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Home Buying Tips for Colombia Real Estate

All home buying tips could be resume in three words:
Use common sense.

But sometimes is not that obvious. Especially if your buying in a foreign country and you have to deal with language an legal differences. I tryied to brief some of the home buying tips in the following ten points.

1.- Always look for professional advise.
Well it sounds a little of self promotion, but that's the way it is. It's the first thing to do when buying a home overseas. That will help you to avoid headaches. Get yourself a professional one, look at the websites; a good one will seem genuinely concerned about informing homebuyers. You will be temped to ask the aunt of your colombian wife who lives there, or the retire father's friend for help in buying real estate in Colombia and save some money.

People normally pays 10% to 12% tip in a restaurant, even if the service is bad; but don't want to pay 3% for a professional service in something such important as the buying a home. An experienced agent will help you to find the right property and take the headache out of property searches especially if you do not speak Spanish. Well, you can go by your own also. But think it harder before you do it. You always get what you pay, or as we say here in Colombia: “the cheapest thing turns out to be more expensive”

2.- Information, Information, Information.
Gather enough and accurate information about the local market, the local economy, and whatever you need to make you feel confident. You don't need to become an expert in Colombia. But becoming familiar with some basic aspects, will give you a general view about how the home buying market is working. Compare prices, know what are the best areas, interest rates, types of construction, etc. That's what this website is about. Provide the most valuable content to help you make a decision. We have also other ways to keep you up-to-date with real estate market news and related issues: Subscribing to my free e-zine; joinning Facebook Group, Colombia real estate network in Linked_in or our Colombia_Realty Tweeter updates .

3.- Narrow your location choices to just a few places.
You can be overwhelmed by hundreds of projects posted on the net. Once you have a local overview, you can start narrowing your choices. This is especial important in big cities like Bogotá or Medellin. In small towns like Bucaramanga maybe it's easier to choose. Prioritize what it is important for you when making the home buying decision. Nearby your work place, schools, shops, amenities, etc. Make sure surrounding properties are of a similar standard and size.

4.- Think of Valuation (future resale value or if it will make a good rental).
This is important wether if your buying for investment purpose or as a second home. Not necessarily the bigger the house the better to sell. In Colombia two or three bathrooms apartments properties have the quickest sell-on value. In deciding usually women have the last word, so a big kitchen is a must and two bathrooms it's a plus.

5.- Get some local legal advise.
Commonly people in Colombia don't use an attorney when buying a home. Normally Notaries gives you information about all related clauses included in a deed. But to foreign buyers could be relevant to have professional advice in tax and overseas investment related issues. I'm not an expert in taxes and accounting issues but I work with those who are, bringing together a group of leading experts in those subjects.

6.- Be sure of what you really want.
Sometimes we don't even know what we really want. But Take your time to think about it. Make a priority list of your home wishes. Determine your housing needs. Apartment, house, studio, loft, condo. Is it a holiday home?; a temporary home or an investment. How important are the amenities. Are you looking for short-term gain or regular long-term income? If buying for investment, it is important that you understand the risk factor and you are comfortable with it.

7.- Stay focus. Don't waste your time.
You will be tempted to buy something that is not what you really need. You don't want to be wasting time viewing property that is wholly inappropriate or completely unaffordable. However, you must go looking for your home with an open mind. You'll soon realize that it is virtually impossible to find exactly what you want, so you may need to compromise on some issues, you prioritize your requirements.

8.- Stick to your budget.
Stay within your budget and consider what you are buying and allow for extras. Consider future expenses as maintenance fees ( the more amenities the higher maintenance fees, or the more the number of units per community the lower the fees), taxes ( higher strata pays more property tax).

9.- Check taxes, and foreign investment laws.
Make sure you are aware of foreign investment law and tax implications involved. Sometimes you can miss some benefits you have as a foreign investor.

10.- When you find a property negotiate your best deal.
Use the information you have acquired and always ask for a discount !When buying a home directly to the owner, he/she normally will tend to overvalue his property because the buyer always undervalue it. So a seller usually will expect a lower offer for his property. Unless the asking price is follow by the words "not negotiable".For new developments and off-plan projects prices are fix. But you can always get financial discounts depending on the payment proposed.

Some of this home buying tips are the same as in your home country. But when buying a home overseas it is a must not to skip them away!.


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