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3 Mistakes Jamaican Home Buyers Make

BUYING YOUR FIRST HOME IS BOTH A FINANCIAL AND EMOTIONAL DECISION. SO HERE WE PROVIDING 3  MISTAKES  WE HOPE OUR POWER LIVING VIRGIN BUYERS WON’T MAKE IN 2017:

1.      BARGAIN SHOPPING

Jamaicans like to bargain shop. They’ll ask for a discount on something that’s already been discounted! While bargaining can be a legitimate strategy if you believe the property is overpriced, an offer that is too low could come off as offensive or even cause you to lose out on your dream property.

In a buyer’s market, bargaining might be perfect but the current state of the Jamaican real estate market is one where most sellers, especially developers, don’t budge. Remember, many sellers are emotionally tied to the home they’ve invested in and that properties are ‘for sale’ not ‘on sale’.

Power Tip: Where the competition is fierce, going in with a reasonable offer should always be encouraged.

2.     NOT STICKING TO WHAT’S IMPORTANT TO YOU IN A HOME

“Know what thou wantest.” If you have a growing family of five, why look at a 2 bedroom 700sq ft condo in the most expensive neighborhood? For the same reason, a single mom might need to search for a bigger space for a growing son.

Many virgin buyers lose sight of what’s important to them in the process. After many viewings it’s understandable that you become influenced by granite counter tops, 24 hours security, and a pool among other things. Remember this is your first home, stay on budget and consider the most important things to you and your family.

Power tip: Here it is important to analyze how you live and create a checklist of some core ‘home must haves’.

3.     NOT DOING A HOME INSPECTION

“Every girl want fi live a Jacks Hill” in the words of Beenie Man – but with cooler climates come a moisture problem (I could write a book about how I lost 30 pairs of shoe in one year because of moisture living near Jacks Hill). Some areas in Kingston 6, Kingston 8 and Kingston 19, due to their hilly terrain and frequent rainfall have serious moisture issues.

Realize that the home you buy is where you intend to be for years to come and the emotions that come with getting that ‘perfect house’ will wear off. So be practical when doing your home inspection.

Power tip: Find someone you know in the area you want to buy and ask them about any concerns they have may have.Buying your first home is both a financial and emotional decision. So here we fixed up 7 mistakes we hope our Power Living Virgin Buyers won’t make in 2017:

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Can I Afford A Home In Jamaica?

There comes a point in most of our lives when we leave the nest and try to make it on our own. Some of us opt to explore our freedom and create our own space by purchasing a home.  While buying a home can be exciting and thrilling, it can also be an overwhelming experience, especially for virgin home-owners. It demands a certain level of financial maturity, determination and commitment. These make all the difference between just owning a home and being a successful homeowner. So, here I have put together a little checklist to help you decide.

HAVE YOUR ‘UNDER DI MATTRESS STASH’

Granny always says ‘every mickle mek a muckle’. And she is so right. When purchasing a home there is your accepted offer, but outside of that, there are fees associated with home ownership that are paid up front.  These fees include the 10% deposit, closing costs, valuation and surveyors fees as well as your attorney expenses. You should also consider your 1%-3% legal fee. So make sure you have your savings to go in with as you can use it to cover these additional costs.

MONEY ROLLING IN

It’s always great to have steady monthly income. Ideally, a mortgage should account for 30-40% of that.  Other expenses such as insurance, property taxes and monthly maintenance fees can eat away at your income and fast. Furthermore, you are now the landlord and you will have to foot the bill for unexpected maintenance costs associated with plumbing, water heater, doors, damages during hurricanes, etc. These costs could all be buffered by a steady stream of monthly funds. Bear in mind that an inability to make three consecutive mortgage payments may result in penalties or even repossession.

CAN YOU SAY ‘I DO’?

A house is not a pet, nor is it that new pair of shoes you saved for, only to wear it a few times before deciding it was out of style. You can’t dispose of a home that easily. Chances are, if you’ve been pre-approved for a mortgage, you will have to make anywhere between a 10 – 30 year commitment.  This requires some level of certainty, for instance, knowing the type of house that best suits your future needs and where you would want to live. Why buy a studio knowing you want a large family in 3 years?  And why buy now when you plan to relocate in 6 months, or worse if you have plans to migrate? Think about your life goals and how you want to live as it will determine the level of commitment you can make to your future home.

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Top 3 Thing You Must Know Before Renting In Jamaica

JAMAICA IS CURRENTLY IN A RENTER’S MARKET. SO FOR ALL OF YOU READY TO MAKE THAT BIG MOVE TO RENT YOUR FIRST APARTMENT, SINGLE FAMILY HOME OR COMMERCIAL SPACE, IF YOU HAVE A BUSINESS, THEN HERE ARE THE TOP 3 THINGS TO KNOW.

1. LET’S TALK BUDGET

Most of us want our dream home, you know, that mansion overlooking the Caribbean Sea. But remember, that all things perfect, come perfectly priced. So what is your budget? Let’s start by being realistic about what you can afford and how much it will cost to live every month. Remember, you have to get that bill paid in full and on time for the duration of your lease. My suggestion, ensure you have about 3 – 4 month’s rent already in the bank because anything can happen. Also, try to keep your rent payment to about 28%-30% of your salary because you will need cash for your other basic needs.

2. WHERE TO RENT AND WHAT TO RENT

Now that you have decided on your budget, your search begins. I will always suggest that you get a realtor. Why? Because we have access to computer systems and databasesthat gives us information on hot new listings daily. It’s easy to go online and click on a pretty picture. But the pretty picture will not tell you everything, for instance, what is the crime situation in the area or is it a good neighbourhood for schools?

3. RENTING ALONE, WITH BAE, OR WITH A FRIEND?

Ok let’s get real. You have to know who you are getting in bed with, literally and not so literally.  But no seriously, you have to be really smart about choosing a roommate. Sometimes when lovers fall out of love, all common sense gets kicked out the door and there is no part on your lease agreement that says, ‘for payment, guh ask mi boyfren’. Many times if your roommate or business partner forfeits their agreement, you have to ultimately pay their share of the rent. Are you prepared for that?

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Renting In Jamaica – Security Deposits

IN A PREVIOUS POST, WE DISCUSSED THREE THINGS YOU MUST KNOW BEFORE RENTING. NOW WE WILL TAKE IT A STEP FURTHER AND EXPLORE LEASE AGREEMENTS, THE AUTOMATIC RENEWAL CLAUSE AND WHAT EVERYONE WANTS TO KNOW ABOUT – SECURITY DEPOSITS.

LEASE AGREEMENT

This is a legally binding agreement, so please make sure you read it, read it and read it again! I would suggest you ensure that anything you discuss with your realtor or your landlord, is written in the agreement before you sign it. A lease agreement can be one of the most expensive things to get out of. So, again, weh mi sey you fi do? Read it, read it and read it again!

Also, for people who want to live in apartments or townhouses, check if the maintenance fee is included in your rent or if this is a separate charge because obviously, you will need to budget for that expense every month.

YOUR AUTOMATIC RENEWAL CLAUSE

Be sure to check when your lease ends and how much notice you need to give your landlord if you decide to move out. Remember that some leases are renewed automatically and may require that you give a 30-days notice or even a 60-days notice. Read your lease agreement and make a note of when your lease expires.

AND THE BIG ONE – SECURITY DEPOSITS!

Most landlords require a security deposit. This is generally money held in reserve just in case you decide not to uphold the agreement that you signed. My suggestion to tenants who have a problem with security deposits – you have a choice, rent somewhere else.

Now, if it really bothers you that you have paid a security deposit and you believe the landlord is withholding it even though you left the apartment in good condition, then this is something that you can take to the rent board. For truly, you can’t be charged on regular wear and tear of the apartment (important: upon moving in, take pictures). On the other hand, I know how some people can get. You can’t go into someone’s place, destroy it and then complain that they are withholding your security deposit. Put yourself in the shoe of the landlord. If they have given you something that they have invested in, then they expect that you should treat it with the same level of respect as you would your own – if not, you’re going to end up paying for it.

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Top 5 Things To Ask Your Landlord Before Signing Your Lease

THEY SAY A BIRD THAT KEEPS ITS MOUTH SHUT, NEVER GETS FED. IN THIS POST, WE’LL BE LOOKING AT 5 THINGS THAT YOU SHOULD ASK YOUR LANDLORD BEFORE SIGNING THAT LEASE AGREEMENT.

CAN I MAKE THIS SPACE MY OWN?

If you are renting your own apartment or home, the idea is to be comfortable, right? But remember, your taste could be completely different from that of your landlord’s. So before you put that fire engine red paint on the living room walls or hang that creative DIY metal chandelier on the 12 ft ceiling, I would suggest that you first get permission from your landlord, and preferably, in writing.

ARE PETS ALLOWED?

Luckily for us in Jamaica, landlords don’t stick out on charging a pet deposit. Yea, you read right, a pet deposit. Some will tell you point blank – no pets allowed. Pets can cause major damage, whether trained or untrained, and the price of getting pee stains and odours out of the landlord’s carpet can be a pretty sum. So before you move that pet into your new home or apartment, check if it is okay with your landlord.

WHO TAKES CARE OF THE LAWN?

Do you live in an apartment or townhouse complex that collects a monthly maintenance fee or do you live in a single or multiple family home? Who takes care of the lawn depends on these questions. In Jamaica, if you live in a townhouse or an apartment that collects a monthly maintenance fee, that will generally pay for the upkeep of the pool, the gym and other shared spaces which include the lawn. But if you live in a single or multiple family home, your landlord might require you to take care of that expense.

WHO ARE MY NEIGHBOURS?

Do they work? Any children? Do they keep dance and church? Are they smokers? It is not too forward of you to ask. You see, finding out who your neighbours are,  will help you to make a more informed decision because they will affect your quiet enjoyment in your new space.

SO, WHAT’S INCLUDED?

It’s never good to assume that a new apartment will come with appliances. Even if you are renting ‘uptown’ baby, where the price might be a little higher, it is always better to ask what is included in the apartment. Sometimes it might be a pleasant surprise what perks are included.