Guide to buying a house/apartment

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Guide to buying a house/apartment

Guide to buying a house/apartment

Buying a house is said to be one of the biggest expenses in our lives. Because of this, prior to your purchase it's important to find as much information as possible, allowing you to make an informed decision about which type of property you wish to buy. Before buying you want to find the perfect house, but... how? Here is a guide full of information and resources.

Fist of all, narrow your search down bearing the following in mind;

  • How much money are you willing to spend? (Do you have any savings? Are you planning on selling your old house? What is your debt capacity?)
  • What kind of home are you looking for? (In what area? How big? In what conditions? etc.)
  • Once you have found a few houses that you are interested in, go see them and make sure that they offer the possibilities to create your dream home.
  • Don't forget, rushing into a purchase is never good, it is better to plan ahead, keeping an eye on the market until you find exactly what you are looking for.

Area: The area you choose to live in will determine you living conditions and living expenses. To choose the ideal area, you should ask yourself the following questions;

  • Location: Do you want to live Down Town, in the suburbs, the older parts, a residential area, or maybe private neighborhood?
  • What does the area provide?: Stores, schools, hospitals, parks, sporting possibilites?
  • Transportation: Are there buses in the area, is it far away from work/school?
  • Security: Is it a very transited area, a quite area, poorly illuminated, is there a door man?
  • Urban Planning: What are the plans for local construction? Are they planting more trees, or building more houses? A new road?

Size: You need to define the size of the home you need. Analyze the needs of actual and future people who would live there. You can quantify these needs doing the following:

  • In square meters, the space.
  • In function of the number of rooms you will need.

Type: Now you should think what type of house you prefer. Different types of constructions have different advantages and disadvantages, for example:

  • Family house, villa, etc.
  • Height homes: duplex, apartment, study, office; of choosing an apartment, you should take into account the following:

Expenses: Each one of the owners of an apartment in a building, has to pay, in relations to the percentage they occupy in the building, the costs of the administration, maintenance and repair of common property. The amount is billed periodically to the one in charge of the administration, and must be paid by all the co-proprietary of the building.

Common Expenses: Regular costs of a building:
  • Salary of the janitor.
  • Cleaning articles
  • Costs for electricity, water and gas of the building
  • Maintenance of elevators and the water pump.

Irregular Expenses: This cost isn`t monthly, but it can`t be avoided either. It includes, paint, internal and external fixing (total or partial), as well as fixing big problems which go out of the regular budget. The payment should be solved in an assembly of the co-proprietary.

Common Installations: Elevators and freight elevators, their quality would depend of their technical aspects and the security measures with which they count.

Security: You should take a look at security measures in case of a fire and the extinguishers that the building is equipped with.

New: Is it new or has it been bought and sold before?

Advantages: Being a new home, you have the possibility to choose its characteristics and construction materials with more freedom. If it`s still on the drawing board (1) or under construction (2), it`s possible that you might make modifications that will suit you needs and likes.

Disadvantages: In most of the cases a new building or house is more expensive.

(1) ¿What is a house on the drawing board? The house that is still just a project and is presented to the buyer in sketches and plans.

(2) ¿What is a house under construction? What is offered to the buyer is a project that has already gone through some of the construction faces.

Second Hand: A second hand construction is one that it is already been built and has already been sold, in one or more occasions. Regularly it will be used, but the case were it isn`t used, can take place (Ex: The previous owner bought it while it was still just a project or while it was under construction, and you buy it before the construction is completed). Advantages: Second Hand is, most of the time, cheaper than New. In the real state business there are interesting opportunities that can be taken advantage of. Disadvantages: If you choose a second hand, you should look at its current state and evaluate how much money you`ll be spending to repair it, to leave it how you want it.

  • You should make an inspection of visible parts (carpentry, floors, painting, etc.), since it can be difficult (almost impossible) to get your money back, once the purchase is done.
  • You can ask a professional to give you some advice on the state of the installations (pipes, electricity and gas) and about the structure (beams, pillars).
  • To valuate the home, you should take into account if it comes with furniture or not. If it does have them, you should think about how much you care about that.

Houses on the drawing board and under construction present similar advantages.


  • If you want to adapt the house or apartment to suit your needs better, you can negotiate with the construction company. When doing this modifications from the beginning, they can be applied easier and it will be cheaper than doing them after the construction is done.


  • The risks are higher than when buying a finished construction, because there are things you won`t be able to test directly. To avoid set backs you can research on the construction company, to make a fileon the company`s constructions, sales and managing in general.

Garage: Another consideration should be if you want a garage or not, even if you got a car or not. If you plan on buying one in the future, it will prove to be very valuable.

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