Tips for First Time Home Buyers
Congratulations! You’ve reviewed the Re/Max Buyer’s Guide, and you’ve determined that homeownership is the right option for you.
Here are a few general ‘tips’ to keep in mind:
- Now is the time to really examine your finances AND consider your lifestyle. Home ownership is a huge responsibility, and it can be very expensive. It’s really important to not only know what you can afford, but also that you leave yourself enough wiggle room to enjoy the types of things that you normally like to do. Being house poor is no way to start out your new life as a home owner; if you enjoy travel, eating out, great wine, and latte’s; make sure that you can continue to enjoy some of the things that make you happy.
- See a Mortgage Specialist or a Mortgage Broker, and get prequalified. This is such an important step in the process of buying a house, and I just can’t stress it enough. Working with your lenders Mortgage Specialist or a Mortgage Broker (I can refer you to many if you are unsure) to get your prequalification in order allows you to make an educated decision on the type of mortgage product that is right for you, the amount that you would qualify for, and also allows you to take advantage of a locked in rate for a period of time while you are house shopping. Knowing what you are qualified for right from the get-go allows you to narrow the focus of your search to homes that fit within your approved range and allows you to confidently put an offer in on your perfect home when the right time comes. A preapproval also gives you a favorable advantage in the eyes of the Seller in comparison to other Buyers who may not have taken the time to meet with their lender prior to submitting an offer.
- Be prepared for the extra costs involved in buying a home. Aside from your down payment, you will be responsible for closing costs. Closing costs would include everything from legal fees and disbursements, land transfer tax (if applicable), mortgage insurance, interest adjustments, property tax and pre paid utilities adjustments, a home inspection, a well and septic inspection (if you are buying a rural property), and perhaps even an appraisal. The costs are variable depending on the situation that you are in, but as a general rule of thumb, you should be budgeting at least 3% of the purchase price to be spent on closing costs. You may also need to consider things like deposits with utility, telephone, or cable companies if this is your first time opening an account.
- Now is also the time to start making sure you have a healthy emergency fund. When you do own your own home, you won’t want to be caught off guard by unanticipated expenses. It’s critically important that you are continually building and topping off your emergency fund to deal with the types of issues that will inevitably crop up, and never at the most opportune of times. When your furnace quits in a cold snap, or your roof develops a leak, or there is an increase in your property taxes, you will need the funds to deal with it.
- Be creative in the ways that you think about adding to your bottom line. Ways to increase your bottom line are out there, and sometimes you just need to be a little creative in the ways that you find them. Consider purchasing a home with ‘suite’ potential to take advantage of the extra rental income, a less expensive home to renovate into your dream home with a little elbow grease, or a flip house to get you into your dream home at a future date. There are so many creative ways to achieve your long- term goals. Feel free to contact me anytime to discuss some of your options.
- Above all, remember that buying your first home should be a positive and enjoyable experience! I am here to make the process as smooth as possible; my goal is that you look back on this time as a memorable one, and in a positive way. Yes, sometimes a little humor, or a fresh perspective will be in order, but that special home IS out there. Remember that I am here to facilitate this process, and you can feel free to contact me at anytime with any questions that you may have, or to schedule some time for us to sit down and talk about your options.
Why Hire a Thunder Bay Buyer’s Agent?
Many people are aware that when they are selling their home, they will be signing a listing agreement. On the buying side, there is also an agreement that Realtors will ask their Buyer Client’s to sign; The Buyer Representation Agreement.
The Buyer Representation Agreement (B.R.A.) works in favor of the buyer, protecting their best interests and ensuring them the very best in real estate service.
The Real Estate Council of Ontario, a public agency that was formed to protect consumers and regulate the industry, introduced guidelines that mandate Realtors to ask their Clients to sign a written representation agreement at the earliest practicable opportunity.
There are two types of representation options:
1. Buyer Representation;
- Ensures your realtor is dedicated to finding the right property at the best possible price for you.
- Allows you to receive up to date information on current listings, as they hit the market that are best suited to your needs. This gives you the edge over other buyers looking for similar types of properties.
- Provides you with access to your realtor’s professional and expert knowledge of the local market, neighborhood trends, local issues, and individual properties.
- Forms a solid and contractual basis to receive services from your realtor. This ensures a relationship of trust and confidence as your realtor will be accountable to you and be operating with your best interests in mind.
2. Buyer Customer Service;
- Deems that the buyer will be treated fairly and honestly as a customer but NOT as a client.
- A buyer under a Customer Service Agreement is not owed the more extensive fiduciary duties that are owed to clients.
How I Work with Buyers
As your agent, it is my responsibility to represent your best interests, at all times, in everything from finding your new home, negotiating the best price and terms, ensuring that you understand what you are signing, and handling all the details involved in buying a home right from start to finish.
When you work with me, as a Buyer, you can expect me to:
- Meet with you to discuss the over all home buying process, answer any questions that you might have, address any of your concerns, and make sure that you have a clear understanding of how we will be moving forward.
- Discuss current market conditions and trends with you, and develop a wish list for your ideal home as well as an understanding of your needs and wants and why they are uniquely important to you.
- Develop an action plan to address your needs within the scope of your budget. I will make sure that you have access to all the properties that suit your needs so that we can start getting out to look at houses!
- Keep you apprised of new properties coming to market and updated on what’s happening within the market that might affect your position. I will make sure that you are equipped with all the information that you need (and even what you might not need) to make the most informed decisions possible.
- Negotiate on your behalf at offer time, with all negotiations centering on your best interests. You can depend on me to keep you informed, and treat you with honesty and integrity at all times.