GET THE KNOWLEDGE YOU NEED
BUYING YOUR HOME
Choosing to purchase a home can be an emotional and complicated process, especially for the first-time home buyer. I am here to help guide you through each step of this journey, beginning with the decision of whether or not to buy and ending with handing you keys to your new home! I will work to make it as fun as possible for you, with the least amount of stress needed for you and your family. Click here for FAQ’s and tips on buying your next home!
STEPS TO HOME OWNERSHIP
Make the decision – are you ready to be a homeowner? It is important to balance the pros and cons of homeownership vs renting. Consider your financial situation, whether or not you will enjoy the freedom of doing your own renovations and improvements, and what your lifestsyle needs are. If you make the decision to buy, then it’s time for the next step!
Choose a real estate agent – the person that you decide on to guide you through the process of searching for a home should be one that you trust and respect. Your house is a place you are proud to call ‘home’ and I’m someone that takes great pride in finding first-time, next and dream homes that fit every lifestyle. As your REALTOR®, I will have your best interests in mind as we start with step number three.
Identify your wants and needs – Needs and wants are very different in home ownership. A ‘need’ is something that your new property must absolutely have (number of bedrooms, walking distance to a school, etc) whereas a ‘want’ is something that it ‘would be nice to have’ (a walk-in closet perhaps, or a vegetable garden). The timeline for your purchase is also something that could be considered either a want or a need, depending on if you are relocating for a job and want to start at the beginning of the school year, for instance.
Get Pre-Qualified – It’s important to figure out how much you can afford to spend before you start looking for a home. I will help you to find a lender who will work with you to determine how much of a down-payment you can afford and what expenses to expect, then get you pre-approved to protect you against rising interest rates before you find your dream home. With the right experts on your side, the complicated task of financing your home can be less daunting.
Find the home of your dreams – It’s time! Working together closely, we will narrow down the search for your home using your list of wants and needs, and start touring those you are interested in. Remember to take notes and perhaps pictures – or even bring a friend for a second opinion. Don’t be afraid to visit lots of homes before choosing one. Revisit promising homes and keep records of each home’s energy rating, utility costs and major repairs.
Make An Offer – Congratulations!! You’ve found a home that fits your budget and put together your homebuying team. Now it’s time to make an offer and close the deal! You should expect to negotiate. While the process can be stressful, it’s all about making the best deal for you and the seller. I, as your REALTOR®, will use my knowledge and skills to get you the best price possible, then make sure you are aware of the closing costs and inspections that may need to be completed.
I’m buying my first home – where do I start?
The first step is to speak with your bank or mortgage broker (who works on behalf of many different lenders) to get pre-approved for a mortgage with the downpayment you have saved. Find out what your spending limit is and get locked into a rate for 90 days. Pre-approvals help prevent disappointment!
How long does it take to buy a home?
It can take 10-12 weeks generally, or sometimes longer.
What is a ‘buyers market’?
This is when there are a lot of homes on the market, which creates a reduced demand due to high inventory, and we generally see declining home prices. Buyers then have a bit more negotiating power.
How much of a down payment do I need to have saved to buy a house?
At least 5% of purchase price (for a first time home buyer), plus you should expect at least $1500-2500 in extra expenses paid out of pocket for lawyers, inspections and property tax adjustments .
Should I sell my home before buying a new one?
If you plan on using the equity in your current home to purchase the new home, you should at least have your current home listed for sale to purchase your new home, unless you have financing in place to turn your first home into an investment property.
Is it necessary to order a home inspection?
Yes! I highly recommend getting a qualified inspector to look at your potential new home as it can reveal defects not easily detected visually. These items that may be found by the inspector can be used to negotiate on the contract before subject removals.
At what point should I purchase insurance for my new home?
Before you remove the conditions, you should go in and make sure the property is insurable by you. An insurance policy can be bound within 30 days of completion of your purchase, so the earlier the better!
If I find a house I like, how do I make an offer?
This is where the expertise and experience from a real estate agent is required. You can expect to spend approximately one hour getting the paperwork together and signing the “Offer to Purchase”. This is where the negotiation begins. It is important that you are available either by telephone or in-person in the event a counteroffer is made from your offer. Once the offer is accepted by the seller, any changes to the contract must be initialed by both parties.
How much time do I get for conditions and finalize the offer to purchase?
Typically you will receive between 10-15 business days to get your finances in order, have a property inspection completed or review strata documents as well as satisfy any other conditions you have on the purchase. There is a document (subject removal) that MUST be signed by that date, or the contract is legally ‘dead’.
How do I know a house for sale is a good deal?
Your knowledgable agent will have a good grasp of what today’s market is like and how that property is placed in it. I will show you comparable properties to give you an idea of what else is selling for the price asked.
When do I have to sign papers?
The lawyer and mortgage broker will call you approximately a week before possession to have you come in and sign the mortgage papers, transfer of title, and other closing documents.
Is there a risk of losing my deposit?
Generally speaking, the only time you can lose your deposit is if you remove conditions on your offer and do not take possession of the property as agreed in your contract. If you CANNOT fulfill the conditions in the contract (i.e. you are not approved for financing) your deposit will be returned to you, provided your financial institution will provide a letter to the seller and their agent stating you are not approved for financing. Both buyer and seller simply sign a form that releases the funds from trust.
CONSULTING A REALTOR®
REALTORS® are members of The Canadian Real Estate Association who subscribe to a Code of Ethics and Standards of Business Practice. Members of the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board are members of both the British Columbia and Canadian Real Estate Associations.
The following is a list of services you can expect to receive from a REALTOR® when you buy a home:
- A REALTOR® will fully explain the details of your working relationship (called “agency”) so that you are clear as to when a REALTOR® is working for you or for the seller.
- A REALTOR® has access to hundreds of current listings of homes for sale because of a co- operative system called the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®).
- A REALTOR® can provide you with a customized list of homes that best meet your needs — size, style, features, location, proximity to schools, shopping, etc. – and then make arrangements for you to view those homes that appeal to you the most.
- A REALTOR® will help you determine how big a home you can afford.
- A REALTOR® has no emotional ties to any type or style of home and can be objective in pointing out the merits of one home over another.
- A REALTOR® will have information on zoning changes, taxes, utility costs and school and recreation services that could affect your decision to buy a home in a specific area.
- A REALTOR® will assist you in negotiating the terms of your purchase, which can be a nerve- wracking process for someone who is not experienced in negotiating.
- A REALTOR® will advise you of the legal process required in obtaining title and taking possession of your property; the costs associated with buying a home such as insurance, mortgage registration and legal fees will be explained in detail.
Source: Victoria Real Estate Board 2015