You’re in good financial shape, tired of renting and starting to think about buying your own home. To make that dream into a successful reality there are some basic steps that you shouldn’t overlook.
Don’t Skimp on the Research
Did you think your research days ended when you had that college diploma in hand? Not so. To find your perfect home you need to figure out your wants, needs, where you want to live, what kind of home you want and most importantly, how much you can realistically afford to spend.
Pull out that sheet of paper and do the trusted want list vs. need list. As an example, you have a family of four and realistically want at least three bedrooms preferably four. That’s a need. You also want a pool. That’s a want. If you can’t get both in your price range in a desirable location, you may have to sacrifice that pool. Getting these sorts of things down on paper makes these types of decisions easier. Check out the neighbourhoods and find out what kind of homes appeal to you. Ranchers, vintage Victorians, Colonials, perhaps even a condo? Look at your list and see what works best.
Determining your budget is probably the easiest bit of research. Get preapproved for a mortgage. That will automatically give you the maximum amount you can spend on a property. Avoid the heartache of finding a property you love and then finding out it’s priced way outside your ball park.
Find an Agent
If you haven’t already found a REALTOR®, this is the time to do so. Now you’re ready to advise the agent about those wants and needs, your home and neighbourhood preference and that all important budget.
The House Hunting Experience
Your agent will use all the research information you provided to find properties for you to view. You can also use my MLS® search to do a bit of looking on your own. Yes, more research. If you find anything you like let your agent know.
Next is the actual visit to a property. The tendency for some new home buyers is to focus too much on the visual appeal and not pay enough attention to what’s beneath the surface. Curb appeal is important and often an indication of how a home has been maintained. But, you’re considering spending a large amount of money and you want to be reasonable sure you’ll have no “surprises” after you move in.
Some of the items you should consider in a potential home include the condition of the wiring, the number and type of power outlets, maintenance and age of the heating system, condition of roof and foundation, window condition and if the plumbing is in good shape. Granite counter tops and decadent bathrooms are lovely, but you want the bones of the house to be up to snuff. If you are serious about a property get a home inspection for peace of mind.
Time to Offer
You’ve decided on your dream home and now it’s time to make an offer. Your REALTOR® can help you come up with a reasonable price. If your offer is below asking price you may have a bit of negotiating in your future. Set an expiration date for the offer and a closing date for the sale. Add any applicable conditions, such as surveys, title checks and inspections. You might also put in that the sale is contingent upon your getting a mortgage with a favourable interest rate. If you have to sell your current home you might have that on your condition list.
Closing the Sale
Once all parties have agreed on price and the conditions are met the sale is now binding. Be sure of your choice before signing the bottom line to avoid loss of deposit or possible legal action should you change your mind. You’ll need to get insurance on the property to satisfy the lender. Your agent and lawyers will be filing documents, transferring titles and distributing money. After all the legalities are complete the house is yours.