Home buyer advice
Always use a REALTOR®
Our training and experience are backed with errors and omissions insurance so your transaction is warrantied. Visit our Invermere real estate agent directory to find a REALTOR® who works in a community near your home. Read more about how a REALTOR® helps you sell and buy.
Don’t make large purchases
Keep your money in the bank and your total debt ratio in the black for three to six months before your planned purchase. New cars, furniture, and holidays on your credit card can wait until after the closing date. Banks like to see that you’re reliable and have a paper trail to show where down payments and income originate. Wait at least six months after applying for a credit card and before applying for a mortgage.
Get pre-approved for a home loan
Can you imaging finding your dream home and not being able to get a mortgage? There is no fee to be pre-approved for a loan and there is no obligation to borrow from any particular lender. A good mortgage broker can help you shop around. You’ll save time and energy by looking at houses that fit your budget. A pre-approved buyer is the stronger applicant when there are multiple offers on a property. Visit CMHC for more information on mortgages.
Have a property survey done
A survey shows the legal boundaries of the property so you know exactly what you’re buying. Knowing where the property lines are is essential before placing expensive hedges or siting outbuildings. Your property taxes are based on the land area so this is a good opportunity to double check the tax assessment on file at city hall.
Buy when you’re ready
The housing market rises and falls based on a number of factors including the economy, interest rates, new construction, and many others. There is no way to time the market unless you can go back in time to buy something 10 years ago. Going forward, the market will always be cyclical and serious financial returns will be realized when the mortgage is paid off. Until then, buy a home you love and enjoy living it in for many years.
Rightsize your home
Everyone is attracted to the largest home they can afford but there are good reasons why you might choose a smaller home, perhaps with a price tag to match. Is a large home in your lifestyle plan? If yes, then 3000 sqft might be right for your family. If you’re single or a couple with a small family, then something around 1500 sqft would be enough and save a lot of money in interest and maintenance. If you’re looking for a deal, consider the ugliest house on the block and invest some time and money in cosmetic work.
Be realistic about costs
There is a big difference between renting and buying. Home owners have season maintenance, taxes, higher heating and power bills, and the list goes on. A good rule of thumb is 2x your rent in overall costs. You’ll need to set aside some money each month for emergencies, too. Ask us how to create a budget for your new home. Helping you is what we do®.
Try to be objective
It’s easy to fall in love with a house when you first see it but try to be objective. Look past the charm to see the things that could be expensive or impractical in the future. A swimming pool is great in the summer but the cost of chemicals and power for the pumps can increase your monthly overhead beyond what is affordable. There is more to the house than the amenities and paint colours!
Always get a home inspection
If problems were visible then the price would be lower. A certified home inspector will look at all parts of the structure and property with a keen eye and specialized measurements. That crack in the foundation might be nothing or it might be related to a soggy septic system. It’s better to find out before making a decision. If there are deficiencies, you might use them as a bargaining tool to renegotiate a lower price or have them fixed ahead of time. This is one of the most important home buyer tips we can offer.
Make a strong offer to buy
Our sales representatives are experts in offers and negotiation so your offer is priced right for the property and the market. We’ll show you what comparable properties are worth and suggest an offer that the buyer will respond to. Offer too high and you may pay too much; offer too low and the offer may be rejected without the opportunity to counter-offer.
Get to know the neighbourhoods you like
Visit the neighbourhoods at different times of the day to see what is happening. Talk with the neighbours. Tell them you’re thinking of buying on their street and see what feedback they have. Try a test commute from the house you like to see if it works with your schedule. Find the schools, grocery stores, and other services.
Questions about these home buyer tips? Give our sales representatives a call for more information.