So, you have decided to buy your first home – congratulations! Buying your first home is an exciting and rewarding experience. There is a lot to look forward to when it comes to shopping for your first home such as checking out different neighbourhoods and browsing houses online, looking at what’s available. However, there are quite a few steps between deciding on buying a house and getting the keys to your new place. So, before you start introducing yourself to the new neighbours, below is a checklist of what you need to do before you can start your house-hunt.
1. Decide how much you can afford
Before you can even begin shopping for a house, you need to determine how much you want to spend on a house. It’s better to start doing this in the beginning stages before you start shopping because you want to be looking at houses that are realistic for you financially. Take a closer look at your financial situation and determine a budget that works best for you. Review your current savings and decide on how much you can afford for a down payment and how much you can afford in monthly mortgage payments. As well as drafting up a potential budget to make sure all the numbers will work out later on.
2. Get pre-approved for the mortgage you need
If you aren’t sure about how much you need or where to start, a great place to begin is by talking to a mortgage broker or lender. A mortgage broker, like myself, can show you where to start on your house-shopping journey by evaluating your current financial situation and showing you how much you can get approved for on a mortgage. This again will make your expectations more realistic while you begin shopping for your first home. And, don’t forget to make sure your credit is in good standing and any debt or loans you may have are at least being actively paid off or lowered prior to applying for a pre-approval for the mortgage you need.
3. Find a great real estate agent
Yes, it’s easy to shop online for a house, but nothing beats the professional opinion and assistance of a real estate agent. Buying a house is a huge investment and probably one of the biggest financial decisions you will make in your life, and you want to be sure that you are investing your money into the right property at that. By working with a professional real estate agent, they can show you great houses in your price range that won’t break the bank for you. Plus, it will help eliminate the extra stress of trying to navigate the real estate world by yourself as a first time home buyer.
4. Think about what you want in your first home
Before you start shopping, think about what you’re looking for in your first home. Evaluate your lifestyle and decide what is going to work best for you and your family. What are your values? Do you want to be close to a specific school district? Do you value more privacy and prefer not to live in a subdivision? How far do you want to travel to work? These are all things you need to think about before falling in love with a house. Create a checklist of what you’re looking for in a house and bring that with you to each house you visit. Even creating a pros and cons list for each house you visit will help you decide which one will work best for you.
5. Visit and tour different homes
Don’t just fall in love with the first property you see. Do your research and visit a variety of different homes and open houses to get a feel for the market. Also don’t feel pressured to rush into buying a house just because there’s a time limit. Again, this is a big decision you’re making. Although this is your first house and you may not live in it forever, it’s still a large financial choice you’re making. Take your time and be sure to pick a house you really love because depending on the term of your mortgage you should plan on living there for a few years at minimum – which is much different than surfing from apartment rental to apartment rental.
Are you ready to get started on your checklist and get one step closer to buying your first home? If you said yes, give me, Darren Robinson a call at 705-315-0516, and together we’ll get you started on your house-hunting journey. We’ll evaluate your finances and get you pre-approved for the mortgage you need and I’m happy to answer any questions you have too.