Buying a home is a fun and scary experience all at the same time. Especially for first time home buyers taking their first step towards buying a home. The pride of home ownership is one of life’s greater joys and biggest accomplishments. This five step guide will provide you some clarity and insight into the home buying experience and provide you with some peace of mind during your own home buying journey.
Let’s get started!
Step 1 – Decide Where and What to Buy
While it might seem like a no brainer. The first step in the home buying process is trying to decide where you want to live, what type of home you are looking for and what features are “must have’s” or “would be nice to have’s” in a home. There will always be trade-offs, but I am here to help sort through the options to find you the best house, at the best price, and with as many of your wants and needs as possible.
- What type of home am I looking for? What style of home is best for me?
- Do I want to buy a new home or an older home?
- How many bedrooms and bathrooms do I need?
- What am I looking for in a kitchen, family room? What kind of layout do I prefer?
- What are my high priority features? Ensuite, fireplace?
- What other rooms do I need? Home office, main floor laundry?
- What about storage? Basements, lockers?
- Do I need a garage or extra parking?
- How important is energy efficient appliances and windows to me?
- How is my daily commute from my house?
- How close do I need to be to transit, shopping, schools?
- Do I want to buy a home that backs onto a park or on a quiet road? Are there any other important location factors?
- How big of a yard do I want? Is a backyard important to me?
- What landscaping features are important? Do I need a fenced yard, play area, garden?
- Is it important what direction the house faces?
- Who am I sharing this home with, what are their needs?
- How much do I want to invest beyond the purchase price of the home, if I can’t find all the features that I want?
- How long do I plan to live here?
Step 2 – Getting Pre-Approved
Canada’s mortgage industry is very competitive and it’s important to understand that interest rates can change at any time. Getting in touch with a mortgage broker or with a bank to help you find the right mortgage product is important to your home buying process.
It’s very easy to get pre-approved for a mortgage. Start by talking with a mortgage specialist. There are a lot of options to choose from when it comes to lenders. Independent mortgage brokers tend to offer the most options because they do not just work with one bank. If you have a good relationship with your bank, contact them as they may find the right mortgage for you. Be sure to compare rates.
Once you find the right mortgage provider, complete and submit your application with them. They will collect your financial and personal information to find out how much mortgage you can carry. Your mortgage broker will give you a list of documents that the banks/lenders need to finalize the mortgage.
Once you have provided all the documents then bank/lenders need, they will verify all the details and you will obtain a copy of your pre-approval which details how much you can afford to buy. This is a powerful negotiating tool. The seller of your home will feel more confident that you are the right person.
Pre-approvals also have a couple of extra benefits. They save you time by only looking at properties that fit within your budget. Pre-approvals can also save you money. Rate guarantees and mortgage terms can save you money for years to come. Finally, they lower the stress of the entire buying process. You will know that you are ready and capable of buying a home.
Step 3 – Choose the right Realtor®
It’s important to know whose interests Realtors® are legally bound to server in a real estate transaction.
THE LISTING AGENT
Is under contract with the seller to market and sell their property for the best price possible. A listings agent can arrange a showing of the property. Assist with financing the property. Provide details about the property and explain all the forms and agreements related to buying the property.
YOUR PERSONAL AGENT
When you hire your own personal agent, they work solely in your best interest. You get all the services as a listing agent, plus your personal Realtor® provides confidential assistance to address your needs first. Honest, loyal and diligent care, free from and conflicts of interest. Access to all listings that aren’t necessarily available on Realtor.ca and to properties that were previously on the market where the seller might still be interested in selling.
Your personal Realtor® also provides expert advice on useful clauses, such as home inspection and financing to protect you fully. Expert negotiation of the offer to purchase, to achieve the best price and terms. Advice on market value, inclusions, locations, as well as helping you to decide when you should walk away. They will also discover and disclose all information about the property including liens, warranties, disclosures, seller’s purchase price, market and planning activity in the area.
The most important part of your personal agent is that they will help you to become an informed buyer and provide you with access to the information, tools and confidence you need to make the best offer on your dream home.