So you want to buy your first home….

Buying a home for the first time can be a stressful experience. It is a demanding and unfamiliar process that can be very rewarding in the end. It is better to be prepared than to risk the chance of not experiencing the joy and happiness you were expecting when the process is finished. Let this guide help you with what is most likely the largest financial investment you’ll make in your lifetime. I will tell you how we can help with the process, while providing you with the knowledge to make well-informed decisions.

There are several things to consider when deciding to purchase a home. Questions like where do you want to live? When do you expect to move in? What kind of home do you want to buy? How long do you plan on living there? How much can you afford? These are just a few of the many questions you will want to ask yourself.

First, get some help. By this, I mean find a REALTOR. Many people do not know this, but when you work with a REALTOR to find your new home, you are not directly paying him or her to do so unless a Fee Agreement is agreed upon beforehand.  A REALTOR will be beneficial every step of the way, from helping you narrow down exactly what you are looking for, to explaining all of the forms used in a Real Estate Transaction, to presenting your offer to the seller and negotiating on your behalf.

Once you find a REALTOR whom you can trust and want to work with, you can now start the process of choosing your home. Create a wish list of wants and needs. Remember to be realistic in terms of what you think you can afford.

Next on the list is to figure out your finances. Just how much can you afford? Other than the purchase price of the property, there are many other costs you need to consider, such as appraisal fees, home inspection fees, moving fees, and maintenance and utility costs to run your new home. I can help breakdown all the costs involved to give you a better understanding of the dollar amount you should expect to spend on each of these expenses.

If you don’t have a good understanding of mortgages already, then I would advise you to take the time to learn about them. Talk to your financial institution or a mortgage broker and get pre-approval, so you will know how much you can afford to spend on your new home. This way, you won’t waste time looking at properties above your price range. Usually you’ll be offered a guarantee of the interest rate for 60-90 days, so you won’t have to worry about rising rates. Also, when the seller knows you’re already approved to receive a loan, this will provide you with an advantage when presenting an offer. Another tip is to try to have 20% of the purchase price to put towards your down payment. By doing this, you can save a significant amount of money by not having to pay mortgage loan insurance.

Now it is time for the search. You have your wish list and budget in place, which means you are ready to go get what you want. When searching for your new home, it is a good idea to have a checklist with you, detailing every aspect of that home to see how it stacks up to your wish list. Keep in mind that people rarely find exactly what they’re looking for, so some sacrifices may be made.  This may take one day or one year, so be patient.

Once you have found the perfect home, it is time for the offer and completion. Your REALTOR will negotiate the price and terms and have you place an offer by filling out a standard form called the Contract of Purchase and Sale, and then proceed to present it to the seller. If accepted, you still need to remove the subject clauses stated in the contract. Always have the home inspected before the completion date. This is to protect you from buying into problems that you are not aware of or prepared for. Once all the subjects are removed and conditions satisfied, you will need to finalize the mortgage, purchase homeowners’ insurance and hire a lawyer to fulfill all legalities involved in transferring the property to your name.

…Congratulations! You are now at completion day. Completion day is the day you legally get ownership of the house.

I hope this guide gives all of you first-time home buyers a better understanding of the process involved in buying your first property. Please contact me for a more in-depth look at all the costs and procedures associated with the purchase of your new home.

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