Buying a home is one of the largest investments you will make. It should be both a pleasant and rewarding experience.
Here are some tips that will save both time and stress.
The first step should be to find out how much you can afford. Rule of thumb is you should have 5% of the purchase or appraised value for the down payment. The bank or mortgage broker may have other options. Allow 1.5% to 3% for closing costs (lawyer, land transfer, paint, wallpaper, appliances, moving costs). The reason for the spread depends on what you need. This step alone will allow you to focus on a certain price range (that is not below your means and not above your means).
The second step is to talk to a Realtor (me). I often have access to listings before they are published. This allows you to get the inside track on the property. I will establish a game plan for you, arrange properties to view, provide input on the area, provide comparables to justify the price, prepare all documentation for an offer, and ensure that your interests are looked after. I will negotiate the best deal possible on your behalf. I am working for you. If you have a home to sell I will help you there as well.
The third step is to talk to a lawyer. You may want to talk to a lawyer earlier depending on your circumstances. If you already have one, that's great! Give his/her office a call so that the proper arrangements can be made. If you don't have a lawyer, I can provide you with several names to choose from.