Buying a House – 11-20 - Real Tips from Real People

(September 20, 2022 )

Tip No. 11 Do an Initial Number Crunch.After you get financially pre-qualified and you know the standard costs of buying a home do an initial calculation to determine how much you can afford to spend on a home. Factor in your other expenses (current and planned). This will give you a starting point.Tip No. 12 Assess your wants and needs.We all would like to live in the home of our dreams, but we often have to make trade-offs when we are buying a home that is already built and we have a specific budget that we must live within. Think about and write down all of the things that you must have (needs) in a home to be happy with it. Then write down all of the things that you would like to have (wants) in your perfect home. Prioritize your wants. While you may find your perfect home, in most cases you will have to make compromises. The home buying process is generally more enjoyable when you know what you are looking for ahead of time and can focus on finding the home that will meet your needs and some of your wants.Tip No. 13 Measure your current home.As part of the preparation for the purchase of a new home, know what you are living in at the moment. Measure the main rooms and make notes on how much furniture will need to be accommodated in the new home. Take these notes with you when you see a home that seriously interests you. Measure the main rooms to ensure that they are large enough to accommodate your furniture. Sometimes homes are staged and furniture is reduced to the minimum amount to make rooms look larger than they are. Do not be fooled by this. It does not matter how the home looks with the seller’s furniture in it. What matters is how your furniture will fit and look in the new home. Modify your wants and needs list accordingly.Tip No. 14 Consider Today and Tomorrow.While you may be focused on your current needs and wants do not forget to consider how they might change a few years down the road. A young couple considering having children may find that their needs change when those of the soon to be children are considered. Similarly a couple on the verge of retirement may include different things on the list than they would while still working.Tip No. 15 Buying Green Pays off Down the Road.While there continues to be debate on exactly what constitutes a green home, there is consensus that having a green home should save you money, and provide you with a healthier environment. Look for things such as energy efficient windows, heat pumps, furnaces, and hot water tanks to save you money over the longer term. Clean air, water and good lighting in a home is important to a healthy environment. The Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation produces a pamphlet that can be downloaded for free called Healthy Housing Practical Tips for Your Home that can be downloaded from the following link. CMHC Healthy Housing Practical Tips for your HomeTip No. 16 Take a Preliminary Look Online.The internet is a great tool that will help you evaluate your wants and needs list against your budget. Take a look online to get a sense of what is available in the general area to which you will be relocating. If they are close you are ready to go to the next step. If your wants and needs list is significantly higher than your estimated home-buying budget take another look at the list and trim it down.Tip No. 17 Search for and engage a Competent Local Realtor.As a buyer you do not pay for the services of a realtor so why would you not want expert advice to help you with the home-buying process? The challenge is to find a competent local realtor who has expert local knowledge and who will help you find what you need. All real estate agents are not alike. Do not call listing agents. They work for the seller. Connect with and engage a realtor who will work exclusively for you as a buyer on a client basis. Now that you have done your basic homework and have enlisted the help of a local expert you are ready to start the process.Tip No. 18 Ask Your Agent to Explain Agency and the Local Market to You.Within British Columbia, real estate agents can provide real estate services to home-buyers on either a customer or client basis. Do not accept receiving services as a customer. If the agent does not offer you a client relationship find another agent. As well, do not accept dual agency as a client. Under dual agency the agent is asking to represent both sides of a potential deal. This is not in your best interests as a buyer. As of the writing of this article this is covered in the publication called Working With a Realtor – Designated Agency. The law and the corresponding agency regulation may have changed. Ensure that you have the most up-to-date version so that you know your rights as a buyer and what the agent will be providing you in terms of the information and advice that you need to buy a home. Other provinces and countries will have similar laws that outline the professional relationship that you can have with a real estate agent. Find out which one applies to having a real estate agent represent you exclusively and most effectively and completely as a home buyer. Get more information from the BCREA brochure on Working with a Realtor that is available as a PDF in the following link BCREA Working with a Realtor BrochureCOMMENCE THE PROCESSTip No. 19 Get financially pre-approved.When you are ready to start looking for a home, get financially pre-approved.. Pre-approval means that you have provided a broker (or lender) with written evidence of your income, expenses, credit and other financial information and the financial institution has confirmed that you will be approved for a mortgage up to a specified amount and under specified conditions. Make sure you get the pre-approval in writing. Once you are pre-approved, much of the work toward obtaining an actual mortgage has been done. Getting pre-approved has two distinct advantages. For you, it means that your shopping experience will be less stressful because you have something in writing from the broker (or lender) stating how much money you will be able to borrow under a number of specified conditions. From a seller’s perspective, your offer will generally carry more weight against competing offers from people who are not pre-approved.Tip No. 20 Disclose.Do not withhold things from your mortgage lender, real estate agent or any other professional helping you with your real estate purchase. It is better to address potential problems head on and work out solutions than to withhold something and have it come back to bite you later on.