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Should politics affect our purchase?

Dear Heather,

We’re tired of throwing our money away on rent. We want to buy our own piece of the rock but with all the political upheaval worldwide we’re not sure if now is the right time, or how it will affect Bermuda. On an economic level I’m not sure if I can afford all of the expenses that come with having a mortgage, or the responsibility!

Hesitant

Dear Hesitant,

For most people, buying a home is the most significant investment of their lives. And in spite of the doubt and confusion clouding both the financial markets and political headlines here and overseas, there are many genuine real estate opportunities, especially for first-time buyers. On average, housing inventory is good, prices are lower but stable, and historical data demonstrates that purchasing a home has always been a proven and sound long-term financial investment. Real estate often weathers stormy markets better than investments - unless you are very savvy. However, first-time homebuyers are often understandably anxious when it comes time to making the purchase.

Check through the following helpful list:

• Get preapproved by your loan officer

Why? Because they will let you know your financial parameters so that you don’t overextend yourself. They will let you know what you can afford and, being preapproved puts you in the best position to make an offer and move forward quickly.

• Define your needs versus your wants

If you are buying your first home it is almost certain you will have to compromise something on your wish list. Making a list of needs versus wants before starting the process can make it less overwhelming.

• Be an informed buyer

Check with your real estate agent on zoning restrictions or condo rules and regulations for the property you hope to buy. If you are unsure of the neighbourhood take a walk, or drive by after 5pm or at the weekend.

• Are you purchasing a property for $750,000 or under?

If you are Bermudian or a Bermudian with a non-Bermudian spouse, you should know that the Government of Bermuda offers exemption from payment of stamp duty on the conveyance of the property you purchase which can save you as much as $12,000 on your transaction.

• Work with an agent

An agent can help guide you through the process step by step, offer advice and support, educate you about the process and, if you’re a buyer, it’s free! It is the seller who pays the commission.

• Do what’s right for you

If you are planning on staying in your home for a decade or more, short-term fluctuations in the house’s underlying value shouldn’t make a difference. After all, the purpose of your own home is to provide you with shelter, security, pride of ownership, independence, stability, a solid tangible asset you can live in, a community and an improved quality of life. A property is a tangible investment and protects you against rent fluctuations and difficult landlords. At the end of the day purchasing a home is your investment towards moving yourself to a better future. I would recommend that you start taking the first steps. In the long run, I think you’ll be glad you did.

Happy house hunting!

Heather Chilvers is among Coldwell Banker Bermuda Realty’s leading sales representatives. She has been working in real estate for 27 years. If you have a question for Heather, please contact her at hchilvers@brcl.bm or 332-1793. All questions will be treated in confidence. Read this article on Facebook: Ask Heather Real Estate

A time to buy?: with all the political upheaval worldwide we're not sure if now is the right time, or how it will affect Bermuda