4 Lessons Learned: Buying & Building at 23 Years Old

Updated: Feb 6, 2021

Buying property can be an overwhelming process at any point in your life, but especially in your early 20s and especially in a pandemic! I found and decided on a property in October 2019, and broke ground in September 2020. Thanks to the pandemic that emerged between those dates, I think I learned enough to be ready for anything. Here are a few of the things I learned that can be beneficial to anyone considering starting a real estate journey at a young age:

1. Your initial plans are likely to change - but often for the better

When I set my goal to have my own place in Nassau after moving home from university, I initially pictured moving straight into a turn-key home. That quickly turned into a turn-key apartment, then a fixer-upper… by the end of the process, there was nothing turn-key about my purchase. I ended up deciding to buy some vacant land and build on it. At first I wanted a triplex, then a duplex. Now, I have decided to just go step by step, do one unit at a time then adjust plans based on circumstances as I go along. A lot of things can influence your decision: your timeframe for needing somewhere to live, the resources available to you, and of course, the COST! I tend to be firm in my decisions so I found the frequent changes a bit stressful, but in the end I know that I arrived at the best position for me.

2. “You can’t afford it if you can’t buy it twice”

I had often heard this quote that (supposedly) came from Jay Z, but never really understood it. After getting through this process, I more than understand now. When you’re just getting into your real estate journey, you tend to think that you need enough for your downpayment and that’s it, you’re good to go. Getting to that stage is hard enough, but it’s even harder once you get there and realise that you also need your legal fees, government taxes, bank fees, insurance and eventually, you will have to keep up maintenance on your property (especially if it isn’t brand new). In the end, this can add up to the same price as the downpayment itself. Being overly prepared finance-wise can save you a lot of stress later down the line, and you want to make sure that you can still live comfortably after your payments.

3. Negotiation is a major cay

The importance of negotiation was something else I had heard often but didn’t really understand. Negotiation can be a crucial technique to make sure that you’re not getting the bad end of a deal. The best deals are when the buyer and seller can come to an agreement that’s as beneficial as possible to both sides. You may choose to negotiate the overall selling price, the distribution of stamp tax payments between the buyer and seller, and the time taken for the sale to be completed.

4. You need a great team behind you

Buying property, especially your first one, can be stressful - but a lot of that stress can be avoided by having the right team to guide you. You will need a great attorney, a great mortgage broker, and of course, a real estate expert to help you tie it all together.

While I bought my first property direct from the owner and did't use an agent this transaction taught me the importance of having a team on your side to protect your interests.

Want to follow my entire journey as I take on a construction project at my new property? Subscribe here to follow the journey.

The real estate experts at 1 OAK Bahamas are here to help you from the day you have your initial real estate idea to the day you close on the sale, to make sure that the previous bullet points 1, 2 and 3 won’t be a hassle or roadblock for you throughout your journey.

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