House Hunting Can Drive You to the Looney Bin

Posted: December 8, 2009 in Buyers, General Information, Mortgages
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So you’ve decided that it was time to forego the rental unit and settle down into a home. That’s a good start not to mention that real estate is the best and most secure  investment that you can make. Whether you are looking into your first home, looking to downsize or any where in between buying a home can be a trying experience and downright stressful if you let it be. Let’s face it, buying a home is not like you can return it within 30 days with your receipt in hands because you don’t like it anymore (actually you can, but read on).  It’s a major, life changing action that will try you to the limit. So, where do you start? First step should be interviewing Realtors. Flashy signs, back of the bus or Real Estate magazines are not the place to look. Talk to your friends, co-workers, neighbours, family and see who they have used. Check the Realtors web site and read their credentials and also their clients referrences. Check out the 10 questions to ask a Realtor by clicking HERE.  

The real estate market can be very intimidating  especially for newbies. Drooling over listings on the MLS website, or any other listing service, is one thing, but setting up showings, researching neighbourhoods and making offers is a bigger, trickier task!

Some people decide to go forward with their home purchase without a buyer’s representative, but is that really the best option? You will  need help navigating this process, from figuring out what neighbourhoods fit your criteria (close to transit, safe, no obvious reasons why the property would lose value during your time there) and keeping you rooted in reality so you don’t end up “house poor” to making an offer and recommending the other professionals you’lld need as part of your home buying team, such as home inspectors and real estate lawyers and so forth.

Buyer’s representatives help you find a property suiting your criteria, set up showings, offer counsel throughout the process and basically be there to represent your interests and answer your questions — all good things. Best of all,  the buyer’s agent’s commission is paid by the seller.

Additional helpful nuggets include that realtors have way more access to information and listings than you do, and are able to spend their time staying on top of the changes in the market, the news and new properties — unlike most first-time buyers, who are peeking at the info during lunch breaks and evenings. They also are more familiar with all the factors that go into a property’s value, such as nearby schools, zoning issues and resale value. You’ll also need to look at his availability. You would love the fact that he tweets and blogs, as it gives other ways to communicate and learn from him.

Your next step is to get pre-approved. Speak to your Realtor about this right of the bat as he can sometimes assist in this process. Some Realtors are also licensed as Mortgage representatives. Knowing how much you can afford and what the financial institution will lend you for a mortgage not only sets the canvas for home buying but also gives you clout with the home seller when time comes to place an offer.

Next you’ll want to decice what you want in a house for the now and down the road. You might be single now but what about three years from now. You might be on the road to wedding bliss and a bundle of joy in the oven. Planning ahead will be worth while down the road. After throwing out the ridiculous and impractical ideas you will find that your list of priorities is actually pretty small — most likely two or more bedrooms in a safe neighbourhood close to facilities or easy access to drive to work.

Your next step will be to look at homes. One word of advice is to take one  home at a time and not to get your hopes up based on photos after all you are making a large purchase which needs consideration and attention. This should not be a drive through experience. If you’ve done your homework in selecting your Realtor you will not be doing the 10 house showings five nights in a row. He will know what you’re looking for and will not waste your time or his. If you remain realistic and can listen to the wise counsel of your Realtor you will be placing an offer on your dream home in the precise time that it takes to find it.

Looking to get pre-approved? CLICK HERE. Looking to find a Buyer’s Representative? CLICK HERE.
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