Buying a home, especially your first home should be an exciting, enjoyable and fun experience. It should be memorable - and for all the RIGHT reasons! I hear people speak about the stress involved, the endless running around, looking at house after house, seemingly with no progress made and no end in sight.
I think many people go about house hunting all wrong. You shouldn't be looking at every house on the market in your rough price range, bouncing around from neighbourhood to neighbourhood hoping that something shows up. Buying a house is simply a process of elimination.
First step is to see someone in the financial sector to tell you how much money you qualify to borrow. If you don't qualify to borrow any money at the moment, then you just eliminated looking for a house at all for the time being. That saved you a lot of time and frustration right off the bat! I recommend going to a mortgage broker like Audrie or Beth at Centum A and E Mortgages. They are right across the hall from me and they do it right. They prequalify, they don't preapprove like many lender do. When they are finished with your file, you know that if you stay within the guidelines they establish for you, you will get a mortgage.
Step two is where I go to work. My primary job is to educate you, Mr. and Mrs. Buyer. We start with an interview to help you focus on what you want. There are really only three things to decide about when buying a home: price, location and layout or style. That's it. Really there are only two, since Audrie and Beth will have already told you the most you can spend. Once the other two issues issues are solved you've found your house. If I've done my primary job correctly you will know it, recognize it and love it.
My grandfather used to make beautiful axe handles. Once I asked him, "Gramps. How do you make an axe handle?" He looked at me for a bit in a way that said that he felt it was fairly obvious and I must be a bit slow and then replied, "Start with a good piece of rock maple the right length. Then you cut away everything that doesn't look like an axe handle!" Fair enough.
Why am I telling you this? Looking for a house is a similar exercise. Eliminate everything that doesn't meet the criteria we have established at the start. Start with the location. If you want to live in Riverview, don't look in Dieppe. If you want to live near your work, don't look on the opposite side of town. Once we have price, neighbourhood and you get a feel for style and features, we look at only the homes that fit the criteria. If we look at more than 10, I will ask you to have another meeting with me and we will see what has changed in your criteria. I may have already noticed and made the adjustment since I will ask you each time we look at a house whether or not you could see yourself living there. If not, we eliminate it.
So that's just how simple it can be. Education, research and eliminate the ones that don't work. Less running around, less stress, more fun. It's a good life!