Spring is almost here and with it many people think of change. What better change than buying a new home.
Whether it is your first apartment, a bigger family home, or downsizing to something easier to take care of, the process is almost the same. But, what are those steps. And, what are some pitfalls to avoid.
- Think money - talk with a financial specialist about your situation. Obtain a preapproval that allows you to search for properties that fit your budget. Looking for homes that are significantly above your ability to buy creates frustration for everyone. As well, mortgage brokers offer options to find the mortgage that best suits your needs.
Pitfalls to avoid -
The "lowest" rate with the "lowest" fees is not always the best option for you. Lending money is a business. And the lowest rate often comes with restrictions that may negatively impact you down the road more than paying a little more up front.
Going straight to your bank, may sound easy, but it also limits your options. There may be better options in the market for you.
Be careful with remote providers. An online provider, while it may fit your lifestyle with low fees and remote connectivity, may also hinder your ability to meet deadlines, and cost you an opportunity.
- Get someone on your side - while looking online may seem easy, buying a home is too big of a commitment to leave to the Internet. REALTORS® work for you to find the best options for you. They work when you aren't, researching the market and your options for you. They work on your behalf to protect you like your accountant, lawyer, and financial advisor.
Pitfalls to avoid -
Trying to save money by dealing with the listing agent or with online services. When calling the listing agent, you may think you are saving money. You probably aren't. They have already agreed to work for the seller for a fee. The thing you have saved is a REALTOR® working exclusively on your behalf and, compromised your position.
Not communicating fully with your REALTOR®. Working with an agent requires a level of trust. Not being fully honest with them about your requirements, financial situation, availability and much more will risk wasting your time and energy.
Believing that there is a perfect home is unrealistic despite HGTV. Expecting to have your REALTOR® find you the perfect home in the perfect location for the cheapest price is like a trip to Wonderland. Every property has weaknesses. Temper your expectations with your budget - you may have to compromise on location, condition, or price.
- Be available. Again, looking for a home is time consuming. It takes time to locate a home, complete a transaction, and ultimately take possession of keys.
Pitfalls to avoid -
Homes come on the market every day. The best one for you may come available in the middle of the week. Work with your agent to develop a schedule of viewing that consistently gets you looking at homes in your desired market range.
Once you have signed an offer to purchase, timelines are of the essence. You may have a dinner date planned or a weekend getaway scheduled, but guess what, your ability to consistently and expeditiously communicate with your REALTOR® may make or break getting the home of your dreams. Your REALTOR® should be able to keep the flow going with the electronic options available in the market today.
Once an agreement is signed, hitting deadlines is critical. It requires you to ensure you are quickly reaching out and responding to other professionals on your team (home inspector, mortgage specialist, condo doc advisor, lawyer etc.) and ensuring they too, have all they need to help you get your home or at least stop you from making a mistake.
Buying a home is a big step. There are many pitfalls to success. Make sure you have a great team working on your behalf to do so including your own commitment to make that step.