Helpful Home Buyer Tips
Finding the perfect home doesn't happen in one day. It takes careful planning and lots of work. Fortunately, there are a number of things you can do to simplify the process.
1. Things to Consider Before Starting Your Search
What Features Do You Need?
Do you need an extra bathroom, a garage, a fenced backyard, or lower utility bills? Do you want a fireplace, a short drive to work, or maybe minimal yard work? Once your list is complete, decide what’s most important to you.
What’s the Ideal Location?
Where you live obviously affects your lifestyle; it’s also one of the most significant influences on the value of your home. Your choice of location may be somewhat limited by the price you can afford. Even so, make sure to consider such things as distance to work, schools, shopping and entertainment.
What Kind of Home?
What type of property do you want? A single-family detached home is attractive to many people because it typically provides more living space and land. On the other hand, a condominium may be a more appropriate choice for you, with an emphasis on maintenance-free living. Determine what type of home best suits your desired lifestyle and budget.
What’s Your Budget?
How much do you want to spend? Just as importantly, how much do you have to spend? Note there are numerous additional expenses (detailed below) that you’ll pay to complete the purchase of a home.
2. Choosing a REALTOR®
A REALTOR® can help you answer all of these questions and help you navigate through what can be a complicated business transaction. It’s important that you’re comfortable and confident with the agent you choose.
3. Searching For a Home
A REALTOR® will use various tools to try and find properties that meet your specifications. The most important is a local Board’s MLS® (Multiple Listing Service®) System. Your REALTOR® can quickly search through numerous properties available for sale in specific areas to find suitable listings; that is, houses that best match your needs, choice of neighborhoods and price range. You can also view listings in Board MLS® Systems that are advertised on the national REALTOR.ca web site.
4. Seeing Houses
When you select a property and decide to visit a house, there are many things to consider. Does it have all the features you want? Is the neighborhood what you expected? Try to picture your favorite furnishings in a room. Remember all of the technical considerations, including:
- What type of wiring does the house have?
- What about power outlets? Different appliances use different types.
- What type of heating system does it use? Heating costs can vary drastically by type.
- Have the roof and foundation been well maintained?
- What condition are the windows in?
- What about the plumbing?
There are numerous other things to consider as well. If you don't have time or don't feel comfortable doing it, home inspection services are available for a reasonable fee. Having a qualified home inspector look at the house is always a good idea. The older the home, the greater the need for professional inspection.
5. Making an Offer
Once you find a house you want to make your home, your REALTOR® can help you develop an offer. In the offer, you should specify how much you're willing to pay. State when the offer expires and suggest a closing date for the transaction. You can also propose some conditions on the offer. Some common types of conditions are:
- Getting a suitable mortgage (include the amount, interest rates and any other figures you feel important);
- Selling your current home (the seller may continue to look for a buyer, but will give you the right of first refusal);
- The seller providing a current survey, or a "real property report," showing that there are no encroachments on the property;
- The seller having title to the property (your lawyer will check this out when she conducts a title search to see if there are any liens on the property, easements, rights of way or height restrictions);
- If there’s a septic system, the seller having a health inspection certificate, stating that the system meets local standards;
- An inspection by a qualified engineer, should you have any doubts about the home's safety and construction; and
- Any inclusions of appliances and other items - basically, what stays and what goes.
You will need to present a deposit along with your offer. An appropriate deposit will show your good faith to the seller. Note that the seller's agent, if they are represented by one, is bound by law to bring all offers to the seller's attention.
6. If Your Offer is Accepted
After your offer is accepted and all conditions met, the offer becomes binding on both sides. If you later refuse to honor the agreement, you may lose your deposit or might be sued for damages. Before signing, make sure you understand and agree with all terms of the offer.
Before the property can formally change hands, there are still a few things to do. Be prepared to furnish proof to your lender that you’ve insured your new house. On or before closing day, both side’s lawyers will arrange to transfer title of the property from the seller to you. The mortgage money will be transferred to your lawyer's trust account, and then to the seller, and your lawyer will bill you all additional expenses such as land transfer taxes or outstanding legal fees.
At this time, be sure to check with your lawyer that everything is as stated in the offer-to-purchase.
Once you're satisfied and the keys to the front door are in your hands, there's nothing else to say, except welcome home!
No matter what type of home or property you're buying, plan on some extra expenses.
- A land transfer tax (a sales tax on property) in certain provinces
- A mortgage broker's fee
- An appraisal fee
- Surveying costs (if the seller couldn't come up with a current survey)
- A high-ratio mortgage insurance premium
- An interest adjustment. (Mortgages are normally calculated from the first of each month. If your closing date is the same as the beginning of your mortgage, there will be no adjustment. However, if your closing date is July and you move in on June 15, those last 15 days are the interest adjustment period. Your lender will expect you to cover the cost of the interest during that time.)
- Reimbursement to seller for the unused portion of any prepaid property taxes or utility bills
- Legal fees, and, if applicable, REALTOR® fees
9 Things House Hunters Can Ignore
Buying a home can be overwhelming. When viewing homes, don't focus on things that need a little fixing, polishing, or reworking ─ try to look beyond these esthetic negatives to find the happy foundation that lies beneath.
These 9 minor home issues have easy fixes:
- Wallpaper (floral borders, chickens wearing bonnets, etc.) No matter how much it disagrees with your style, wallpaper can be removed completely.
- Paint colors This is a personal choice: changing paint colors can be one of the easiest and least expensive updates to a home.
- Ugly carpet This is an easy change that can happen before moving in. You can also address this upgrade when presenting an offer, which may give you additional money left over to put towards small updates.
- Dated appliances If they are in working order, there is no need to replace them immediately. New appliances can be worked into your personal budget along with a time frame of when you will replace them.
- Funky smells If there is a big mold/building issue ─ that is different. However, most food and pet odors can be eliminated with a good cleaning.
- Popcorn ceilings These are still in a great deal of homes so, before the popcorn ceiling takes a potentially good opportunity from you, look past the bumps ─ this is a pretty easy fix!
- Age of the home Older homes have stood the test of time. They tend to have a fabulous foundation, great bones, and character that newer homes lack. With a little TLC, older homes could be a better option and many have already undergone extensive updates.
- Curb appeal Some landscaping and a few hours spent outside could change the face of a home for very little time, effort, and money.
- Lack of privacy This can be a very real issue in urban settings, especially in newer developments. There are great privacy screens and foliage you can easily add. Remember that "hedges make great neighbors" and keep an open mind!
Why do you need a Buyers Agent? Because you need the best representation when buying a home. A Buyers Agent is on your side negotiating on your behalf to get your price, in your favor. Listing Agents are in limited dual agency which means you possibly may not get the best representation and pay more than you should. For more info on Buyers Agency call Lisa 250-804-7955
Purchasing a home can be both exciting and frightening!! It is probably one of the biggest financial investments you’ll ever make. . A few basic questions to assist you:
What are my housing needs? What are the choices? What can I afford to spend?
Time spent answering these questions in advance can save you from frustration and disappointment during your search.
I can assist you in your search by showing you all the homes that are on the market and in your price range.
"Relax and let me do the work, my flexibility and discernment of your needs make the whole home shopping process fun and exciting." The way it should be!
If you would like me to send you new listings customized to your search criteria, please go to the link on my website "SEND YOU NEW LISTINGS WITHIN YOUR CRITERIA.
Tired of paying rent? Renting only helps your landlord not you and your family. You can afford to buy and I will work with you to find a way to make it happen. There is no cost to qualifying or searching for a home, my services are absolutely free, and that's a promise. No hidden charges and no surprises. If you are serious about getting out of the renting habit and getting into a home of your own, give me a call and together we will Kiss your Landlord Goodbye!
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