Planning to buy your first home is a major life event and a significant milestone. But the excitement at moving forward with your life can quickly become overwhelming as you begin to realize there are many steps involved in purchasing a home.
From the long road of saving up a down payment to figuring out what criteria to include in your search to budgets and financing, buying a home is complicated if you go in without being prepared. With that in mind, we’ve put together a step-by-step guide to buying a home, so you’ll know what you need to do and in what order when it comes time to make the dream of home ownership a reality.
Save Your Down Payment
The first thing you need to do before buying a house is saving up for the down payment. The exact amount needed isn’t set in stone. Generally speaking, it’s suggested you should put down 20 percent. However, if you’re buying a house for the first time, you may qualify for a first-time homebuyer incentive, which can reduce the amount you need to save for a down payment.
Find an Experienced Local Real Estate Agent
Some people try to go the DIY route when buying a house. With endless resources available online, it can seem like handling the transaction yourself is a way to save on costs and fees.
But the truth is that even with those resources, it’s best to leave things to the professionals. With significant sums of money and many legalities and finer points, the fees spent on a real estate agent can end up costing less than if you were to make a mistake with paperwork. It’s also good to work with someone who is experienced at negotiating and can provide a second opinion while you’re looking at different houses.
And while there are resources to help educate yourself, they don’t match the benefits of getting advice and feedback from a real estate agent who knows the area you’re looking in. Buying a home in Ajax requires working with someone who has deep knowledge of the Ajax area. An experienced real estate agent in Ajax will be able to help point you to neighbourhoods that are suited to your needs and tastes.
Narrow Your Search
Working with a professional, local real estate agent is essential. But in order for them to help you find what you’re looking for, you need to consider what your needs and wants in a home are. Your real estate agent will be able to help you with this, but the final decision comes down to you.
Narrowing your search requires thinking of everything from what kind of home you are looking for, the location, and how close you want to be to certain amenities. In addition, there are questions about the features of the home. Consider the most important things to you and then divide them into a list of must-haves and nice-to-haves. This will help you and your agent narrow down your search. You can always adjust your list as you go and begin looking at houses.
While not absolutely necessary, getting pre-approval from a mortgage lender is strongly suggested. Without it, your offer is less likely to be taken seriously, as there will be concerns that your offer will fall through.
Avoid that situation by getting pre-approval. It’s also handy because it helps you have a solid number to work with as you look at your budget. It’s easy to focus on the listed price of houses, but it’s important to think about the monthly payment for your mortgage. Plus, home ownership comes with all sorts of other financial obligations, like property taxes and homeowner’s insurance.
Calculate costs and consider how much of a monthly payment you can afford, and that will help you to set your budget.
Look at Homes
Once you have your must-haves and the finances figured out, you can start looking at houses. Have your agent start scheduling showings. Even if some houses don’t speak to you, there’s always an opportunity to consider what you like and what you don’t, so you can keep narrowing your search until you find the perfect home for you.
Once you find the ideal home, it’s time to make an offer. When markets are hot, competition is fierce, so some may consider putting down multiple offers. However, it’s important to remember that you are under contract once your offer is accepted.
This is another reason why it’s best to work with a knowledgeable real estate agent, as they will bring experience and a level head during a time of anticipation and excitement. They’ll also be able to help you come up with an offer that is competitive without paying more than you need to.
If your offer is accepted, you’ll need to secure your financing. Your pre-approval isn’t a guarantee. Additionally, you don’t necessarily need to get your financing from the same lender that provided your pre-approval. Speak to different lenders and choose the one offering the best terms.
Don’t Forget the Inspection
Many buyers, especially first-time buyers, skip the inspection. With all purchases, it’s important to understand what it is you’re buying, and that’s especially true when buying something as significant as the house you intend to live in. A home inspector will go through the house and identify potential issues that you and your agent might not have noticed.
When all these steps are completed, it comes time for final negotiations and to close on the deal. This will involve discussion about what will or won’t be included, for example, appliances or window coverings. If there were issues that popped up during the inspection, this can be an opportunity to negotiate a repair credit.
Closing is another time when working with a professional real estate agent is essential. Even if you have experience negotiating in your job, real estate negotiations are different, and it’s best to have an agent you trust who isn’t emotionally involved in the house.
Buying a home is never straightforward, but all of the steps are well worth it to end up living in your dream house.
This content is a joint venture between our publication and our partner. We do not endorse any product or service in the article.