Being a first-time home buyer springs an assortment of mixed emotions – excitement, anxiety, eagerness, fear – that all come with the territory when going through the buying process. And with the Canadian housing market still at the top of its peak, it’s been incredibly difficult for first-time buyers to get into the market and snatch up their perfect home. But you can be the one who waves to your competition from the front door of your new home if you follow these five essential tips for first-time home buyers.
Be Clear About What You Want
Before you head out into the market looking for homes, have a clear plan on exactly what it is that you want. Consider all the factors, including the type of home (detached, semi-detached, condo, townhouse), number of bedrooms/bathrooms, distance from work, size of yard, and if you need a garage. Also, have your budget nailed down and know exactly how much you can afford, including all the closing costs and first year’s maintenance and upgrade costs.
Get a Mortgage Pre-Approval
When you get a mortgage pre-approval you are steps ahead of the competition. Most of the paperwork that is needed for the sale will already be completed in the mortgage application process. And you will know exactly how much you can afford. Talk to a mortgage advisor who can help you find the right lenders and rates.
Know the Neighbourhoods
Not all neighbourhoods will be a good match for your lifestyle. Perhaps you want city living that includes lots of amenities and green space all within walking distance. Maybe you prefer the suburbs where you can have a larger house, landscaped lot, and can be close to schools and parks. Finding the right neighbourhood that fits your lifestyle before you go house hunting is key to avoiding any future regrets. Just don’t forget to research the city’s planning, some areas may be undergoing new projects to provide better services and amenities. You could be missing out if you don’t do the research.
Hire a Realtor
If you hire a real estate professional to represent you, you won’t have to learn everything about buying a home. They have the knowledge and expertise to guide you through the entire process. Plus, it’s their job to help you find the homes that fit your criteria so you don’t have to go through dud after dud. And once negotiation time takes place they can help you with price guidance, market information, and rounding out the perfect bid.
Use Social Media
Beyond MLS and Realtor websites, you can also use social media to find your new home. Check for your city’s real estate blogs, YouTube video listings, and personalized home websites. Many sellers are getting creative to get more interested parties to the table. So the more places you look, the more likely you will find more detailed information about potential listings rather than just on the real estate based sites.
Don’t get stuck buying over your budget or with a house you don’t even like. Follow these tips and hire a professional mortgage advisor and real estate agent to help you make the right choices.