Thinking about buying your first home? Whether you are buying your first home or fifth, the process of buying a home can be emotional and time-consuming. Feeling that, in the end, you’ve made the right decision at the right price can make all the difference. As with most major decisions, the amount of work and research you undertake before you start shopping can have a dramatic effect on how well your final outcome is. After all, you’re about to purchase the single biggest asset you’ve ever bought.
Step One: Build Your Team
It’s important to get the right people working behind you to achieve your goal. I strongly recommend interviewing agents to find one you are comfortable and can really connect with. It can be difficult to convey what you’re looking for in a home if you don’t feel a connection or you have a lack of communication with your agent. An agent can also help save you a lot of time. They can research listings with your search criteria for you and will have access to listings that haven’t hit the market yet. This is huge, especially in a competitive market where you think you’ve found “the one” and it’s already been sold. Frustrating! Your agent can even preview homes for you while you’re at work or away and know which ones are worth your time and which can be weeded out. Not to mention, use their expert knowledge to inform you which listings are overpriced, signs of grow ops, fires, Reno’s without building permits etc. Another great thing about having an agent you trust, is their referral database. They can help you find a mortgage broker, lawyer, movers, you name it!
Step Two: Get Pre-Approved
Getting a pre-approval on a mortgage before you sit down to make an offer on a listing will help you to have a stronger offer for negotiating against other buyers. You’ll also have a better understanding of your full cost of borrowing and all of the different kinds of mortgage products. Remember, entering your numbers online is only a pre-qualifier, not a pre-approval.
Step Three: Find the Right Home
This step isn’t always that easy. But the right agent will help make it more enjoyable without you feeling stressed, overwhelmed and drained. My advice is to look at a maximum of 5-7 homes per outing. Just enough to know what you’re looking for, but not too much that you start to forget what you’ve seen.
Step Four: Presenting Your Offer and Negotiating
So now you have an agent you can trust, a mortgage representative you are pleased with, and have found a home you love… You can be confident that you’ve got a skilled negotiator on your side! Don’t be disheartened if your offer doesn’t get accepted right away. Just think of your offer as a starting point to a conversation. Counteroffers happen all the time, and the momentum will help the deal move forward. It’s also important to remember that price isn’t the only thing you can negotiate. There’s conditions, closing dates, appliances or other items in the home as well.
Step Five: Have a Home Inspection Done
You’re almost there! Your offer has been accepted, now you just have to be sure everything is sound with the home and there are no surprises after you move in. A home inspection is a condition of purchase which means you have the right to cancel the contract, should something in the home need repair that you are unwilling to deal with. No one wants to be locked in a contract and find out that there are costly repairs ahead of them. Knowing any defects within the home gives you an opportunity to request the seller have it repaired before closing or renegotiate price. Rather than lose the deal entirely, a seller will often agree to repair. A home inspection is really the best way to move ahead with confidence. Please keep in mind that no home, even newly built, is perfect. A lot of common minor defects are to be expected. This is why having a qualified inspector do the inspection is so important. They can sort through the normal and not so normal defects. They can then let you know what not to worry about, what can be dealt with down the road, and what needs attention immediately.
Congratulations! You are now the proud owner of a home! That wasn’t so bad, was it? Your next steps are to start packing up and get ready for moving day. Better start thinking of decorating ideas! I Hope these steps were helpful and informative for your next big journey in life. Just remember to try and have FUN along the way, because buying a home should be exciting and a learning experience! And if you ever need more information, clarification, or have any questions, I am always a call or click away!