I had an interesting conversation yesterday with a client. He was looking for a property in Casco, mainly an apartment, and he asked me what was the best purchase he could make. There is no easy answer for this, because “best” is very subjective… I would say it all “depends”.There is a “depend” clause on each step of the way:
Step 1. The philosophical question: is Casco right for you?
Casco Viejo is a fascinating place, with lots of things happening and information. Take your time to research. Look for people with experience. But above all, listen to your own gut feeling. Do you enjoy Casco as is? Did you feel excited about the revitalization that is going on? Do you want to be part of it? Have you lived in areas that had experienced this type of “come back”? Can you feel connected to this place?
Now, to more material things, assuming the answer was yes:
Step 2. Use for the Property: is this an investment apartment or a future home. Or perhaps a combination? some people are set on having two bedrooms, other don´t mind and just want a pied á terre.
Step 3. Personal Preferences: some clients like having water views, other plaza views. Some like colonial looking buildings, some like more modern, Art Deco style. For others, they don´t mind having only street views. It all reflects in the price, of course, so preferences + price range hold hands throughout the process.
Step 4. Price Range: it is very, very, very important to be upfront about this. Your wish list may include many things, but as you add up to the list you should know each item adds equally up to the price of the property. Many clients apply the “it depends” clause to this particular issue. But when shown what is out there (which I usually do through a “virtual tour” at Arco Properties office first) a price range is quickly revealed. This is extremely helpful because it lets us land the “airplane” into a concrete field of reality.
The price range also depends heavily on the use. People tend to devote more resources to a home than to an investment or a pied á terre. So, unless you have gone through steps 1 and 2, then 3 might be confusing. Is financing critical for you? maybe not at a certain range, but you would need it if you want to go higher. Knowing this in advance provides both parties with peace of mind and clarity.
Now… it might be that your particular combination of property wishlist + price range just doesn´t exist. If this is the case, then step 5 for you would look like:
Step 5. Casco Yoga…Take a deep breath… Open your mind and options will open for you.
Once you realize your ideal wishlist + price point might not exist, but that other combinations that are very good are out there, start considering them seriously. Each property has a different set of virtues. By now, your goals might have changed. Talk to your specialized realtor in the area (hope it´s us!). Once you make up your mind… act quickly! always remember there are others in the same process and until a contract is signed, nothing is set.
If you found that your wishlist + price did exist… your step 5 is called “get-your-checkbook-out-right-now-and-call-your-lawyer-immediatly”.
In both cases, you´ll be very happy with your purchase. Why? because Step 1 is actually the most important one, and this will determine your “purchase happiness level”.
I was laughing the other day with a client who is receiving at the ends of this year his unit in a project that at the moment of pre sales (a year ago) was considered to be “at the edge” of San Felipe. It was literally the first project to break ground in the area. He negotiated right, left and center, gave me a hard time, but he knew … Casco was right for him. But he had a very specific price point and was fighting like a cat to get there. After understanding exactly his situation I proposed him a unit. It was slightly over the price he wanted to pay, but it was right for him. He finally signed. Now, after almost a year, he finally confessed to me: “I went to see the unit, they are still working on it but is coming out so beautifully. I wanted to thank you for chocking this unit down my throat.”
And I am thankful that he “got Casco” from day one, but above all, that he was honest with me from the first moment and that was willing to open his mind to other options.