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June 12, 2014
Almost every homeowner has one of those “if only I’d known about that before I bought the house” kind of stories. The home-buying process can be full of surprises and unfortunately, these kinds of stories are inevitable. Here are 7 tips to help you minimize any second-guessing and ensure your experience is an enjoyable one:
1. Check and Double Check
Every real estate listing includes a number of facts and figures about the property. These include items like the cost of the property or floor plan measurements. While this might be great to drum up interest, these numbers are not necessarily set in stone – the best way to utilize this information is strictly as a guideline. For example, you may want to double check their accuracy. If 1700 square feet is actually 1400, you should certainly know before you close the deal.
2. Shop around for lenders and Agents
With your mortgage being such a large investment and your home being such an important purchase, you have to take the time to shop around for the right lender and real estate agent. Although you may have a “family friend” promising to give you a break on their commission, they may not be the right one to help you find the home you want. Also, Lenders are always developing new products to suit the marketplace, or offering incentives to acquire new clients – be sure to look before you leap!
3. There are lots of fees
A large portion of new homeowners talk about wishing that they knew about the many fees associated with purchasing a house. Insurance, home inspections, condo fees (if you go that route), renovations and repairs, closing costs, property taxes, utility hook-ups – the list can seem endless and overwhelming. Take the time to make a list so the surprise factor is as low as possible.
4. Use a proper Home Inspector
Homeowners who choose to use an unlicensed home inspector or those who even decide to do it themselves and miss something, definitely wish that they had initially done it differently. A licensed inspector is trained to look for the tell-tale signs of asbestos, wiring and plumbing problems or structural issues. Most importantly, you will have some recourse if something is missed.
5. Pre-Approval is good
Getting pre-approved for your mortgage can make the shopping process a lot more convenient and enjoyable. Knowing what you can afford while knowing where and where not to look will save you a ton of time and the crushing feeling of disappointment when trying to purchase a home you realize you cannot afford.
6. Is this price the right one?
Giving your finances a thorough check up to ensure you can afford your mortgage while at the same time maintaining a comfortable lifestyle is also a big “I wish I’d known” factor. Just because a lender will pre-approve a certain amount doesn’t always mean that you should go up to that amount. If certain aspects of your lifestyle require sacrifice for your purchase, then perhaps it is not the right property for you. Do the math before you buy.
7. Some problems are ok…
There are quite a few homeowners that will reject a home because of some very small reasons and then wish that they had overlooked the issue and bought the house anyway. Paint colours, backsplashes, shower tiles and cupboard handles are all simple fixes that can enhance your new purchase. Focus more on the neighbourhood and your comfort level in the house – if it feels right, go for it and make the little changes later on.
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