Buying your first home is nerve-wracking and probably will be one of the most expensive adult milestones in your life. With a little help from local real estate agent JR Beattie, here are a few tips to help you from getting in over your head.
- Stay within your budget: It’s always good to start saving before you start looking for a home. Shop around for mortgages to get a good rate, and be realistic about what you can afford. Banks and brokers will look at your finances (such as your credit history and debt-to-income ratio) before saying yes or no to giving you a loan. You’ll also need to budget for closing costs, moving expenses, unexpected repairs, renovations and home insurance. The seller will see you’re serious about purchasing if you have your finances in order first.
- Find a real estate agent: Interview several agents to find one you trust to help you look for a home that you want. A real estate agent is up to date on property laws, contracts, which neighbourhoods might suit you and he or she will be your best ally when you’re caught in a bidding war.
- Realize your wants vs. needs: A big part of buying a home is recognizing your wants from your needs, so make two lists. You may find that things such as having a professional kitchen, a spa-like ensuite bathroom or a fully finished basement are things you can opt to wait for.
- Keep an open mind: You many want to look at “up and coming” neighbourhoods or a fixer-upper because you may get more house for your money, a higher return on investment and have a chance to negotiate a lower price. Also, keep in mind that, yes, you may be approved for a $350,000, but that doesn’t mean you should spend every last cent.
- Have patience: Be prepared to spend a lot of time looking for your first home, getting pre-approved for a mortgage, putting in an offer on a house, putting in a counter-offer, going through the home inspection, waiting for final loan application acceptance and so much more. It’s stressful and exhausting; however, if you trust your real estate agent and you keep in mind why you’re buying a house then the process will never be in vain.