1. Find the right representative
Even if you’re not quite ready to buy, your buyer’s agent can be an absolute wealth of information, and can often offer ‘scoops’ on local developments you might not have know about otherwise. Speak to your agent first and he or she can be helping to guide you right from the start.
2. Find out what your price range is
Online mortgage calculators are a good place to start, but as you get closer to being ready to buy, there is no substitute for a written mortgage pre-approval. Just speaking to your lender is an extremely worthwhile venture – this is the only way to really get an in-depth picture of your overall financial picture and to discover exactly what you can reasonably afford to spend on a home (and possibly on renovating).
3. Find out what your local market looks like
The internet can be incredibly valuable in doing preparatory research. Start with your agent – he or she can direct you to valuable resources and immediately start e-mailing you real estate listings that may interest you (or at least give you a better idea of what your needs and wants are).
4. Find out what your true needs and wants are
Compose a needs/wants list that takes into consideration your local market conditions, your price range, and the advice of your real estate agent.
5. Find your dream home!
Once you’re ready to act, you may be surprised by how quickly you can make a decision. Armed with your pre-approval, a little market knowledge, and your needs/wants list, call your real estate agent, hit the pavement, and when you see ‘the house’, put in an offer.
With the right team behind you, it really can be that easy!
Avoid The Most Common Buyer Errors
Shopping for a new home is an emotional experience. It’s also time consuming and comes with a myriad of details. Some buyers, however, caught up in the excitement of buying a new home tend to overlook some items. Their home purchase turns into an expensive process. These errors generally fall into three areas:
- Paying too much
- Losing a dream home to another buyer
- Buying the wrong home
When you have a systematic plan before you shop, you’ll be sure to avoid these costly errors. Here are some tips on making the most of your home purchase:
Bidding without sufficient information
What price do you offer a seller? Is the seller’s asking price too high? Is it a deal? Without research on the market and comparable homes, you could lose thousands of dollars. Before you make that offer, be sure you have researched the market. A professional realtor, can offer an unbiased opinion on the value of a home, based on market conditions, condition of the home and neighborhood. Without knowledge of the market, your offer could be too much. Or worse, you could miss out on a great buying opportunity.
Buying a mis-matched home
What do you need and want in a home? Sounds simple. Yet, clearly identifying your needs and bringing an objective view to home shopping, leaves you in a better position. Sometimes, home buyers buy a home that is too large or too small. Perhaps they didn’t consider the drive to work, the distance to school, or the many repair jobs waiting for completion. Plan ahead. Use your needs list as a guideline for every home you view.
Before you sign any document, be sure the property you are considering is free of all encumbrances. As part of their services, a realtor can supply you with a copy of the title to ensure there are no liens, debts, undisclosed owners, leases or easements.
Before the purchase is completed, an updated survey is essential. This report will indicate boundaries and structural changes (additions to the house, a new swimming pool, neighbor’s new fence which is extending a boundary line, etc.).
For $300 - $500 a professional inspector will conduct a thorough inspection of the home. This way, you’ll have an idea of the cost of future repairs. Make the final contract subject to a favourable report.
Shopping without pre-approval
It only takes a few days to get financing pre-approval. When you are shopping for a home, this gives you more power. A seller is more likely to consider an offer from a serious buyer.