Planning to buy a home can be a daunting task, and often times it’s hard to even know where to start. Once you get past clicking through homes on the internet, things seem to get a bit more complicated.
Regardless if you’re a first time home buyer, or if you’ve done this before, here are some great tips to buying a home:
Choose a Realtor
We know, we know, “the realtors are telling us how important it is to use a realtor”.
But this isn’t our business talking, it’s our experience. And this might be the single most important piece of advice for buying a home.
To most, this may seem like an obvious first step, but many people still believe they can tackle buying a home on their own. Most believe that not having a realtor will save them money, when that couldn’t be further from the truth (FYI: the home seller pays realtors commission, not the buyers). In fact, not having a realtor will most likely cost you a lot more money, time, and sanity.
A great realtor will get to know you, and provide an inventory of homes that fit in your budget, meet your tastes and desires, and give you plenty of selection at your fingertips. They can also provide insight on what to look out for, what homes are actually worth, and help you with the countless questions that come up during viewing, negotiating, pre-close, and post-close.
Most importantly, realtors will help you buy a home based on good decision making, not on emotion.
Research your Neighborhood
Now that you have a realtor, you can put them to work. They’ll help you discover insights into different neighbourhoods, learn about schools (even if you don’t have kids, a good or bad school can affect the value of your home), find trends in property taxes, and follow trends of market value.
Visit the neighbourhood at different times of day and see how it functions. How is traffic? What will your commute to work look like? Are there playgrounds for your kids? What is the noise level at night? How far is the grocery store? Figure out what you want in a neighbourhood, then go see if the home you want has what you’re looking for.
Remember, you’re not just moving into a home, you’re moving into a community.
Look Below the Surface
Much like choosing a realtor, home buyers should never skip hiring a home inspector.
Once you find the home you want to buy, bring in a professional to look over every inch of the house. An inspector looks at a home differently than you will. They are trained to search for issues and problem areas, and will ensure that you’re not inheriting someone else’s problems.
The home inspector will help you formulate important questions for the sellers, and even help your realtor in their negotiations. If they find some serious concerns, they could even reveal that the house of your dreams would actually end up being a financial nightmare.
A good inspector will cost about $800, but it will be worth every penny. Plus, your realtor will have connections to a few, so you won’t need to go far to find a well recommended home inspector.
Plan Your Budget Accordingly
There are a few steps you should take when budgeting for your home. First, you’ll want to get pre-approved for a mortgage. Pre-approval will allow you to discover what homes you can afford and then shop accordingly.
Too often, this is the only factor home buyers look at when budgeting for their home. While understanding your mortgage is a great first step, you should also take the time to consider other expenses that come with home ownership.
Expenses such as property tax, maintenance, and utilities can really add up per month. You need to make sure you understand how much property tax will be, get an estimate of heat and lights costs, and work in any repairs that may need to be done now or in the future.
By having properly managed expectations for what a home will cost, you won’t run into a financial crisis down the road, and can focus on enjoying your new home.
Are you planning on buying a new home? If you want more tips, or help finding the house of your dreams, contact us and let’s start the conversation.