Top 10 Buying Tips
1. Know what you can afford before making an offer!
The best way to avoid any disappointments while shopping for your new property is to get pre-approved for a mortgage so you know exactly how much you can afford. Getting pre-approved for a mortgage BEFORE you start your search for a home is critical before starting your house hunting adventure. Typically pre-approvals are free and will guarantee an interest rate for a specific time period. This will allow you to know what you will be able to afford and will help speed up the buying process once you do find the home that you would like to purchase. Need help getting connected with a lender? Click on the FINANCE menu to get started.
2. Choose the right mortgage – Bank vs Broker
There are many people who prefer to deal only with their regular banking institution, it is suggested that you shop around to find a lender and a loan most suited to your needs. There are so many options available to consumers today, and with today's competitive market, it may literally pay you to your homework upfront as much as possible. Banks are not the only source anymore for obtaining financing to purchase a home, there are plenty of other options available as well such as Mortgage Brokers who literally have access to all Banks, Credit Unions, Finance Companies & Private Lenders.
3. Understand how your credit can impact your ability to purchase a home
Get a mortgage professional to help you go over and prepare your credit file before you buy a home. Once you are pre-approved and until you sign a commitment letter with the lender, do not make large purchases such as a vehicle, boat, snowmobile or charge a large amount to your credit card. This will affect your debt service ratio and may compromise your pre-approval amount.
4. Know where you want to live
Narrow down the Location of where you would like to live, so you can concentrate on listings in that area. Take into consideration the type of home you want to live in, the type of neighborhood, size of yard, amenities and schools you may need nearby, Will you require public transportation?
5. Know who the Realtor® represents
Unless an agent is working as your buyer representative, they represent the seller. Many people don't realize this.
6. Ask a lot of questions!
No question is a silly question. Professional Realtors® have likely seen it all and are there for you to rely on their expertise. It’s better to ask as many questions as possible about the home, condition of the big ticket items (furnace, windows, shingles & air conditioner), the neighborhood, resale potential, school district, future development that may impact value of the home. Understand the process that you are going through and ask questions if you have any concerns.
7. Home Inspection
For most people, purchasing a home is the largest investment you will make. Ensure you are making a sound investment by hiring a qualified Home Inspector. A home inspector’s sole responsibility is to provide you with information about the ins and outs of the home so that you can make a decision as to whether or not to buy. If the inspector does find any issues with the home, you can have a qualified professional come through and provide you with their expert opinion on the issues that the home inspection revealed! By hiring a qualified Home Inspector you could end up saving yourself thousands of dollars; It’s better to spend the money up front on an qualified inspector than to find out later you have to spend a fortune. If you are considering a rural property, keep in mind that typically you will want to obtain a septic inspection and water test as well.
8. Set money aside for closing costs
In addition to your down payment there are a few other costs that you will have to account for on closing day. These can include: Prepaid Utilities, Prepaid Property Taxes, Interest Adjustment, Legal Fees/Disbursements, Land Transfer Taxes (Land, Estate, etc) and HST if its applicable. Speak with your lawyer and know what these amounts are going to be and budget for them!
9. Rental Contracts for Chattels and Fixtures
Understand what your implications are if you assume a rental contract on a hot water heater, furnace or air conditioning unit. Know what the buy-out amount is prior to agreeing to assume these contracts on the closing date because this can be a very costly mistake. Some companies offer maintenance contracts on the units as well. It's important to know the contents of those contracts that you are going to be assuming.
10. USE A PROFESSIONAL REALTOR®
Ensure you have the right professional REALTOR® working for you to help you find properties that meet your search criteria. Make sure you have someone who is looking out for your best interest and who will listen to what you are looking for and can help guide you through the entire process!