From Looking to Buying – This is the Guide You Need
Buying a home should rank more on the exciting side of the spectrum rather than stressful. And as long as you take things step-by-step, it can be. Whether you’re a first-time home buyer or looking to upgrade to your “dream home,” there are some things you can do to make the process easier. Here’s an overview of everything you need to know when you’re ready to buy a home.
So You’re Ready To Buy A Home – But What Are You Looking For?
Ask yourself this: Are you looking for a first home, a second home, or a forever home? People look for homes for many different reasons, and that will influence how you go about looking for your new house. Here are a few of the most common types of home searches.
For a first home, you often aren’t looking to max out your budget. Instead, you’re looking for a starter home: something modest that you can save money on before you are ready to purchase your dream house. Before you look for a first home, make a list of the things that you absolutely need in a home, and a list of the things that you want.
Upgrading or Downsizing
Upgrading and downsizing tends to happen during different stages of life. If your children have moved out of the house, you may find yourself with a home that’s too large and difficult to maintain. But if you are just starting to expand your family, you may need to find a house that’s larger and better suited for children. In this case, you should look for a property that has certain elements that your current property is missing.
A forever home or a dream home is something extra special. It’s the property that you want to live in long-term and likely retire in. If you are looking for a forever home, keep in mind that your search may take a little bit longer, and you might have to be more flexible with your budget.
Your First Step – Get Pre-Approved For a Mortgage
Regardless of the type of property you’re looking for, your first step in the process will be to get pre-approved for a mortgage. Without completing this step, you won’t have a firm idea of what your budget is when looking at properties.
At this time, the mortgage broker will also explain all the details regarding what the rate, term, and products offered by lenders are and provide you with several options to consider.
Starting the Search
Once you have a pre-approval in hand, then you are ready to begin your search. But when should you begin, and how should you get started?
When’s the Best Time to Buy?
The best time to purchase a house tends to be when it’s the least convenient: during the holidays. During the winter holiday season, prices are typically lower because most people don’t want to move into a new house around this time. Yet, it’s a double-edged sword: there will also be fewer houses on the market.
Every real estate market is also different. In some cities, the best time to buy may be during the summer. In particularly hot markets, any time to jump in is good. What is most important is just to get in as quickly as possible.
Working With a Real Estate Agent
Starting your search will often begin with finding a real estate agent.
A real estate agent will be able to help you with every step of the home buying process. It’s especially important for a first-time home buyer to get an agent as soon as possible. The reason for this is the real estate agent will be able to share knowledge with you regarding which neighborhoods should be considered for the budget you have. More importantly, if you are a buyer, using a real estate agent is a free service for you. The seller pays for the realtor’s commission cost.
Ask us to introduce you to a realtor who specializes in the area you are considering or in the type of home you are looking for!
House Hunting Tips and Advice
Once you are officially ready to start the process of house hunting, it’s important to create a list of everything that you want in a property. It’s easy to get caught up in the hunt, so try not to drift too far from that list.
While most people should be able to find a property that suits them within a few months of looking, the length of your search typically depends on the housing market.
Browse Listings Online
One good way to start your search is to look at listings online. In the past, home buyers relied on their real estate agent. Nowadays, you can easily search listings online that meet all your specifications, in terms of price, size, bedrooms, bathrooms, location, and more. With that said, it’s important to note Realtors can see the listings pop up before you can online. Therefore, you should ask the realtor to set you up on an automated search for properties.
Create a Short List
Once you’ve looked at properties online, create a list of the ones that you’re most interested in. If you’re working with a real estate agent, then they are likely to suggest some properties as well, some of which may not be on the open market yet. Prioritize the properties based on your interest along with how many items on your checklist that they check off.
In hot markets, a house can move in a matter of days, so it’s important to book viewings of properties that you’re interested in right away. Otherwise, you could miss out on the home of your dreams. Ask your real estate agent to book these viewings for you.
What to Look for During a Viewing
During the viewing, ask questions about the foundation, roof, electrical, and plumbing. Make sure you explore every room and look for signs of disrepair (water stains, lights that don’t work, or fractures in the foundation). A house that isn’t well-cleaned is likely a house that isn’t well cared for.
Narrowing Down Your List
Once you’ve viewed the properties, you can start narrowing down your list to the few that you’re very interested in. Often, a second viewing may be requested, or you might decide to move on to an offer.
Sometimes you’ll look at a property and you’ll just know right away that it’s right for you. Other times, you may look at dozens of properties, and not find one clicks. Try not to get discouraged if this happens. Just remember that finding your perfect home is a process and will be worth the wait.
Making an Offer
You’ve found the perfect house. Now what? The next step is to make an offer. This is often where your real estate agent really shines, as they’ll draft up all the required documents for you and guide you through the process.
Why Pre-Approval Helps
A pre-approval tells a seller that you’ve already been qualified by a mortgage lender. Otherwise, you could be making an offer without a mortgage secured. Sellers will often prioritize offers that have a pre-approval in hand.
Closing the Deal
Once your offer is accepted, you will provide deposit money (usually $1% of the purchase price) to secure your offer. Keep in mind that if you decide to walk away from the purchase without a reason, you will not get that money back.
Purchasing a house can take a long time. It’s important that you have the right help to guide you through this process. The Chris Allard Mortgage Team will work with you to make sure that your finances are in order before you even begin. Contact our mortgage team today to get started.
Chris Allard’s experience in the field means he can get you offers with over 50 financial institutions lending in Ottawa. Every lender has many mortgage products they offer, which means Chris and his team will make sure a mortgage caters to your needs while also ensuring you get a competitive rate. Chris Allard is a proud mortgage broker of Smart Debt Mortgages, independently owned and operated. Smart Debt broker #12236.