Buying your Piece of Vegas

by : Mark Hostetler

With its thriving economy and steady market growth, buying in property in Las Vegas is a solid investment. Still, buying a property of any kind can feel overwhelming-especially if you are a first time buyer. As a Realtor® I've been through this transaction over and over again, and I know that, armed with the right information, this will be a rewarding and satisfying experience for you.

The first step in home buying should always be determining financing. Prequalifying for a mortgage allows you to shop confidently and know exactly how much you can offer. A prequalification letter gives the seller confidence that you are a serious buyer, which in turn lends your offer more weight.

Make a list of features that you are looking for in your ideal home. Decide which of these are essentials and which are things you would love to have, but can live without. Be realistic about this, because it will make your search easier. Also, you can look for things that you can change later. For instance, you might not find the perfect four bedroom place with hardwood floors, but if you find a great four bedroom home now you can upgrade to the hardwood floors in a couple of years.

When you have a good idea of what you're looking for, it's time to choose a Realtor® who will help you through this process. You want to find someone who will represent you exclusively in the transaction. In Las Vegas, some Realtors® are Dual Agents, which means they represent the buyer and seller. It's difficult, if not impossible, for an agent to represent both sides of the transaction effectively. Check out the market in your area, get listings from your agent and let people know what you are looking for-your perfect property may not even be on the market yet. The Internet has made browsing as easy as clicking a button, but don't fall in love until you see the house in real life.

When you start viewing houses you may find they tend to meld together-many people have difficulty remembering specific details. Taking along a digital camera to record the houses will help. It's also useful to make notes and give the house a grade out of ten, this way you can accurately compare properties when you get home. Narrow it down to your top picks and revisit your favorites if necessary.

When you've got some top properties, check out the neighborhood. It won't hurt to get out of your car, walk the streets and talk to your potential neighbors. This will help you get a better feel for the area. Come back in the evening to see if the atmosphere has changed: do you feel safe? Weigh the pros and cons carefully, and try to be objective. Each person will have their own priorities: someone with children may consider the distance to schools, someone else may want cafes and cinemas nearby, while still another person is looking for a short commute.

When you've made your decision your Realtor® can help you through the process of making an offer. Buying a house is an exciting and rewarding process-and with a little perseverance you will find the one that's right for you!