Is buying your first home in your plans for 2018? It’s important to plan ahead and to be informed. I have been selling Real Estate for over a decade and here are my top 5 tips to help you in this exciting process
- Get pre-approved! This is perhaps the most important step towards home ownership. Go to your bank or mortgage broker and make sure you are eligible to obtain financing for your home. It is important to discuss affordability, interest rates, and terms of your loan. After you visit your bank/mortgage agent you will be issued a pre-approval which will state your maximum purchase price, interest rate, and other preliminary terms of your mortgage. A pre-approval provides you with a green light for you to begin your search.
- Shop around for a Realtor- Okay, I am biased here, but I can sincerely say that using a Realtor will give you a better result when buying a home. Why? Well, a Realtor has the fiduciary duty to represent you and look out for your best interest. A realtor will have up to the minute details on the homes available, can provide you with pricing data, negotiate an offer for you, and coordinate with your lawyer, insurance company, and bank so that all of it comes together at the appropriate time. Most importantly, a Realtor’s service when buying is free to you, so why not? That being said not all realtors are the same. It is important that you interview a few agents before committing to them of signing any sort of exclusivity agreement. Be wary of Realtors who insist on ‘signing you up’ before showing you homes. You will spend the majority of time with your Realtor, so it is important that you feel comfortable with him or her and that you are compatible. Working with a Realtor that is not a good fit for you will waste time and make the process complicated instead of easy, so choose wisely!
- Be patient! I am a firm believer that mistakes are made when we rush into things. It is easy for you to get excited, but you must be disciplined and patient when buying a home. Often you will find roadblocks and you might begin to get desperate. This is particularly true for those of buyers in hot Seller’s market where demand is high and supply is low. Regardless, it is important to stay focused and be patient. The right home will come at the right time. Trust your gut, if you feel rushed or pressured , then take a step back analyse your decision.
- Make your offer conditional! It is important to protect yourselves when making an offer. Unless you have your full purchase price in cash in your bank account, you should definitely put a financing condition on your offer. You might be thinking “but I am pre-approved, so I don’t need it”; sure, a pre-approval is a good start but it is not the same thing as an approval. The bank/lender does not only approve you as a borrower, but it must also approve the property you are purchasing. So if the bank does ‘not like’ your choice of home for any reason then they might decline financing or ask for a higher down payment. Thus, always include the financing condition in order to be protected.
- Get a home inspection- Quite simple, you don’t want to buy a ‘problem home’ , do you? A home inspection will reveal to you any major repairs needed by the home. A good inspection will cover the foundation, heating/ventilation systems, electrical, roofing, plumbing, and insulation. By making your offer conditional on a home inspection you are giving yourself the chance to check that the home is in suitable condition before making the final decision. An inspection will only cost you between $300-$500 but it could save you THOUSANDS. Besides, it is actually quite a cool experience since the inspector will show you a lot of neat things about your future home.
I hope you found this useful, and if you have any Real Estate related questions, my team is always happy to help.