By Jamie Cailor
According to the Las Vegas Review Journal dated June 2010, prices in Las Vegas real estate have dropped 19.3 percent in the last year and 39.7 percent in the last five years, the Federal Housing Finance Agency reported. The other part is while you have price cuts in condos for sale, you also have a bigger rental market with people who lost their home, which is causing competition among renters. So there is a higher rental price than we'd expect.
In my opinion, forget renting - buying is cheaper!! Higher rental rates and competition from Las Vegas foreclosures has caused (downward) pricing pressure on sellers, and the cost of ownership is pretty low. Cost of ownership factors in mortgage insurance, real estate taxes, principal and interest, closing costs and other fees.
So if you can afford a down payment and can qualify to buy Las Vegas homes, now is the time to do it. Using a Las Vegas Real Estate Agent to represent you as the Buyer is the best way to go and there is no a cost to you for their time. You do want someone that is responsive to your needs and concerns. A good agent will walk you through the whole purchase procedure and protect your interests. They will also recommend that you get a home warranty which is what you'll want to have, just in case something goes out after you close escrow. Also, having an agent negotiate for you will get you a better deal.
It's possible but unlikely (and creates antagonism) to talk the selling agent into cutting the commission if you go in without a buyer's agent. They end up doing more work dealing with unrepresented people and would actually rather you have your own agent so their loyalties aren't divided. Having your own agent can save you time, money and aggravation, if that agent is worth their salt.
Definitely go for all the inspections. Home inspections should be more than cursory and, while they can't find everything without dismantling the property, they should uncover much that's not apparent to the eye. You'll want to be there for the inspection and do lots of looking yourself. Do your homework and don't be afraid to stand up for yourself and ask lots of questions. Also, if escrow is delayed be sure to do a walkthrough just before closing to confirm nothing has changed. New condos come with a warranty, which could be worth something if it's backed up by a real company (as opposed to a freelance builder). But they're often built cheaply with lots of problems to fix. Also, they're marked up a lot -- if you like Las Vegas condos I would check the market on used condos in good buildings rather than buying a new one at retail. Interview the residents to see what they think of the building, the neighborhood, the construction quality, the HOA.
Agents will help you get your home inspection done and appraisals, so that all you need to do is review it and sign on the dotted lines. Look for an agent that knows the area that you want to live in. Look through your mortgage closing statement closely for mistakes and unexpected charges. And read what you're signing.
But you can't leave it all to your agent - home shopping is like any other task .... it is your responsibility to do your due-diligence. But after all the facts are in and your due diligence is completed, your final decisions should be based on intuition...almost like feeling the vibe of a certain place....and that place connecting to you. Nevertheless, you need to expose yourself to all that is out there in the market, force yourself to see them all, and not settle... which is difficult, because yes, it gets stressful and one can get anxious to just move in and relax. But, just like in most forms of hunting, it's best to: "Collect....then SELECT..."
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