Get Pre-Qualified for a mortgage.
Have you talked to a bank or Mortgage Broker about what you can afford? Do you have some money set aside for a deposit? Although we always encourage our clients to include a Subject to Financing clause, if you haven’t started the process yet, then your offer could expire while your financial lender determines if you can afford the home or not (which in this market is taking sometimes 10 business days!)
There’s nothing more disheartening in the beginning stages of Purchasing your home than searching for a home that’s out of your price range and having to readjust to what you can afford. Your heart will be set on homes that you shouldn’t have been looking at and you’ll always be comparing to them. It makes for a rough start, trust us.
Seek out homes like a pro.
Tips for looking at homes in person:
- Car pool. If you’re looking at houses or condos with a Realtor, let them do the driving. Your attention is better focused on the actual neighbourhoods rather than when to turn left.
- Wear slip on/slip off shoes. Seriously. You’ll be taking your shoes off dozens of times, so save yourself the hassle of lace up shoes. Wearing socks will also save you in the ‘do-frat- boys-live- here?’ houses, and are typically more polite than walking around barefoot in a home you don’t know.
- Pack Snacks. You don’t want to interrupt the flow of house hunting to grab some food, especially if you’re on a time crunch. Plus you’re not going to like anything when you’re hangry.
- Don’t just focus on the house or condo, focus on the neighbourhood. Drive around the neighbourhood. Locate the schools, parks and grocery stores. Take a walk down the street and check out the neighbours.
- Experience the bad with the good. Every neighbourhood has its drawbacks, so make a plan to experience them. Thinking of buying a house near a busy street? Check it out during rush hour when traffic is at it’s worst.
- Take notes and photos. It’s surprising how quickly you can forget the first house or condo you saw. In fact, we make it a point to ask lots of questions while viewing homes to take notes for you, but always encourage you to write your own and take photos of every property. And no, you’re probably not allowed to take photos of other people’s houses, but it happens all the time. Just be discreet and don’t go posting them online.
- See past the gross. You’ll probably be surprised to find out how some people live, but don’t let someone’s bad decorating styles, outdated tastes and lack of housekeeping get in the way of finding your perfect home.
- Don’t fall in love with the seller’s stuff. This happens all the time and that beautifully staged condo may not look nearly as great when the designer furniture goes. Try to imagine the home with your belongings and style instead.
- Always have some of your agent’s business cards on hand. When you walk in to an Open House, the Agent that is hosting will appreciate being given your Realtor’s card so that they can follow up, which is important where it’s looking to become a multiple offer situation.
- Keep in mind that not all properties will have Open Houses, or may have them at times that are inconvenient for you. Working with a REALTOR is the only way to guarantee that you’ll be able to view the houses or condos you want.
Tips for looking at homes online:
- Keep an open mind. Photos aren’t always representative of what the house looks like in real life.
- Don’t always believe the description and read between the lines. ‘Ready for your personal touch’ may mean that it needs a lot of work.
- Remember that the asking price is very different than the sale price. In a hot market like Fraser Valley’s, houses often sell for more than the listing price. If you want to know actual sale prices, sign up for our monthly Neighbourhood Reports that give you all the inside scoop.
- If you’re shopping for a condo, keep in mind that what’s included in the maintenance fees varies from building to building, so it isn’t easy to compare condos. A lower maintenance fee might still mean more monthly costs if it doesn’t include heat and electricity.
- Take some time to learn how to read an MLS listing – all those acronyms are guaranteed to confuse you.
Get accustomed to what fair value is.
Then make an offer on a home you love without being intimidated by the paperwork or negotiations.
Be prepared for all Closing Costs.
So that there are no nasty surprises for you on Completion.