Buying a home for the first time can be a daunting and stressful business. Just saving for the down payment on a property in the Greater Toronto Area can be tough enough – for those just starting out, you might want to consult our article on budgeting over here //bit.ly/1wXnmYX to get an idea of how to budget when trying to save for the purchase of Toronto real estate. Once you have saved up enough cash for a down payment on your pad, there are a few things to consider before rushing out to visit open houses. Read on for a few tips that will help savvy first time-home buyers navigate the sometimes tricky waters of buying a house.
1. Know your neighbourhoods
As simple as that sounds, knowing your Ontario neighbourhoods involves more than just knowing what streets make up a community – it includes knowing the demographics, the transportation, the community services, the facilities and the available schooling. Whether you want a specific community for it’s proximity to your work or it’s abundance of nightlife will definitely determine the areas best suited for you and your family’s lifestyle. A couple of good sites delivering such information can be found here //bit.ly/1xuaM4Z and here //bit.ly/13OXiTP.
2. Know your budget
While we will all sometimes get carried away when house-hunting and wander into properties that are clearly out of our budget range, be prepared to know exactly how far out you can comfortably go before ending up house-poor. Set a realistic sliding scale of minimum and maximum price projections and then stick to it. And remember – always create your budget using your NET salary to have the clearest understanding of what you can afford.
3. Know what you want
We all want as much as we can get from a home, but realistically there will be certain elements that will make or break a sale. The best thing to do is to sit down and write out all of things you absolutely must have in a home and all of those elements you would like to have in a home. By knowing what you want and what you can live without, you will more easily be able to narrow down your choices when out hunting for homes.
4. Know that you are pre-approved
Once your budget is set, your down payment is saved, your list of must-have’s is created and you know your top-three neighbourhoods, it is now time to start searching for the right mortgage lender. Getting yourself pre-approved is necessary in a hot-market. Some sellers won’t even consider offers from a buyer who doesn’t already have the backing of a financial institution. Knowing that you are pre-approved for a mortgage will also give you confidence when you are house-hunting and will make securing that perfect property far easier when you do find it.
5. Know your realtor
Although finding a realtor might seem straight-forward, there are many elements that go into getting the right pairing for you. Firstly, you need to feel comfortable with your agent. Secondly, you need to be 100% sure that s/he is working for you and not for themselves. The best place to find agents is through family and friends, colleagues or other sources of referrals. A good agent will sit down and talk to you to find out what it is you’re looking for before anything else. Once they have a handle on what you want and the neighbourhoods that interest you, only then will they begin their search for you. Be prepared to go through at least one or two agents before you find the right one.
As long as you are prepared, house hunting can be a fun and memorable experience.