If you’re fortunate enough to be looking to buy luxury real estate, you probably already know that the home-buying process will be a bit different. The problem, though, is that many buyers don’t realize how different the process can be. There’s a lot more to it than the fact that luxury real estate has a bigger price tag. So let’s look at 5 things you should know about buying luxury real estate in Alameda County.
1. What Luxury Real Estate Is
Yes, luxury real estate in Alameda County costs more, but that’s not its defining characteristic. It is, rather, more of a byproduct.
“It’s crucial to understand the features that characterize luxury property. . . A high price tag alone won’t put a property in this category. It has to be unique and exclusive – in a good way, in a desirable way . . . People . . . will pay a premium for something that’s perceived to be superior.”
So just what makes a property superior so that it can be termed luxury real estate in Alameda County?
Often, it’s “access to luxury activities such as high-end shopping, dining, and the arts, as well as proximity to other luxury homes. A trophy address, like Park Avenue in New York City, adds value. Having a storied history doesn’t hurt, either. Many luxury buyers seek the natural beauty of a waterfront location, or at least views of a river, ocean, or lake. Others want the countryside or mountainside views.”
Other defining luxury real estate characteristics include:
- Enhanced privacy and security
- Custom architecture
- Superior amenities and features
- Beautiful weather
2. Search-Process Peculiarities
Another key thing to keep in mind about buying luxury real estate in Alameda County is that the search process will likely be different than for a standard property. There are two aspects of the search where this is particularly the case:
First, “[m]any luxury homes go unlisted to protect a seller’s privacy. These properties are often found through the Realtor’s personal connections as opposed to the MLS.”
And, second, you can’t rely as much on listing photos as you normally would. Luxury homes typically have to be seen in person to be truly appreciated. Photos just can’t do these properties justice.
The takeaway here is that it’s critical to have an experienced local agent. An agent with experience in luxury real estate and who knows the area will have access to those limited and hare-to-get-at listings. In addition, you’ll likely need your agent’s assistance to get those critical viewings. To find out more, call (408) 893-1866 .
3. Need to Go Slow
For several reasons, not least of which is the big price tag, you should take your time throughout the process of buying luxury real estate in Alameda County. You don’t want to buy a property worth several million and then regret it later.
You can go slow because there’s far less competition in the upper-end housing market. Typically, there will be only a handful of serious buyers interested in a specific property. And this also means that you’ll likely be in a good position to negotiate – if, that is, you don’t tip your hand and let the seller know that there’s any urgency.
Again, your local agent can provide the needed guidance here.
4. Importance of Financials
As we mentioned early on, price alone isn’t what makes a luxury home, but it is a factor. So you need to make sure you’ve looked at everything related to the financial end of the purchase. And, owing to the big price tag, most sellers will want to see some proof that you can come up with the money – sometimes even before they’ll bother with a showing.
It’s always a good idea to have a pre-approval letter from your lender, and then consider doing the following when it comes to a bank statement:
- Ensure that the statement is current and that it displays your necessary information as well as all the institution’s details.
- According to some experts, you should black out your current address and account number.
5. Getting the Right Agent
Maybe the most important ingredient in finding the right property and buying luxury real estate in Alameda County is finding and working with the right real estate agent. You will, of course, need to do your research, get referrals, and check out reviews. But here are some of the things to look for in an agent:
- A solid track record in the luxury real estate market
- Good knowledge of and experience in the area and the local luxury market
- A well done, up-to-date website clearly indicating (and with proof) of expertise in luxury properties
- A quality and broad network of other agents and professionals in luxury real estate
- Willingness and demonstrated ability to maintain confidentiality