Thinking about buying your first home?
There is a saying out there that buying a house and buying insurance are two of the most important and emotional decisions we make. Yet, we deal with the most unemotional people to make the purchase.
Educate yourself first. It is easy to get wrapped up in the excitement, but take your time to learn about your rights and options. It will save you a lot of headache later.
Here are some tips I can offer:
- To avoid feeling cash-strapped, consider homes that are less than your pre-approved mortgage amount. Keep in mind, that the mortgage payment is only a portion of your monthly expenses - tax and utilities can be as much as 45% of the mortgage payment.
- Take the time to find the right agent. You never want to feel pressured into making an offer.
- 60 amp electrical service or old furnace. No big deal? Think again! These can be costly and time-consuming to correct. Most contractors work 9-5. If these are your hours, will you have to take time off, even just to get a quote? Save the unwanted stress and build these costs into your offer - require the seller to fix them.
- Consider doing a home inspection before you make an offer if it's an older home.
- Ask lots of questions! The realtor must disclose everything they know. Challenge them to find out if they do not.
- Do the walk through yourself before closing. This is your last chance to make sure the conditions have been met, its the same house you made an offer on, and the seller's junk has been removed. No one wants to comb through another person's leftover junk, especially if it leaves you discovering their old marriage trinkets and divorce proceedings (seriously)! If you can not go, send a friend or family member, not your agent.
- There will always be more houses for sale.
- Don't go nuts spending when you move in. Take some time to learn what you really need, what can wait, and what you might find at a bargain. I would've saved hundreds of dollars if I'd waited for garage sales.
Thinking at all about buying a home? Check out Home Girl: The Single Woman's Guide to Buying Real Estate in Canada by Brenda Bouw.
Brenda provides excellent advice on everything from selecting your agent to what to expect after the deal closes.