Buying a House – 21 - 30 Real Tips from Real People

(September 21, 2022 )

Tip No. 21 Avoid large purchases during the Mortgage Loan Process.You have to have a shiny new car to go with that brand new house, right? Wrong! If you need to obtain a mortgage approval to buy your new home, do not do this during your mortgage loan approval process. Large expenditures made before or during this process will jump out during a credit check and they can hurt your debt-to-income ratio, especially if you are taking on a long-term obligation like a car loan. Other major purchases (expensive home appliances, furniture, vacations, etc.) should also be avoided during this timeframe for the same reason. Bottom line – do not do anything while applying for a loan that will diminish your financial health.Tip No. 22 Avoid changing jobs or retiring during the Mortgage Loan Process.For the same reasons given in the previous tip, changing jobs or retiring during the mortgage loan approval process is generally not a good idea. Changing jobs within the same field for more money is not necessarily a bad thing, but changing career fields could call into question your ability to repay the mortgage from a lender’s perspective. Be sure to talk to your lender about any changes in your situation like this so that you do not end up with any unpleasant surprises.Tip No. 23 Remember to set aside money for the deposit.When making an offer, most sellers will want a deposit to be deposited within some period of time of the offer being accepted. Sometimes they will also want the deposit increased when all conditions are removed. Remember to set aside enough money to cover these possibilities. Losing your dream home to another buyer because you did not have enough money set aside for a deposit would probably not sit well with you or your family.Tip No. 24 Borrow only what you need.Most of us would like the nicest home that we can afford but sometimes that will take us a bit beyond our comfort zone financially. Being pre-approved for a larger loan does not mean that you have to take it. Ensure that you have considered all of the other expenses and that your leave yourself something extra for life’s unexpected expenses such as the transmission in your car or truck letting go at just the wrong time. “When it rains, it pours” is a saying that seems so true when unexpected expenses arrive in bunches.Tip No. 25 New or Resale?While there may be many homes on the market, they generally all have their advantages and disadvantages. Before starting to look for the home that will meet your needs, consider whether or not you want to buy property and build a home to suit your needs or whether or not you will be satisfied with the purchase of a home that is already on the market. Get to know what the difference in price and time will be when building new versus buying a home on the market If for example, it will cost 20% more to build new in the current market than to buy used, would you not want to know that up front? When building, there are many things to think about ahead of time to ensure that you get the home that you anticipate. A good builder can help you with the process. Consider the total time involved – the wait time to engage the builder and the time it takes the builder to build the home and transfer title to you. Wait times of 6 months to a year for a good builder in a busy market are not unreasonable. Build times vary greatly. If a builder tells you that they can build a home in 8 weeks and another tells you it will take 6 to 8 months find out why there is such a difference. If you are looking for something that is already on the market, expect to have to do some work such as painting after you move in. While you may find the home that meets all of your needs that is in move in ready condition, these types of “finds” are less common that the ones requiring some work. Do not be surprised if some work is needed after you move in.Tip No. 26 Start Online but View in Person.While viewing homes online bear in mind that online listings can often make a home appear quite differently than what the home will look like when viewed in person. Smells, the feel and warmth that a specific home may exude in real life cannot be replicated online. Use all of our senses to assess a home that you view in person and trust your instincts.Tip No. 27 Get to know the Local Real Estate Market.While many different things can and often do affect real estate markets, all real estate markets are local. Even when a particular real estate market like the Comox Valley may be exhibiting some sort of trend, a specific neighbourhood may be displaying the opposite trend. It is important to understand the type of real estate market that you are buying into so that you do not over pay. It is also important to know the kind of homes that are typically found in a specific neighbourhood so that you do not purchase one that is lacking some of the major features incorporated into all of the other homes in the area. For example, most homes in a particular neighbourhood are rancher style homes with 3-4 bedrooms. One home just came on the market at a price slightly below the market. It is a two story home with 2 bedrooms. How well might this home sell in relation to the others when it comes time to sell it in a buyer’s market? Your realtor should be able to help you and provide you with the information and advice that you need o the local market.Tip No. 28 Look for your new home objectivelyThis is easy to say and sometimes hard to do. When you start looking for a home try and remain objective about what you see compared to the list of needs and wants that you prepared. Home buying can often be an emotional experience. While an emotional attachment to your home is understandable, too much of an emotional attachment to a home when you are a buyer can result in too high an offer and/or something important being overlooked in the home. By remaining objective about the homes that you see, you will often be better off than if you “fall in love” with one too early in the buying process. Be prepared to walk away if your best offer is rejected.Tip No. 29 First Impressions are ImportantFirst impressions of the home and the surrounding neighbourhood are important. When you first drive into the driveway, the overall welcoming impression for most people is very important, from the colour of the front door to how the house fits on the lot. The same can be said for the impression you get from the home when you first walk through the front door. Trust your senses and instincts.Tip No. 30 Create a Contenders List.Normally looking for a home is a process of elimination. Take the ones that you know do not work for you off the list right away and do not spend much time looking at them. Spend your time with the ones that are real possibilities. Create a list of contending homes and try to reduce it to a handful or less. Once you have a short list of contenders, it is time to get more serious.