As a first-time home buyers, the best thing you can do is surround yourself with trusted professionals that will advise you every step of the way and have your best interest in mind. There are so many steps and you want to avoid the pitfalls and mistakes by having experts at your side. And this does not always include your well-meaning family and friends. When buying a home for the first time it is like becoming parents for the first time, everyone has advice for you!
Getting pre-approval when buying Real estate
The first step I recommend is to get a solid mortgage pre-approval. There is no point hopping into open house visits and searching on-line without knowing your true budget. This will allow you to sit down with your realtor and look at all your options. Depending on your budget and needs, you may be surprised that instead of buying a single-family home, you may end up with a duplex or a condominium. Your budget may not allow you to get into your first-choice neighborhood and you will have to have a plan to move forward. A good realtor will offer you options and solutions based on your budget which you may have not thought of yourself. Keep all your options open and make sure you share your short term and long-term goals with your realtor.
What to look for in a Real estate agent
Your realtor should have enough experience to create a solid plan for you and you should trust this person to advise you. They will explain the entire process and what their role will be. Once you have the plan and start visiting homes, it is easy to get emotional and “fall in love with a house”. Your realtor should get to know you well enough so that you can decide together what type of buyer you are. If you are not very handy and want a move in ready home, you will pay top dollar for the home. If you are willing to do a few upgrades yourself, there will be more negotiating power on homes that need some work, and you will benefit by adding value to the property. Remember that each home has its own story and your realtor will gather as much information in order to strategize and prepare a good offer to purchase. If the house is priced to sell, you need to follow your realtor’s advice and offer over the asking price, if it is within your budget of course.
Should I get a building inspection when buying Real Estate
Once your offer is accepted, it is recommended to go through a building inspection. Depending on the age of the property and what the sellers have declared the building inspector should provide a report, to give you an overall idea of that current state of the home and future maintenance and major repairs to come. If something major comes up your realtor is there to help you navigate this.
Once the final negotiations are complete, and all parties agree to move forward, all the paperwork is sent to your notary or lawyer who will take care of researching the history of the property (title search) and transferring the property legally to your name. This process sometimes reveals surprises concerning the property such as zoning changes, municipal by-laws, encroachments or other legal matters affecting the property. Your realtor will help find solutions to get everything straightened out before the signing date.
When it comes time to sign for the house officially and obtain the keys, it feels like all the hard work was worth it and you will officially become a homeowner! After the purchase, feel free to keep in touch with your realtor as you may have questions that come about the house as a first-time buyer.
With a trusted realtor by your side, the process will be smoother than going it alone.
Helen Akrivos is a Montreal real estate expert who is passionate about educating and inspiring everyone to succeed in real estate! She holds a Chartered real estate broker license and is President of North East Realties agency in Montreal. As a lecturer in the Residential Real Estate Program at College Lasalle, Co-Host of “The Real Estate Show” on CJAD AM800 radio and contributor to the MTL Times newspaper, Helen shares her stories of real estate success to help as many people as possible! E-mail your comments.