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Experts in the local real estate and mortgage sector are advising prospective homebuyers to conduct ample research before committing to a mortgage or a property purchase.

“This is one of the biggest financial decisions or purchases you’ll probably make in your lifetime, so it’s important that you take your time and ensure you’re not rushing into a decision you’ll regret. You don’t want to experience buyer’s remorse for either your mortgage or your home,” said Petal James, Chief of Retail Sales at JN Bank.

Miss James said buyers must understand that they have the power of choice, not only when it comes to selecting a property, but also when choosing their mortgage lender.

“I know the homeownership journey can be a stressful and overwhelming process, especially when you are desperate to find a place to live. However, this is not a decision to be rushed and homebuyers must ensure they do their due diligence,” she said.

Miss James was among experts at the JN Bank Open House held in Half Way Tree on Sunday, July 24, which featured a range of exhibits from top providers in the real estate industry. Prospective homebuyers were also introduced to JN’s latest mortgage offer, which provides homebuyers with up to 100 per cent financing, plus an additional $5 million in unsecured financing to assist with other mortgage-related expenses and a pre-approved credit card.

“Doing your homework on the basics of mortgage lending early on can set you up for success, and help you get better acquainted with the different types of mortgage lenders out there,” Miss James said, further pointing out that mortgages are not one-size-fits-all products, so persons must do the necessary research to know how they work and how they differ from one another. “This will help you find the mortgage lender and loan that offers what’s best for your situation.”

The JN mortgage expert said when choosing a mortgage there are several factors that must be considered. “Look at the interest rate, fees, down payment, and mortgage insurance. Compare the various offers and choose the one that’s right for you and your needs. Also consider whether it’s a fixed or adjustable rate, as that is also important.”

She also encouraged persons to read the fine print, as some loan offers can change over the course of the loan term. “There are institutions that might attract you with a low interest rate up front, but that rate is only for a limited period. These are factors to research and understand before you sign an agreement,” she advised.

Howard Johnson Jr, chief executive officer of Howard Johnson Realty, said when it comes to choosing the right property, ample planning and research is also recommended.

“There’s a popular proverb that states, ‘Let the Buyer Beware’, and I think it is a good rule to follow when conducting any major purchase, as it places the responsibility on the buyer to do their due diligence,” he said. “You’re spending a lot of money, so don’t leave this in the hands of anyone else.”

Mr Johnson noted that homebuyers must do the necessary investigations to ensure the structural integrity of the property they’re purchasing. “You may need to involve the professional services of an architect, structural engineer, or surveyor, so you can be assured that the property is structurally sound,” he said. “You also want to know that the property you’re getting is the same property that’s listed on your sale agreement and for that you may need an attorney.”

When it comes to the transaction itself, Mr Johnson said it’s important that the purchaser understands all the financial requirements before embarking on the process. He explained that the total costs involved in acquiring the property is not limited to the listed price, but involves a myriad of expenses, including the deposit, closing cost, escalation, surveyor’s report, and legal fees.

Mr Johnson said he has seen many transactions fall through, because persons fail to consider all the costs involved in the entire home-buying process.

Additionally, he pointed out that prospective buyers should also research the communities that they’re planning to buy into.

“Investigate the area…look at the safety, commute to work and school, proximity to critical services, such as hospitals. And if you’re buying into a strata find out the maintenance and other associated fees. You’d be surprised to find out how many people realise they can’t afford to live in a community after they’ve signed on the dotted line,” he said.