The Search for Your New Home - 7 Steps to Home Buying Success
Buying a home is one of life’s major events. It’s often part of a new stage in life…. perhaps ‘empty-nesters’ downsizing, young couples starting a family, or growing households needing more space.
While change can be exciting, searching for that new home can also be emotional and stressful. To combat this, it’s important to think of your real estate journey as a process. Whether it’s your first or 5th time through the process, one thing remains the same: it’s a big job, involving a great deal of effort, time, and money.
I have broken the buying process down to 7 steps:
1. Decide what you want
While this may seem like a ‘no-brainer’, the marketplace offers considerable choice. Think through options such as location, style of home, and ‘must-haves’ like number of bedrooms or lot size before starting the search. Narrowing down the options early on will help focus your search and be more time efficient.
2. Get Pre-Approved for a mortgage
This is a critical step to get out of the way up-front. It confirms how much you can afford to spend, and often allows you to lock in an interest rate that could potentially save you thousands of dollars for years to come. Talk to a mortgage specialist, complete the application, provide required documentation, and get a copy of your pre-approval.
Please note the difference between PRE-QUALIFIED and PRE-APPROVED: The former is quite simple, and involves your providing a snapshot of your financial picture so the lender can give you an idea of the mortgage amount you may qualify for. Obtaining PRE-APPROVAL is much more involved, including providing documentation and a credit check. PRE-APPROVAL will result in a conditional commitment in writing for an exact loan amount. Moreover, pre-approval is a powerful negotiating tool as the seller will see you as a more attractive/ more serious buyer.
3. REALTOR® or not?
In the same way many people decide not to fix their own cars, it’s often wise to enlist the services of a specialist when dealing with a the purchase of a valuable asset. A great real estate professional will provide key market insights, sound advice and save you time and money. In most cases, it’s free to the buyer as the seller pays the commission; the buyer receives professional representation and has his/ her interests protected through the process, generally at no cost.
4. The search
Over 90% of buyers start their home buying process on the Internet. The most comprehensive website for property searches is Realtor.ca, which allows you to narrow your search to a specific area, price range, and key features. However, while the Internet will be helpful, please bear in mind that it’s not a complete picture of everything available. A REALTOR® can provide an in-depth analysis of what’s available relative to your needs, set up appointments to view homes, and guide you through the selection process.
5. Make a smart offer and negotiate
Knowledge is power in negotiation, and this is where having a real estate sales person on your buying team can pay dividends. Typically, your REALTOR® will help determine market value and offer price based on a range of data. They will then create a legal document (Agreement of Purchase and Sale) to protect you, review it with you, and present the offer per your instructions. Expect some back and forth as the negotiation process evolves.
6. Condition removal
Assuming agreement is reached regarding terms and conditions, a firm or conditional offer is in place. If you have conditions, now is the time to start the process of satisfying them in order to meet the deadline and firm up your purchase.
7. Preparing for closing day
Typically closing day is between 30 to 90 days out. Here you and your REALTOR® will need to provide your lawyer with all the necessary documentation for your purchase. Some of these include: the agreement, waivers, survey, proof of insurance, down payment, and others. It is normal that the exchange of money and title be complete before keys are released, which could be late in the day.
Your real estate journey is a process, with a number of important steps along the way. In this short blog post, we’ve just touched on these important steps. Since the best approach to buying a home is to be well informed, I would like to offer you a complimentary copy of my E Book “7 Steps to Home Buying Success”. This guide provides more detail on the points above, as well as worksheets and checklists to help with questions around closing costs, moving, and other topics. Incidentally, while there’s a great deal of information on the Internet, this particular E Book is written from a Canadian perspective. Just send me a short email at the address below, and I will forward a copy to you.
As a REALTOR®, I focus on helping clients move seamlessly into new stages of their lives. My role is to provide Peace of Mind for my clients, minimizing stress during their real estate journey. If you would prefer to chat about the buying process, I’d be happy to do so, and can be reached at 905-467-0830, or firstname.lastname@example.org.