So you think you want to buy a home... your first home…. Tired of feeling like you are throwing money away on rent and figure that it's time to get into a home of your own. But still not 100% its the right thing to do or the right time.
After all, if it's your first time, you've got questions. You might be a little nervous that you'll mess up, and it's normal to feel that way. You are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars and making the most important financial purchase of your life.
You will find that being an informed individual about the home buying process is empowering for you. Lucky for you, you came to the right place. So let's get started buying your first home!
Is Buying a Home Right for You?
Many people have fears about buying a home, and some of those fears are justified. Not everybody is cut out to own a home, and if you're one of those people, it's better to find this out now as opposed to after you have completed the purchase. Buying a home is a huge investment which will need regular maintenance, upkeep & repair so make sure you are ready for the challenge! Also remember no home will be 100% perfect so you will need to compromise a bit on certain things. Make a list of wants and needs and be prepared to change or tweak the list a bit as you go.
Before Buying a Home, Get Your Finances In Order
Have you been to your bank or mortgage broker for financing? Have you set aside a down payment? Do you have a steady income? Do you have good credit? These are all the questions you will need to ask yourself & prepare for the finance company to confirm. Ask about interest rates (they are usually negotiable), mortgage insurance fees, terms, penalties, down payment %. By doing your homework, you will know exactly how much you can pay and what it will cost you. Make sure you are comfortable with what your monthly payments will be and how taxes are paid. The more you ask, the more you will know and the more comfortable you will be when you find the right house!
Pick a Real Estate Agent to Help Buy a Home
With so much information available online these days, you might wonder why you need an agent. But all local markets vary from one another, and a good agent can guide you by giving you information based on experience and market knowledge. REALTORS(R) can show you ALL properties on the market not just their listings or their agencies listings so you will only need one. It is best to pick one and stick with them if they are satisfying your needs.
As of July 1 2014 it is mandatory for all agents in Alberta to have buyers sign a contract. This should be done as the earliest possible time and spell out both the responsibilities of the agent and the buyer.
Avoid Home Buying Mistakes
The best way to avoid making a mistake it to learn from the mistakes others have made. An agent has been part of many transactions and should be able to give you hints and tips of best practices in order to have process go as smooth as possible.
Make an Offer and be Prepare to Negotiate
Buying a home is not like buying most other products or services in Canada. House prices, & terms are usually negotiable and your agent should be a good negotiator! You will want to try to get a good price and favorable terms but remember there is always be a bit of give and take.
Financing and Home Inspection are the two major conditions to write into any offer but if there are any other factor which could prevent you from purchasing a home they should also be discussed with your REALTOR and include in the contract.
Home Inspection and Read Disclosures
Its Not a good idea to buy a home without getting a home inspection. (even a new home) Be prepared to have some work to do as homes are never perfect and very often have some maintenance issues which will be discovered in an inspection. Don't freak out by all the little things and focus on major issues which will be costly to fix. You should also be aware if the home is older the furnace, hot water tank, shingles, electrical, plumbing, etc, will probably be the age of the house, homeowners don't generally replace, or fix large ticket items unless they are broken. Always ask lots of questions, you are entitled to receive honest answers from the sellers.
Possession or Closing on Your Home
Transactions generally close within 30 to 60 days after your offer has been accepted and conditions have been satisfied/removed. Remember to book movers or a moving truck early because many people move at the end of the month. You may want to consider a mid month possession day to avoid end of the month rush. There will be many things to do in this time before moving make a list so you don't forget. Other things to remember... you will need to meet with mortgage broker and or your lawyer to sign more legal documents, you will need to have insurance & utilities set up in advance to take effect the day of possession, set up change of address, you may want to have the house cleaned or the locks changed on possession day and you should do a final walk through set up prior to official possession as well!
Now that you know all the basics and have decided weather or not buying is for you its time to get to work!
HAPPY HOUSE HUNTING!