You made the big decision to buy new home but now you just don’t know where to start. Don’t get overwhelmed, I am here to help and in this blog I will tell you 3 TIPS on HOW TO GET STARTED as a FIRST TIME HOME BUYER.
Tip #1: Get Pre-Approved
You should absolutely go get pre-qualified or pre-approved for a mortgage before you start looking at homes. Imagine this, you find a property, you fall in love, you put in an offer and then find out that you can’t afford it. Now you are disappointed, you wasted your time, and every house you look at afterwards you are going to compare to the one that was out of your budget. Do yourself a favour and don’t look at properties that are out of your reach.
Getting pre-qualified will also give you options for locking in your interest rates and finding out how just how much is required for your downpayment. If you are still working on saving for your downpayment you may also want to check out my blog on 3 Ideas to Save for a Downpayment.
As well, make sure that you have all the documents that your mortgage broker will need ready to go. When you have an accepted offer on a house you may only have a week or two to provide a confirmation of financial approval. You don’t want to find out that you are missing an important piece of information, something as simple as last year’s tax documents, and not meet this deadline. The seller may have a back up offer and not be inclined to take the risk that your financing will come through and give you extension.
Tip #2: Create a List of your Needs v. your Wants
If you are a first time home buyer don’t get too hung up on finding your dream home. No home is going to be perfect. Of course there are some things that you shouldn’t have to compromise on but there are other things that you will need to be a little bit more flexible.
Also know that you are not stuck in this house forever. Find a house that meets your needs now and most of your wants and then trade up when you are ready.
This also includes narrowing down neighbourhoods that you would like to live in. You don’t want to fall in love with the house and then not like the neighbourhood. One thing that you cannot change about a house is the location. As well for future investment, what drives the values of the home will be the neighbourhood so it’s an important factor to consider.
Tip #3: Meet with a Local Real Estate Agent
A house is one of the biggest purchases that you will make in your lifetime and you don’t have to go it alone. A realtor can help guide you through the home buying process and there is no cost to you as a buyer for these services, they are paid by the seller when you buy a house.
As well, your agent can set you up on automated emails so you receive new listings as soon as they hit the market, even before they make their way to Realtor.ca. This can be very helpful in a busy real estate market.