Home buying can be a daunting and complex process, which is why you should always have the help of a REALTOR® at your side. Remember, a REALTOR® works for you and is there to look after your best interests. Take a few minutes to understand all the ways a we can help you succeed with the biggest purchase of your life.
1. Making sure you're ready to buy
If you're thinking of buying a home, you've come to the right place. Taking the time to prepare is critical, having a read of this article is a great first step, next would be sitting down for a Free no-obligation Buyers Consultaton, were we fully prepare you for the home-buying process. But before we jump right in, you have to make sure, it's the right time for you to buy. As your REALTOR® we can help take care of the rest.
Are you ready? Be sure
Few joys can match the pride of owning the roof over your head, but you will have to make some sacrifices. There's the obvious financial responsibility, but your home will also require constant care. That's what real pride of ownership is all about.
Is your bank account ready? Check it twice
Your first home will be the biggest financial obligation you've ever faced, so do it right with the help of a REALTOR® and avoid regretting taking on more than you should. It is ideal to have saved up some money and manage any ongoing debts. In a couple steps, you can determinehow much you can afford.
Is right now a good time to buy?
Markets go up, markets go down and even the smartest experts can't accurately predict when a market will peak or bottom out. If you're buying a home as a long-term investment (and for long-term enjoyment), you should be protected from short-term changes in the market. Pick a home that meets the needs of you and your family. Then you'll enjoy living in your investment as it grows in value.
2. Do You know what you want?, or Should we be talking needs
Are you getting out of a two-bedroom apartment because it's too small? Then your new home should have at least three bedrooms, and probably a second bathroom. We call these must-have features "needs". Features you'd like to have are called "wants". Your strategy should be to find a home within your price range that fulfills all or most of your 'needs', and as many of your 'wants' as possible.
To help you with this, we play a little game call "Game of 9's" 99.9 almost perfect home. We have you make a list of 9 Wants, 9 Needs and 9 Not Wants/Needs this should paint the perfect or almost perfect picture of your new home.
What do you want to buy?
Nowadays, there are many different types of homes to choose from. Without the help of a REALTOR®, you may end up in a neighbourhood that doesn't suit your needs. Take a minute to reflect on your lifestyle, and based on that, decide what best fits you. To help, we've broken down the most popular housing options here.
Where do you want to live?
Urban: If you're leaning towards the big city, we can help you consider each factor. Sure the prices are generally higher, but you can walk to a restaurant, maybe even to work. You'll also have the widest range of housing options.
Suburban: Newer schools, modern shopping centres, bigger yards, and bigger homes are just a few of the reasons why so many people love the suburbs.
Smaller Cities and Towns
Smaller cities and towns in Canada are dotted with thousands of wonderful self-contained communities, and compared to the big city, you can save a bundle.
Rural: Live rural if you're partial to the idea of owning land. How nice would it be to own a few acres all to yourself? Seclusion is not for everybody, but for some, it's heaven.
What type of home do you want?
By now, you probably have a good idea of what type of home is right for you. To familiarize yourself with the terminology, here's a quick overview:
Single-family detached: As the name implies, the home is not attached to the home next door. Styles range from a single-story suburban bungalow, to a three-story Victorian.
Semi-detached or linked: Two houses that share a common wall. Usually less money than a fully detached home.
Duplex: A building zoned for two families.
Town house: Also known as terrace or row housing. Several homes with a common style and joined in a row. They usually share walls on both sides.
The condo alternative: How Condos are owned, you'll own 100% of your unit, and a share of the common areas. Common areas include the necessary plumbing, electrical systems, hallways and elevators. They may also include lots of fun stuff like a private gym or party room. Membership has privileges and costs
Condo fees. Membership has privileges and costs, on top of your mortgage and property taxes, condo owners also pay a monthly fee to operate and maintain the common areas. Be sure to look into condo fees, and how well they're managed, before signing anything.
Nothing can match the charm and character of an older home. As a bonus, the previous owner may have made improvements and upgrades and you get them with the house, usually for less than the cost of putting them in yourself. However, some may have a little too much 'character', like a leaky roof. Know what you're getting into.
New: If you're having a new home built from the bottom up, carefully examine the property, the blueprints and visit other homes built by the same company. Have your REALTOR® and/or lawyer review everything before you sign. While your home is being built, stay on top of the process. And remember, you have a legal right to make a full inspection of the house before you accept it as complete.
3. Selling your current home, When should you sell?
Not very many people can hold onto two homes at the same time, so you'll probably need to sell the one you have now. Be sure to check our incredibly helpful Selling section. In the meantime, here's a quick overview.
Buyer's and seller's markets explained
When there are lots of people looking for homes but not many for sale, it's called a 'seller's market'. When there are lots of homes for sale and not many people buying them, it's called a 'buyer's market'.
Wait for the market to improve?
If you're selling one home and buying another, you don't really have to worry about playing the market. If you sell your existing home for a 'low' price, you're probably also buying at a low price.
Seasonality. Do home sales get frostbite?
It's true. Winter sales tend to be slower, and spring sales are brisker.
If you need to sell fast
Ask us about our 5day-15day-30day Pricing strategy for helping you establish a price and for making your home look attractive, without making you look desperate.
Buy first or sell first? The eternal question
Many people are able to time their sale and purchase so they happen on the same "closing date". As a buyer, you can make your offer "conditional" on the sale of your existing home, so you're not paying for the upkeep of two homes. Or when selling, you can try to extend the "closing period" to give yourself more time to find your next home.
Sell with a REALTOR®, or go it alone?
In the same way that many people decide not to fix their own cars or do their own dental work, it's wise to enlist a professional when selling your most valuable asset. Real estate transactions are complex, time consuming and involve a lot of legal documentation. We are very knowledgeable and highly motivated to help you get the most for your home. Before flying solo, truly know what a REALTOR® can offer.