So you are ready to buy a house!! Whether it is your very first purchase, or your 20th, there are always important things to consider. Here are my tips for you!
#1 Remember, everything is negotiable!
Factors like closing dates, appliances, equipment, and maintenance or repairs to be completed before closing day are all up for negotiation!
#2 Factor closing costs into your budget
→ Land transfer tax (which varies from city to city and province to province and can even fluctuates based on your purchase price cost)
→ Mortgage set-up costs (which can include a mortgage-related appraisal, as well as mortgage default insurance premiums if you’re putting down less than 20% on the home)
→ Home insurance premiums (you typically can’t get a mortgage without home insurance)
→ Adjusted utility and property tax costs
→ Legal fees/costs
→ Title insurance
#3 Get pre-qualified and if possible, pre-approved
Have as much of your REALISTIC financial budget sorted out beforehand. This will save you a lot of stress and time with your offer. Remember that Banks and other Lenders have really clamped down on rules for qualifying for a Mortgage
#4 Look into the small and large details
Though some small details may not be deal breakers, they are better to know beforehand and may be discussed prior to and/or addressed in your offer.
#5 Avoid falling in love with home staging nor underestimate a vacant home
One of our main fiduciary duties as a listing Realtor is to market and sell a home for its’ top realistic market value. When listing my properties, I always include a professional home stager to assess the property and give ideas to maximize the home’s potential to buyers. I also invest in drone video and professional cleaners to maximize quality exposure for my clients.
As the buyer, try not to fall in love that perfect décor, patio set, or that funky espresso machine in the kitchen. It is important to put the blindfolds on and imagine your own furniture and lifestyle in that home. (If you do, however fall in love with both the house and furnishings it is always an option to ask your Realtor if it is possible to include any of the furnishings along with your offer, you never know until you ask!)
A vacant home however, is always tough to imagine lived in. Remember rooms often appear smaller without furniture and are difficult to imagine as lived in. However, there is the advantage of seeing your new potential home fully exposed.
#6 One kid-free showing
As we all know life is busy. By the time you finally have time to book a showing, the kids are done school or daycare. That being said, every parent who has booked a showing or gone to an open house with the frolicking kids knows this often adds chaos to the mix and often not as much time is spent.
To avoid this, consider working with an agent who will double up the viewings. Even better find a babysitter or family member for at least one of the viewings so you have the time to concentrate on all of the details on the most important purchase. Absolutely bring them at least to one of the showings however, it is, after-all about to be the kiddies home too!!
#7 Investigate the neighbourhood
Commute time to your work, closest schools, grocery stores, playground, coffee shops, gas station, hospital are all important factors to imagine in your new potential neighbourhood choice.
Though I couldn’t imagine not providing comparable properties to my clients, ensure you see a list of all of the current active and recently sold properties comparable properties in that area.
#8 Get and home inspection
Ensure you find a reliable, experienced and knowledgeable home inspector. Ask your Realtor if he or she can recommend one that comes highly recommended. (Feel free to contact me anytime for local recommendations)
A home inspector will typically examine and report any potential issues with the:
In a competitive seller’s market like we just went through, where you may expect bidding wars, ask to do a long showing if possible (2-hour minimum and pre-inspect). Also, if you think the seller is vying for a bidding war, ask your realtor to request a pre-sale home inspection. Sometimes competitive sellers will pay to have this inspection so that would-be buyers can come in with clean offers with all conditions removed.
Stay tuned for detailed blogs on each of these topics to come.
As always, I am here for any of your Real Estate inquiries or if you simply want to chat about the market over a coffee or glass of vino. Happy home hunting!
Realtor®, running fanatic, Coach (Performance Rowing Coach; NCCP level 3,) Canadian National Team rower and World Medallist, YTT200 Yoga Instructor, who loves living and laughing, and enjoying every moment.