Steps on buying your first home
Choose an experienced real estate agent
Buying a home is one of the largest investments you’ll ever make, so work with a realtor that’s experienced, knowledgeable, and responsive. We recommend treating your search for an agent like it’s a job interview.
Plan your budget
Purchasing a home is going to be expensive and knowing exactly how much it will cost you vs. how much you can spend is the first step to consider. Review your income, lifestyle, current debts, and ask yourself if you’re ready for this responsibility.
Get a mortgage pre-approval
A mortgage pre-approval lets you know how much your lender is willing to loan you based on a number of factors, such as your credit rating, income, and debts. Once you’re pre-approved, you’re guaranteed the current interest rate up to 120 days (depending on the lender). This gives you the freedom to shop around for homes with a fixed interest rate. If the rates drop, so too should your guaranteed rate. In addition to the interest rate, be sure to take into account the terms of the mortgage.
Finding the right home
This step comes with many different directions but ultimately, you should narrow it down to your needs for the next 5 years. Whether it’s a condo, townhouse, or freehold – ask yourself, “what type of home will accommodate myself and my family for the next 5 years?” This will help you narrow down your search along with the location, price point, and size of the home you’re looking for.
Let the showings begin!
Since the start of COVID-19, virtual showings have become more popular. Virtual showings have always been around for buyers from overseas but this year, the demand for virtual has picked up interest. Regardless of how you choose to view a home, remember your budget and the must-haves outlined in the step above.
Make an offer
You’ve found your dream home and It’s time to make an offer to the seller. This is where working with an experienced agent gives you the advantage. Different market conditions require a unique approach. A seller’s market might mean lots of competition, requiring you to come in at or over the asking price with few conditions, while a buyer’s market means you have more time and more options. This is the time to lean on your agent and their expertise.
Don’t skip the home inspection
Regardless of the market, this is one of those most important conditions (and steps) during the buying process. An inspection uncovers any underlying problems in a home, giving you notice of any risks and allowing you some leverage in negotiating a reduced selling price. Your home inspector will examine items that are visible without opening walls or floors, including heating, plumbing, electrical, roofing, and foundation. If you don’t have a home inspector, your agent can refer you to one in the area.
Time to seal the deal!
The seller has agreed to your price and depending on the terms in the Agreement of Purchase and Sale, the closing period is typically 90 days, however this can differ from weeks to months.
Once the offer has been accepted, there’s typically a “cooling off” period which lasts about 10 days. During this time, you’ll make arrangements for financing, home inspection, and everything else that needs to happen before you officially seal the deal. Your mortgage lender will need a copy of the offer to ensure it doesn’t succeed the pre-approval. After the 10 days have passed – with any adjustments or repairs made to your satisfaction – your realtor will finalize the deal and your lawyer will process the paperwork, including the mortgage documents with your lender. All of this will point to a final date of actual legal possession: the official closing day!
It’s time to move in!
Regardless if you’re moving during an offseason or the busiest time of the year, book your movers well in advance. Call on those favours people owe you and enlist some family members as well for additional help. Also, don’t forget to update your current mailing address with the new one!
Need an experienced real estate agent to find your next dream home? Call or email Shauna Lynch today!
Now that you’ve decided to sell your home, mixed feelings of being excited and overwhelmed might be settling in. Despite these feelings, there are a lot of things you can do to help alleviate some of the stress of selling your home. Here are a few tips to help you have a stress-free experience!
Become familiar with the real estate market
You don’t need to become an expert in understanding the ins-and-outs of the real estate market, but it doesn’t hurt to bring yourself up to speed on a few things. Reading up on the average sale price in your area, reviewing potential interest rates, whether it’s a buyer’s or seller’s market and desirable neighbourhoods can get you ahead of the game.
Get your paperwork ready
Once your house is listed, agents and prospective buyers will be asking a lot of questions so preparing your answers ahead of time will make the process a lot easier. Preparing paperwork such as utility bills, tax bills, renovation details, warranties, mortgage details, etc. will help mitigate the stress and reduce the back and forth between you, your agent and the prospective buyers.
Spring clean-up on your home
Potential buyers respond to a neat, clutter-free home, so getting rid of unused items will help keep your home looking clean and it’ll also help make your future move a lot easier.
Pro tip: Be realistic about what you want to clear out. Try cleaning one room at a time rather than your entire house all at once. We recommend starting with your basement first.
Stock up on moving supplies
As you begin preparing to sell, you should also prepare for your move. Keep an eye on any useful supplies such as newspapers, old or unused boxes and store them aside until it’s time to start packing.
Find an experienced agent
When it comes to a weighty transaction such as buying or selling your home, an experienced real estate agent can make all the difference. They have the know-how to navigate through any market conditions and can inform you whether or not it’s the right time to sell, who your target buyers are, and how to appeal to them. Aside from their market expertise, an agent will also have access to the tools and technology necessary to complete the transaction safely and virtually.
These five steps will put you on the right track to sell your house. As overwhelming as the process might seem at first glance, don’t forget to enjoy the excitement of it all! Also, remember you’re not alone. An experienced agent will work with you on these steps so you can sell your home for top dollar and in a timely manner.
Ready to sell your home or have any questions on selling? Call or email Shauna Lynch.
(content sourced via RE/MAX Blog)