I am one of those people who could sit on realtor.ca for HOURS and just look at all the houses that are listed and how amazing it would be to buy one of them. I’ve been renting for about 7 years and I am pretty fed up with the fact that I can’t change anything in my home because I’m not the owner, and I’m sure my landlord wouldn’t be too pleased to see me changing fixtures. It’s so easy to get caught up in the beautiful homes, and so hard to face the reality that you can’t afford everything that you see.
When I finally got serious about buying a home, the first step was to get pre-approved for a mortgage. Lots of people say to go to a Mortgage Specialist, but we just went to our financial advisor, and it was a pretty simple process. Email your financial advisor, or if you don’t have one, call the bank and see what information you will need to bring. It will help speed up the process. We wanted a good rate, but for the time being, just knowing our maximum limit was good enough.
The next important step was to start going to open houses and finding a real estate agent. Being a first time home buyer, I HIGHLY suggest getting a realtor and not trying to do it yourself. I couldn’t imagine trying to navigate this by myself. From all my research, I knew it would be hard for me to not fall in love with the first house and HAVE to have it. Luckily (and unluckily) for us, our price range in the GTA didn’t exactly give us all the bells and whistles. The first home we saw was a dump. It looked great in photos, but needed a lot of work when we saw it in person. With the price they were asking, and the amount of repairs needed, there was no way we could make this house our home any time soon.
Because I was buying a house with my boyfriend, it made the process a little more complicated. I wasn’t able to pick just any house I liked, it required compromise so that we both could get what we wanted. We never made a serious list of the must haves in our house – which caused a lot of tension when we first started looking. The best route to take when you decide to buy a house with someone is, write down a list of 4-6 items that you need to have in the house. Keep in mind, this house is most likely to be where you will live for quite a few years, or for us, at least until the 5 year locked in interest rate is up. Therefore, don’t just settle because you are too impatient to keep looking and concerned you will lose the house, there are so many out there that will come up. With this list of 4-6 must-haves keep in mind that if the market is hot, like it is in our price range, you may have to accept that you only get 5 of the 6. So make sure you list them in the order of greatest importance.
One of the things that I didn’t expect when I was visiting houses for sale, is even if they were super nice in the photos and nice in person, some of these houses I just couldn’t see myself living in. I really did not expect that, I thought the first beautiful home I walked in I would be yelling “I want this one! Hurry we must act now!” So make sure the house you choose, is one that really feels like home from the moment you walk in.
Finding the right real estate agent is an important aspect as well. Look at the agents who are selling houses in your price range, as they are likely candidates. You can also go to malls where they have real estate booths, or call offices to talk to an agent. You can also find a real estate agent by visiting open houses and talking to the agent there. Compatibility is an important factor, as they will do everything to help you find the perfect home. We were super lucky and the first real estate agent we found online became our realtor. We had an amazing experience with her and she went above and beyond our expectations. This can really impact your experience, so I strongly suggest doing your homework, and even interviewing the agents.
So remember the first few steps can set you on the right path to finding your perfect home:
- Get pre-approved for a mortgage before you head out
- Make a list of the most important items you want in a home
- Be patient and wait for the house that feels like home
- Use a real estate agent that is compatible with you
And finally, if you wish to continue your learning – click here for the next educational article 🙂