Rule #1 – Get an agent. (Dale Dyer is a Broker and has over 23 years of full-time experience in Real Estate)
A lot of people don’t realize that when you’re buying a house, the agent doesn’t cost  you a thing as the seller pays the commission. The agent  knows the market and can help you find good houses and steer you clear of bad ones. Referrals are always the best way to find a good agent, or visit a few open houses and interview the agents to see if you would like to work with them. Online shopping is also popular and most buyers will do their research online first.

Rule #2 – How much can you really afford? (Dale Dyer is also a Mortgage Specialist)
Know the number game.  Get pre-qualified to find out the maximum amount of mortgage that you can afford. Along with your deposit you will be able determined the maximum amount for your loan. Don’t forget that with the purchase of the house you will also be looking at closing costs, lawyers’ fees, moving fees, and perhaps a budget for redecorating and painting or renovating once you move in. There is also the incidentals. If this is your first home you might need to invest in a lawn mower, maybe a snowblower if you have a large drive way. Will you need to do some landscaping? Count on extra tools for maintaining the garden such as hoses, seeder, shovels, rakes and hoes. All these little things add up.

Rule #3 – Make a wish list. (Dale Dyer can help you sort through it all)
Where would you like to live? Do you have a preferred neighbourhood? How many bedrooms are you requiring? Think ahead ten years and consider whether the family could increase or decrease to help you make some of the decisions. For instance consider the parking. You might be single right now with a small car but what about three to five years from now? If you have kids will they be driving in a few years. Will there be an extra car in the driveway? All of these need to be taken into consideration.  Do you want a garden or low-maintenance landscaping? Would you prefer an older home or a new one? A condo? Fully renovated or ready for transformation? Do you prefer to be near good schools, shopping, transit, or have good highway access?
Once you’ve toured a few houses with your agent, eventually you may find a promising prospect. Don’t let emotion go too much to your head; there are some important points to consider before making an offer.

Rule #4 -Take a second look.  (Dale Dyer knows what to look for)
The simplest is to go back for a second look. A house that seems idyllic on a Sunday morning may be dark and dreary on Monday evening. Ask about the neighbours. Are they considerate? Are there any buildings or other things in the area that could be turnoffs (a noisy high school down the street, bars or other attractions that could make street parking difficult on weekends)?
Look closely for things you might have missed the first time: the roof, the general state of repair, the size of the rooms. If you’re still serious, consider a house inspection, which can cost as much as $250 or more, but will tell you in exacting detail what work needs to be done. (The cost of repairs uncovered by an inspection can sometimes be negotiated between buyer and seller.)
Meanwhile, your agent should investigate the prices of comparable properties on the street and help you come up with a reasonable offer. Assuming there are no other offers in play, there may be a bit of bargaining between buyer and seller before a price that’s acceptable to both is reached and the final offer is accepted.

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