First Time Buyers
(If you are looking for your first revenue property-please see the investors tab in the buyers section for detailed information)
Buying your First Home
So you’ve finally decided that paying your landlord’s mortgage isn’t getting you ahead. Your friends and family have been telling you that owning a home is much more financially astute than renting. You would love to have your own place where you don’t need the landlord’s permission to paint the living room or plant a tree. But, how do you go about buying a house? What do you expect? How do you know to ask the right questions when you don’t even know any questions to ask? If you want to buy a sofa, you go to the furniture store. Need a new car? Go to the car dealership. Want to buy a house? How do you even get started? And then what?!?
While buying your first home is a big decision, it need not be stressful. The key is to do your research and get the right advice. While everyone will volunteer an opinion, its advice from experts that you really need. With a quick phone call, I can help you get started in the right direction, and put you in touch with all of the people who can help make your purchase easy and virtually stress free. Even if you don’t think that you can buy a house- you may be surprised! And, it is never a bad time to learn how to work towards this important goal! Here is basically the process that we’ll go through.
The first step is to talk to your favourite lender, and pre qualify for a mortgage. If you have a particularly good relationship with your bank, then by all means, go talk to their mortgage agent and go through all of the steps for pre qualification. Meaning, sit down, fill in the credit application, and provide the documentation your lender requests. Don’t consider a quick `sure we’ll give you a mortgage’ to be a pre qualification.
Alternatively, talk with a mortgage agent. This is my favourite way of securing a mortgage, as a mortgage agent doesn’t work for any particular bank or lender. Like Realtors, they work in your best interest. They will shop the lenders and secure the most favourable mortgage product and rate to meet your needs. More often then not, they can get you a better deal than you could on your own. Mortgage agents can often help those people who have been turned down or have a harder time securing a mortgage at the major banks. People who are self employed, have less than perfect credit, or who don’t have a sizable down payment can often be helped by mortgage agents when the banks would have otherwise turned them down.
At the end of the process, you should come away with a clear understanding of your maximum purchase price, how long the term of your mortgage will be and at what interest rate, how much down payment you are expected to put down, and finally, how long the lender will hold these terms for you while you shop for a house. Now that you know how much you can spend, its time to figure out what to buy.
As an experienced Calgary Realtor, working under the RE/Max brand, I can now help you narrow down the vast array of often confusing choices and options. I’ll help you to consider the following: Think about where you would like to live from a geographical standpoint. Do you prefer the bustle of the inner city, the quiet of a suburb or somewhere in between? Do you need to be close to work, schools? Where do your friends and relatives live? Might you wish to be close to them? Do you travel often for work and need to be close to the airport, and so on. Then consider if your budget will be practical in the areas you would like to live, and what type of home you are likely to get for the money you are able to spend.
The internet provides a great research tool that will save you valuable time in your preliminary shopping. By looking at pictures and descriptions of homes, you will soon start to get an idea of what type of home your dollars will buy you. Once you’ve narrowed your choices its time to go out and look at the homes themselves. You will quickly realise that what you see in the pictures often translates to something very different in real life. Sometimes for better, sometimes for worse. As a trusted Calgary Realtor, I can point out the advantages and pitfalls of the properties. I am there as your guide and advisor so that when you are ready, you can make the decision that will best suit you.
Once you’ve picked your new home, I will help you in making an offer to purchase. I will guide you through the documentation while offering advice so you can have the most favourable outcome. Together we will decide what terms and conditions should be in the contract to protect you. I will revue the contract with you, explaining the legal contents so that you have a clear idea of what you are signing your name to. You should never sign anything that you do not understand or are uncomfortable agreeing to. I will then negotiate the best possible deal for you!
After your offer has been negotiated and accepted, I can assist you in arranging the other people to help you with the transaction; property inspectors, appraisers and lawyers for example.
Once you are satisfied with the purchase and have removed conditions on the contract, you wait for move in day. I will walk you through the items that will need to be done prior. On move in (also known as completion day), we will do a walk through together prior to your getting the keys. Now you’re ready for the moving truck to unload.
Questions To Ask When Assessing Home Features
Do you need several bedrooms, more than one bathroom, space for a home office, a two-car garage?
Do you want air conditioning, storage or hobby space, a fireplace, a swimming pool? Do you have family members with special needs?
Do you plan to have children? Downtown or suburbs? Proximity to recreation or work.
Do you need a substantial backyard? Pets?
Is there adequate storage space?
Will any remodeling be required to make the home move-in ready for you?
What service providers (cable, Internet, telephone, Satellite) are available in the area, and is the house completely wired for each? Can you hear me now – how good is the cell phone reception?
How much are the yearly property taxes?
How much do utilities run each month? Does the house use gas or electric for the furnace, water heater, and appliances?
How old are the major appliances, and which are included with the house?
Have there been any major repairs to the house, and if so, when were they completed? For example, how old is the roof? Has water ever damaged the basement or foundation?
Ever had problems with insects, such as termites and spiders, or rodents?
Older homes need to be carefully examined – Windows may need caulking or new sashes, bathroom tiles may need grouting, home may need rewiring (planning on a hot tub or sauna?), a new hot water heater, or a new furnace.
Location, Location, Location
How far will you be commuting and what is the traffic like? Factor in cost of fuel.
Where will your children attend school and how will they commute?
Are there recreational facilities and parks close by?
Are you close to family and friends?
Is safety or high crime an issue?
Is the property close to an obstacle or negative influence? (i.e. an apartment building, shopping centre, school, radio tower, power lines, LRT or railroad track, highway, airport or commercial project).
Access to schools, work, recreation, shopping centres, public transportation, cultural attractions, libraries, churches and hospitals
Adjacent undeveloped land – what is proposed for this or other green space?
Heavy traffic can be noise nuisance and hazard for children
Distance from the unit to amenities, parking, walkways, roads, public transit
Does the neighborhood reflect positively on the value of the condo and your lifestyle choice?
Does this neighborhood, for any reason, have a poor reputation?
Is the future economic climate for the area good? Are businesses moving in? Is there government investment?
Are people moving in or out of the neighborhood? What is their age, income level, family size?
Are there plans for this neighborhood that you may be unaware of (i.e. a future highway, a commercial development or a new housing development) that will provide competition on resale?
Noise and Privacy
Proximity to highways, driveways, parking lots, playgrounds, trains.
Proximity to elevators, garbage disposal, fire exits, heating and air conditioners.
How well is the building soundproofed.
Visit at different times/weekends to check noise levels and activity.