Whether you’re looking to buy your first home, or you’re looking for an investment property, there are various things you need to do before you actually take the plunge.
You need to know what a fair price is for the property, you need to know exactly what you’re getting into, and you need to choose the right real estate agent.
So, here’s my top 10 tips list for those of you considering buying real estate.
Buyer Tip #1: Research
Unless you’re in the practice of flipping homes with a short turnaround, buying a house is a major decision, one that you shouldn’t make lightly. This goes without saying, but every day people make quick and ill-conceived decisions based upon pressure to finish the process, stress, financial issues, or a thousand other reasons.
The more that you research before and during the purchasing process, the more likely you are to have a relaxed and successful purchase. Learn as much as you can about buying homes, what are the steps, and what you need to do to be financially and mentally prepared.
Buyer Tip #2: Get your credit in order
The timeline for buying a home has been steadily decreasing, meaning that offers with higher credit scores will be favourable to those with even a few dings. Get your credit report prior to your planned purchase time frame and start repairing any issues that you have. This is crucial for getting a low interest rate and to successfully purchase your new home.
Buyer Tip #3: Be aware of the timeline
While the process of purchasing a new home is quicker than it has been in the last decade, for many houses it can still take weeks or months to clear. If you have a targeted move in date, you need to begin research months in advance, and ideally offer well in advance of that in order to secure your date. If you assume that the process will be quick and painless and don’t take the proper steps, you might find that you’re stuck in a bad position of waiting for a home to clear while you’re living in your new city.
Buyer Tip #4: Make reasonable offers
The market has started to shift back into the seller’s favour, and the competition is fierce for the best homes in most neighbourhoods. If you come into a negotiation with a lowball offer, expect to be completely disregarded as a viable candidate for purchase. While price negotiations are a necessary staple of purchasing a home, never disrespect the home’s value or attempt to leverage someone’s financial standing to get a “great deal.” Always offer what is fair, even if it is on the low side of that spectrum.
Buyer Tip #5: Define your criteria
This one comes naturally to many people, but for some of us we go into home shopping without a clear picture of what we want. That’s alright, but try to define as many of the features or criteria you want in a home as early into the process as you can. Do you want appliances? What size? What about acreage? Square footage? Colour? Are you willing to repaint, or not?
Asking these kinds of questions can help you feel prepared and confident, narrowing in on the homes that really cater to your wants. If your criteria is too stringent, then you can start broadening it to match the marketplace (which is easier than going the other way.)
Buyer Tip #6: Ask as many questions as you can
If you find a home that you’re interested in, ask as many questions about the home as possible. Ask about the neighbourhood, cell phone towers, traffic, crime level, loud neighbours, everything that you can. Even if an appraisal has been done and the house is valued at a certain amount, your personal preferences and thorough questions can help weed out skeletons in the proverbial closet.
Buyer Tip #7: Consider hiring an agent
While many buyers assume that they can handle the process of purchasing a home on their own, they often underestimate all of the time, energy, and considerations during the purchasing (and researching) process. To many people, this use of their time just isn’t worth it, and you might very well fall into this camp. Don’t use the seller’s agent, as that is of course a conflict of interest. Instead, take control of the situation, hire your own agent, and allow them to handle the minutia freeing you up to make the decisions.
Buyer Tip #8: Drive around the neighbourhood
Doing some personal reconnaissance is one of the best ways to figure out if a neighbourhood is the right place for you and your family to live. Recently, many suburbs have become more dangerous, while some “mixed-use” and semi-urban locations are more modernised and trendy. If you’re in an area that has undergone a significant amount of change in the last decade (like most major cities) online research data might not be up to date. Drive around, get a coffee, eat in a local restaurant, visit a gas station, and see what your daily life would be like living in this part of town.
Buyer Tip #9: Leverage your resources
Never before has the buyer been more empowered than in today’s market. There is a practically infinite array of valuable tools and resources (most of which are free) for you to use to assist with your home purchasing decision. Everything from crime report websites to local neighbourhood sales apps, arm yourself and make use of as many of these resources as you can.
Buyer Tip #10: Don’t rush
This is a common mistake, as it can be easy to get excited and try to rush through the process of buying a new (or especially your first) home. Don’t rush to the finish. If a seller is attempting to pressure you into buying right away, it is often better to back off and consider all of your information and resources. While it usually isn’t a good idea to waste time during a sale process, you don’t want to make too hasty of a decision and have an extremely expensive mistake on your hands. Sleep on it, talk it over with your significant other, and decide once you’re completely confident in your choice.
Most importantly you need the help of a real estate agent!
Regardless of if you’re currently a buyer or a seller, you need professional assistance on your side to help you through the entire process.
So if you’re looking for a professional, dedicated, and honest real estate agent, then contact me today.