Buying an apartment: can you afford it?
The first advice for buying a house is to ask yourself if your financial situation allows you to do so. There are two possibilities :
- you have the full amount needed to cover not only the selling price of the house, but also all the other additional costs that I will discuss in a moment;
- you only have part of the money you need, or even none of it: in this case, you must necessarily apply for a mortgage loan.
I was telling you that there are several costs to consider when you want to buy real estate:
- the price of the house asked by the seller;
- If the seller is a builder, you must add VAT to the price;
- if the purchase is made through a real estate agency, you must also take into account the fees of the latter, which correspond to a small percentage of the price indicated in the contract concluded with them (which still translates into thousands of CHF);
- notary fees;
- the registration tax for the deed of sale and the cost of transcribing it;
the costs of any restructuring.
What condition is the property in? Is it habitable, equipped with the necessary comfort, or does it need to be renovated? Take it to a trusted company and request a quote. Then add to the amount requested by the company a good 30% more:
- often, in fact, during the work, there are unforeseen events that lead to additional costs. Also take into account that, if you are renovating the property, you will need a technician to draw up a project and take care of the administrative formalities with the competent offices: therefore remember to pay his fees as well;
- any extraordinary expenses of a condominium nature. We will come back to joint ownership in detail later; for now, I am only telling you that you should find out if there are any resolutions approving extraordinary expenses, such as the renovation of the facade or other common areas of the building. Find out how much you will have to pay if you become the owner of the house.
Once you have calculated the amount you need, make sure you have it. If not, you need to contact a bank. Consider that to get an apartment mortgage , you need to have enough income to cover the payment.
Calculate how much money you can really afford to spend on your mortgage payments.
What should you pay attention to when visiting the house?
Some tips for buying a house are given when visiting the house, either with the seller or with the real estate agent. There are a number of very important things you need to look out for when viewing your home to see if it is worth buying.
- If you are unfamiliar with the area where the property is located, take more than one walk and observe all the details. Is it populated or quiet? Are there offices? Where are the pharmacies, banks, grocery stores, public transport stops in relation to the house you want to buy? Come back to visit the neighborhood at different times of the day and especially in the evening: sometimes an area that seems calm and lively during working hours becomes deserted and dangerous at nightfall. Also talk to some merchants who have their shops nearby;
- If the house is in an apartment building, pay attention to the building. Check that the facade and common areas, especially the stairs and elevator, are well maintained or at least decent. A filthy elevator filled with writing reveals uncultivated and unkempt condominiums. In this case, it is best to stay away;
- Do you notice the presence of grilles or anti-theft systems? If so, where are they located? If they are installed on the lower floors, it is not surprising – it is a normal precaution. However, if these protective devices are located on the upper floors, it is a sign that a theft has taken place in the building;
- If you are specifically visiting the house you want to buy, check the condition of the floors, doors and windows. Especially if you are not planning renovations, it is important that they are in good condition. In particular, check that the windows and doors are properly closed;
- Check the heating system and the duration of its installation. It is also important to know if it is independent or centralized: it is better to be able to decide freely when you want to heat the house. In the case of autonomous heating, check the date of installation of the boiler, whether it is still under warranty and whether regular maintenance has been carried out;
- Pay attention to the noises you hear in the apartment and assess whether they are bearable or annoying sounds. It is advisable, also for this reason, to visit the house several times and at different times. Check if there are noisy establishments nearby;
- If you intend to renovate the apartment, identify the load-bearing walls of the house: you cannot intervene by knocking them down. Knowing where they are located will be useful to understand if the subdivision of the apartment you want to make is possible;
- Check that the bathroom and kitchen have a window or at least an air vent.