lifestyle are you looking for and how long do you intend to stay there? Also, establish what is a necessity and what is a 'like to have'.
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  • What can you afford? - It might be a good idea to have a chat with your bank beforehand to help you establish what you can actually afford to buy and what home loan you may qualify for. To avoid searching in price ranges above your current capabilities, hone your search to save time and disappointment.
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  • Use advanced search - Most property websites have an 'advanced search' where you can specify in detail what you are looking for. Rather than spend time wading through endless listings that are unsuitable, set your criteria to narrow the search.
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  • Register on property websites to receive alerts of homes for sale in your selected areas and price range. This will save you the time and hassle of having to keep checking for new listings.
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  • Property features - Narrow your search even further by deciding what features are a must-have, for example, a balcony, swimming pool, built-in closets, air conditioning etc.

Aside from the accessibility, another big difference between old-style newspaper classified advertising and online property sites is that real estate brokers, the go-between for the buyer and seller or landlord and tenant, usually post these listings. 

What role do real estate brokers play and is it essential to work with them? Real estate brokers are professionals registered with and licensed by the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) to assist clients with real estate transactions most commonly to buy, sell or rent properties. 

Many people selling or renting out property commonly work with brokers to deal with the buyers or tenants. Having brokers who understand the way the system works and who can ensure that all requirements and paperwork are in order is a safer option for most. 

When you see a listing that interests you, do not be intimidated by the presence of a broker. They’re there specifically so that you can contact them and answer your questions. When a property is not listed exclusively with a particular broker, you have the option of talking to others until you find someone you can deal with comfortably. 

Whether you’re looking to buy, sell or rent, the services of a real estate broker can be invaluable. Check out credentials before deciding to work with one, especially if he or she was not referred to you by trusted sources. Verify their professional license via the PRC’s website and do not hesitate to ask for references.  


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