Whether you are first-time home buyers or seasoned investors, buying real estate is probably the biggest financial transaction of your life.The process of buying a home involves several steps, some more fun than others. Here is an overview of the buying process.
The first thing you need to do is determine your financial readiness. You will need a down payment of at least 5% of the purchase price of the home you’re planning to buy. The next step is to find out what you can afford. Online mortgage calculators are fine to give you an idea, but if you are serious about buying a home, you will want to see a mortgage broker. Mortgage brokers have the ability to get the best mortgage for your situation. You will want to get pre-approved for a mortgage so you know exactly how much you can afford, and there won’t be any surprises later.
The next thing to do is think about where you want to live, what kind of home you want to buy, and what features are “must haves” and “would like to haves”. Invariably there will be compromises, but at this stage, dream big and try to be as detailed as possible.
Now it’s time to hire your REALTOR®. Many people start searching without a realtor, not realizing how much time and effort they could have saved themselves. Realtors have access to property listings before they hit the public MLS®, as well as other listings that aren’t advertised. They will also have knowledge about market trends and can advise you on everything from building construction to possible tax implications.
Boots on the ground
It’s time to view properties. It’s important to check out lots of homes, both via open houses and on tours with your realtor. This is the stage of the game where your “must haves” and “would like to haves” become clearer. You might even surprise yourself and discover that a “must have” is now only a “maybe”. The only way this happens though is to put the time in. Keep an open mind. Even if you view an absolute clunker, it’s still a valuable experience because it reinforces what you don’t want!
The final countdown
Once you’ve found a place, your realtor will prepare an offer and will negotiate on your behalf until a deal is reached. Now is the time to do a home inspection and finalize your mortgage with a lawyer or notary. You realtor can provide you with referrals to trusted professionals. After that, the only thing left to do is get the keys and move in.
Congratulations, you’re a homeowner!