What's on your wish list?

In a previous column, I talked about the importance of knowing how much you are qualified to borrow.  The next step is being really clear about what type of house you want to buy.

In addition to knowing what you can afford, it is equally important to connect with a realtor you are comfortable working with. Realtors are experts with respect to the legal aspects of purchasing a home, and are knowledgeable about the features and characteristics of your community.

Your realtor will arrange for you to view several homes, and once you have decided on a home, your realtor will guide you through the process of making an offer. Your realtor will support you until the keys have changed hands.

Before you start shopping, take some time to think about your priorities. Consider your plans.

For instance:

  • Is there a particular area you want to live?
  • Do you need to be close to work, schools, shopping, or medical services?
  • Is access to public transportation important? Will your family be expanding in the near future?

Put everything you can think of on your wish list, but remember to be flexible. Sometimes buyers have to compromise because their funds are limited. It is important to get into a house you can afford and consider cosmetic upgrades down the road.

Even if you can't afford to replace the hideous shag carpet in the family room right away, it might be worth living with for awhile to get into a home that meets most of the big ticket items on your wish list that are hard to change (i.e.: location, number of bedrooms).

Alternatively, if there are major renovations to be done, you might consider a purchase plus improvements mortgage.

One way to be prepared is to do some of your own research. If there are certain areas you are interested in, take some time to drive around and look at the type of homes available.

If you see "for sale" signs, jot down the address or listing number.

Another way is to visit the realtor.ca site. Enter your preferred options and price range to get a better idea of listings available. Your realtor will also do homework on your behalf to identify suitable properties, and will be able to provide advice and information about different neighbourhoods in your community.

Being very clear about what is most important to you in terms of wish-list items will help your realtor narrow down the scope of your search.

When you start to look at homes, be careful not to be caught up by a house where minor upgrades and cosmetic fixes create the look that you are after, but that do not include the important features you need.

For instance, don't buy a two-bedroom house when you know you're planning to have a family and will need more rooms soon.

Don't make a compromise that will likely create a major strain down the road. If you're on a budget, look for a home whose full potential has yet to be realized.

A good strategy is to look for a house that you can add value to, as this will help you build equity for when you decide to upgrade.

If your budget allows, buying a new home means you won't have much to do in terms of upgrades or finish work.

After looking at multiple houses, you may find it hard to keep them straight in your mind. One suggestion is to write notes on the listing sheets for each house you view. Write down your general impression, as well as any specific features you want to remember.

After you have looked at a few properties you will likely start to refine your wish list. This will help save time for both you and your realtor as you become very clear on what you want.

Once you choose your ideal property, it's time to make an offer. Your realtor will write up the documentation and present it to the realtor representing the sellers. It is not unusual for offers to go back and forth several times before all the details are finalized.

Your realtor will explain the process to you, and help you arrange any required inspections and documentation.

After you have an accepted offer (agreed upon by you and the sellers), your mortgage professional will submit your application for final approval.

Once final approval is in place and you have removed all of the conditions of your offer, your documents will be forwarded to your lawyer to finalize all of the necessary paperwork.

During the search for your dream home, make sure you work closely with your mortgage broker/banker to keep them in the loop.

If you have been pre-approved over the last few months, it's important that you connect with your mortgage broker to make sure you are still eligible to borrow the same amount.  

Buying a home may seem daunting, but having the right team to support you will make it seem far less intimidating.  


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About the Author

Tracy Head and Laurie Baird help busy families find mortgage solutions. Together they have more than 45 years of experience in the mortgage industry.

With today’s increasingly complicated mortgage rules, Tracy and Laurie spend time getting to know the people they work with and help them to better understand the mortgage process. They support their clients before, during, and after their mortgage is in place.

Tracy and Laurie work closely with their clients, offering advice and options. With access to more than 40 different lenders, Tracy and Laurie are able to assist with residential, commercial, and reverse mortgages in order to match the needs of their clients with the right mortgage package.

They work closely with their clients to find the right fit, and are around to provide support for years down the road!

Contact them at 250-862-1806 or visit http://www.okanaganmortgages.com

Visit their blog at https://www.okanaganmortgages.com/blog


The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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