Looking to purchase your first home in a thriving urban area? If so, then you'll likely run into some unique challenges while house-hunting, especially when compared to those of shopping for a first home in the suburbs. Fortunately, by following a few tips and guidelines, you'll ultimately be able to find your ideal home (or condo) in no time.
An Agent is Your Best Friend
Shopping for residential real estate is hard; it's even harder when you're looking to buy in a high-demand urban area, such as downtown in a large city. This is where having an experienced real estate agent will truly make all the difference. Specifically, be sure to work with an agent who has proven experience and knowledge of the downtown market. Remember: as a first-time buyer, you won't need to pay any commissions to your real estate agent since these commissions are almost always paid for by the seller. When you look at it this way, there's really no good reason to not have a real estate agent on your side!
Take Time to Research HOAs
In most cases when you're buying downtown in a large city, you're going to be looking more at shared housing developments (such as condominiums and duplexes) than single-family homes. Even if you do see any stand-alone homes, they will likely be part of a community HOA. With that in mind, take some time to research any HOAs that your new home could be a part of so you know what to expect in terms of monthly fees and what's included with those costs (such as lawn care, exterior maintenance, and security).
Save Money in the Outskirts
As you begin your search downtown, there's a good chance you'll find that your money doesn't go quite as far as it would if you were house-hunting in the suburbs. This is all a matter of simple supply and demand. If you want to stay near the action but get a little more real estate for your money, consider looking for real estate options in the outskirts of the city or in up-and-coming neighborhoods. Your real estate agent should be able to help you find the neighborhoods that will work best for your needs and lifestyle.
These are just a few tips to keep in mind if you're in the process of shopping for downtown real estate. Above all else, make sure you have experienced real estate agents downtown on your side throughout the entire process!