Deciding to take the plunge and get into the housing market is an exciting (and terrifying) time. From open houses to home insurance, these tips will help you get prepped for your first home.
The majority of first-time homebuyers in Canada were born between 1980 and 1995, according to a recently released RE/MAX survey. This makes millennials the vanguards of the first-home real-estate market.
What should I buy?
Condos offer affordability by virtue of their design – their compact size comes with a smaller price tag. Shared amenities mean you’ll have to pay condo fees, but the cost is lower than what you’d pay for the same services in a freehold home. And oftentimes condos are located on or near transit hubs that allow you to get by without owning a car.
Freehold homes, while carrying a typically larger price tag, offer more freedom to make improvements, and often impose less restrictions on what you can do on your property.
What can I buy?
This is when a mortgage broker should be consulted. Certainly, your REALTOR can help, but in the end, you need to know what is the best mortgage product for you. Each mortgage should really be tailored to the individual(s) making the purchase. Rate isn’t everything, so certainly a discussion with a professional is the best idea.
In general, to avoid heartbreak, knowing what your financial ceiling is before you start looking is the best plan. It is really difficult to find what you want in the $300K category if you have spent months looking at $400k homes.
When you do know your range and that magical “Open House” sign appears in your preferred neighbourhood, don’t be shy. Get in there, look around and put on your inspector’s hat. You should certainly get a home inspection as pert of your buying process, but if you can avoid going to an open-house with “rose coloured glasses” then the process is generally more pleasant. You don’t have to be overly critical either, but somewhere in the middle is probably a good place to be.
How do I buy it?
This is where your REALTOR can help you the most. This is the part of the process where the REALTOR can guide you on what terms and conditions to have in your offer, provide information about the property, neighbouring properties, and other considerations about the property and your use of it. Once the offer is accepted by both parties, the property is usually considered conditionally sold. That is to say sold – pending conditions set by the buyer (typically) – and it is then up to the buyer to do their due diligence regarding the property.
Verifying financing and insurance, and a home inspection are common conditions that need to be met in a manner that is satisfactory to the buyer. Once the buyer is satisfied that their conditions have been satisfied, and the appropriate documents are exchanged, the home is considered sold “firm”.
It is now the lawyer’s turn, so yes you need a lawyer. In general, I suggest that you have your lawyer selected up front. That way, if questions come up, or things need to move quickly you have a relationship in place.
So what do you need to be ready?
- Mortgage Broker
- Home Inspector
- Insurance Agents (Property & Life)
Having a good relationship with these professionals will help you understand:
- if you have enough money,
- how much spending power you have,
- what it will cost to protect your asset,
- how to protect your mortgage,
- what issues (if any) your home has,
- how the systems of your home work,
- and ensure that the transaction runs smoothly from dream to reality.
So, are you fit to buy? Come talk to me. Let me introduce you to a team of professionals that can help you get to where you want to go!