Buying a home is, for most of us, the biggest financial decision of our lives and we therefore wanted to offer up a few key tips that we believe you should consider to aid you along your journey!
1. Make a wish list
In order to better understand what exactly you’re looking for, it is always best to make a wish list of all of the features you’d like your new house to have, in addition to neighbourhoods you’d like the new house to be located in or near. This will not only help you narrow down your search, but will allow you to clearly relay your needs and wants to your real estate agent.
2. Hire a top real estate agent
When it comes to buying your future home, you want to have a true professional there to guide you. A top real estate agent will be able to help you filter through your wish list to meet your budget requirements. They will advise you on which neighbourhoods and property types may be best for both your lifestyle and budget. They will negotiate the best price possible on your behalf. And they will guide you through the inspection process (and any negotiation that comes after the inspection). A somewhat intimidating process becomes far simpler when working with a top real estate agent. That's exactly why Zenmatch tries to make finding a great agent easier for all.
3. Start saving for your down payment early
Budgeting – and saving – as early as possible is a huge help in what is likely going to be the most expensive purchase you ever make. Some people work with a financial advisor to help them decide the right balance of downpayment-to-mortgage, however as a general rule of thumb, the more money you can put towards your down payment, the less you will need to borrow for a mortgage. We suggest that you use this down payment calculator to help you determine how much you would like to save to meet your goal.
4. Get pre-approved for a mortgage
Knowledge is key, and knowing how much you can afford is essential when looking to purchase a property. It is best to get pre-approved for the maximum that you can afford, and then proceed to look at houses that cost less than that amount. This gives you enough leeway in the event of any unforeseen expenses that may come up once you buy the house. In the event that you are also selling your home, you may want to only make non-contingent offers if you have been approved for the new property value in addition to your current expenses.
5. Always consider scheduling a home inspection
Before completing the buying process, definitely consider getting a home inspection done by a professional. They will be able to tell you if any repairs are needed immediately. You should factor the costs of any repairs into your expected expenses, or consider looking at a house that needs less to be done. Keep in mind that there may be the option to re-negotiate the price if extensive repairs are required.
6. Make sure you budget for any renovations and monthly expenses involved in owning a home
If you are intending on doing any renovations to the house after you buy it, budget for these upgrades. Add up the cost of the house, plus any repairs, plus any renovation projects you plan on doing. Make sure that you can afford all of these expenses, and always give yourself a buffer for unexpected costs while undergoing these upgrades and renovation projects. Apart from upgrades, there are certain costs associated with owning a property, such as; property & school taxes, utilities, insurance, amongst other fees are regular expenses that you will need to keep in mind when calculating your monthly budget. Maintenance, repairs, and potential property tax increases should also be budgeted.
7. Look at the surrounding neighbourhood
Even if the perfect house passes inspection and is well within your budget, the neighbourhood that the house is located in is an important factor. The propertys’ proximity to grocery stores, hospitals, and any other amenities is a key component for resale in addition to convenience. Drive through the neighbourhood on a weekend and a weekday, at different times of the day, to check traffic, noise, and activity levels around the house. Research the closest schools; even if you don’t have children or don’t plan on having children, as schools can impact the value of your home. Have a look at your potential neighbours’ houses too – you want to make sure that they are not in disrepair or collecting junk in their front yard as that will most likely devalue your property or cause future buyers to lose interest in the neighbourhood as a whole.
8. Be optimistic, and be patient!
Finding the perfect home can sometimes be a challenging and lengthy process. Knowing the difference between nice-to-haves and need-to-haves and giving yourself enough time to find that dream home is a must. Remember that as frustrating as the process may get sometimes, at the end of the tunnel there is a light, which is hopefully your dream home! So keep a smile on your face!