Tips for the First Time Buyer

Are you tired of paying rent to a landlord every month, with nothing to show for it? Maybe it’s time to get into the real estate market and become a home owner. This is a big decision, and an exciting one, but not one to be taken lightly. When deciding if home ownership is the right step for you, ask yourself if you are ready for the responsibility – you will be the one required to keep up the payments, maintenance and repairs. That said, the freedom of owning your own home means that you can decorate or renovate it however you like.

Sort out your finances before you start looking for a house, so you know what you can afford. Visit your financial institution or mortgage broker to compare plans and rates. Less than perfect credit? This doesn’t automatically mean you’ll be turned down. There are many options available – shop around until you find a mortgage with terms that will work for you. Make sure you know your limits; don’t forget that you will have monthly tax, utility and insurance payments on top of your mortgage payments. Once you have a price range and a plan in mind, get your financing pre-approved so that you can bid on your dream house with confidence.

Do your research. Think about what features are important to you: please do you want to garden or are you a busy individual who would prefer a low maintenance yard? Check out different neighborhoods and consider the amenities in each. What services are near by? Remember that the neighborhood you buy in will influence the resale value of your house, should you decide to make a change in the future.

When you find the right house, you are ready to make an offer. Talk to your realtor about what the house is worth. What is a fair amount? Can you afford it? What conditions will be included? Be prepared for the possibility of another interested buyer making a competing bid. Know what you can afford and don’t exceed it. Sellers may choose a higher bid, or they might go for the one with fewer conditions, which looks like it close quickly without difficulties.

Once your offer is accepted, you should have a home inspection done. Passing this inspection might be one of the conditions of your offer. The inspection should reveal any hidden structural problems such as mold, rot, plumbing or wiring issues. You may be okay with some minor issues if you have the funds to make the repairs. If there are major problems you may want to lower your offer or walk away from the sale. Remember, there is no return policy on your house – you need to be comfortable with this purchase.

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