#1 – Get Pre-Approved!
Getting pre-approved for a mortgage will allow you to know your exact price range, and will streamline your home search because you wont be wasting time viewing homes that you can’t afford. Since the lender already must obtain a credit check and confirmation of income to determine your borrowing qualification, time is saved when you find the home you want to buy. Pre-approvals show both your realtor and Sellers that you are serious about purchasing a home. To a seller, pre-approval means that your financing is less likely to fall through, making the offer you present stronger than that of a Buyer without a pre-approved mortgage.
#2 – Find a Buyers Agent!
A Buyers agent protects the Buyers interests during the negotiating and closing process. The agent bargains with the seller on price, facilitates the home inspection, and assists the Buyer through paperwork. A Buyers agent will offer their expert guidance on price, future marketability, and suitability of the property to the Buyer with no property bias. The Buyers agent was hired by you, and gets paid when you purchase a house, not when a specific house sells.
#3 – Check Your Debt!
Avoid adding any new debt to your name for at least 6 months before purchasing. This means waiting until after your purchase has completed to buy new appliances and furniture. Steering clear of large, unnecessary costs before searching for a new home may allow you to get better mortgage rates, or put a larger down-payment on that new house.
#4 - Be Ready to Pounce!
Todays real estate market is very fluid, trying to time the perfect time to buy is next to impossible. The internet has effectively killed the seasonality of the real estate market. Buyer’s can search online for houses 24 hours a day. You can access virtual tours, floor plans, collections of photos, map locations, and receive near-instant replies to questions via the internet. The one downfall being the lack of physically stepping onto the property. Deciding when to buy a home should be based on your personal circumstances instead of trying to time the market for the best deal. Be ready for the best deal to pop up 365 days a year.
#5 – Location, Location, Location!
Research the neighbourhoods that you think you’d like to live. How far is the closest grocery store, gas station, or pharmacy? How long is the commute to work, is there public transit near by? Are good schools near by, or would you have to drive the kids each morning? Scout the neighbourhood of your ideal house. Drive through the area mornings, afternoons, and evenings on weekdays and weekends. This is a great way to establish whether you’ll be comfortable living there for the foreseeable future. The perfect home on the wrong street isn’t the perfect option for you.
#6 – Be Realistic!
Establish a list of your needs and your wants. Your needs may include things such as: minimum number of bedrooms & bathrooms, location, sufficient square footage, amount of storage space, is it move-in ready or a fixer-upper, or a specific accommodation such as wheel-chair ramps or a fenced backyard? Your wants may include things such as: bay windows, hardwood flooring, granite countertops, or a soaker tub. Try to anticipate future needs (do you plan on expanding your family, or taking in in-laws), and be prepared to compromise on your wants. Finding a home that accommodates all of your needs and wants, that is also within your budget is possible, but not easy.