Buying a house is a daunting task for anyone, but it can be particularly overwhelming for first-time buyers.
“I recognize that buying or selling a home involves some of the biggest decisions that most people will ever make,” says Michelle Vaughan, a Realtor® with Royal Le Page Sussex Realty on the North Shore. “I’m excited to be able to facilitate such an important process.”
Michelle has put together 8 tips for first-time buyers to take into consideration when they’re navigating the ins and outs of the real estate world:
1) Always talk to a mortgage broker. Mortgage brokers will help you determine what you can afford. Otherwise, you end up looking at homes out of your price range, and that can be discouraging.
2) Beware of extra costs. There are typically costs associated with buying a home that aren’t in the purchase price including closing costs (legal paperwork) and property transfer tax (PTT). If you purchase a newly built home, you may also be charged GST, though these regulations change frequently. Check with your Realtor® if you’re not sure (which brings us to point #3).
3) Find a Realtor®. Finding a Realtor® who understands that you are new to house shopping and is willing to help you through the process will make the whole experience easier, less risky, and more productive. Ask people you know for recommendations. And don’t ever be afraid to ask your Realtor® questions!
4) Needs vs. wants. Make sure you differentiate your NEEDS from your WANTS. These can evolve when you start looking, but you need to start somewhere. Your Realtor® can help you with this part of the process, too.
5) Let your Realtor® be your guide. Your Realtor® can guide you through writing an offer, including the best subjects to incorporate, such as financing and inspection. If you are looking at a strata property, make sure you request all the documents and thoroughly check the minutes (to see what is going on in the complex), the financial records, and possibly a depreciation report, if available. And don’t panic when reading through it—all buildings need maintenance!
6) Once you’re accepted, be diligent. After getting an accepted offer, do anything that needs to be done to satisfy your subjects. This can include working with a mortgage broker on financing, or getting a house inspection done.
7) The deposit cheque: now it’s official. When you remove your subjects and give your deposit cheque, you have what is called a firm and binding contract. This means you are committed to following through on the sale. If you need advice on hiring a lawyer to do your closing, ask your Realtor®.
8) Home insurance. Make sure you obtain home insurance before you close.