Saturday, May 31, 2014

Real Estate Miriam answers all.

Ask Real Estate expert Miriam Engeln anything about properties in ARUBA, such as how to invest in real estate, how to maximize occupancy in vacation properties, rental income tips, constructing a house, home exchange, house flipping, retire-/ moving to ARUBA and so on.

This week’s question and answer:

Dora Onyulati: Are there any guidelines or suggestions you can give me as a First Time Homebuyer?

Miriam Engeln; absolutely, here you go - Taking the step into homeownership is a big deal. But before you buy, here are some things to do;

1.    Assess your need.  You don’t want to be buying a home just because you turned 30 or because your friends have started doing it.  Determine whether it’s better for you to buy or rent at this time in your life. Factor in your job and if it’s stable, whether you plan to stay long-term or if you are itching to try something new.  Make sure you are buying a home because you want to and you are ready at this time.

2.    Do the math.  Many people focus on the down payment when they think about buying a home. Yes, the down payment is usually a large chunk of money.  But there are other upfront costs you need to think about – taxes, property insurance, and closing costs for example.  Insurance rates and property taxes will vary per island so you’ll want to check on what they would be.  Closing costs encompass many fees including originations, underwriting, appraisal, title insurance, recording, and closing fees.  It can add up to a surprisingly large number, so it’s good to know it ahead of time.

3.    Be ready.  You’ll want to have all your documents ready to make the process go smoothly.  In most cases you will need an ID, paystubs, and bank and asset statements.  Some of these documents would also have helped you to figure out how financially ready you are to buy a home.  For example, you want to make sure your credit is in great shape before you try to get a mortgage.

4.    Check out the inventory.  A house is likely the largest purchase you’ll ever make, so treat it like other large purchases.  That means you want to shop around as you would for a car, TV, or couch.  It may be time consuming but it’s important to look at comparable homes in the area.  Check out a variety of options to not only find the right one for you but to get a feel for pricing in the area.  Working with a knowledgeable real estate agent can make this part of the process much more enjoyable.

Email your real estate questions to email address; and a selection of your questions will be answered each Saturday in the newspaper Aruba Daily.




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