Congratulations! You’ve decided to put down some roots in the Lower Mainland and purchase a home. Home buying is exciting, but there are a lot of details involved in the process. Before you start going to open houses, make sure you’re prepared so that your house or condo hunt is as seamless and successful as possible. Here are 3 things you should know before you start your search:
1. Get guidance from a realtor
This may sound just like a blatant promotion for my profession (yes, I am a realtor), but it isn’t. Have you ever seen the Canadian Real Estate Association’s commercial in which a gang shows up on the doorstep of new homeowners (who did not use a realtor) and welcomes them as the newest members of Satan’s Undertakers? While it’s a funny commercial, it illustrates an important point: a realtor offers expertise that can really benefit a buyer or seller. A realtor’s job is to look out for the best interests of their client. He or she can help you uncover facts about a potential home that may have a huge impact on you. For example, was the home a former grow op? Are there pet restrictions? Will a high-rise be developed right in front of that view you love? Is that building for 19+ years only? Is the listing price in line with current market value?
A realtor can vet properties for you to make sure they fit your criteria, find answers to your questions, and, when the time comes, help you negotiate the best price for the property.
2. Get mortgage preapproval
It makes sense to know how much you can be approved for and afford before you go shopping. You don’t want to get into a situation where you have fallen in love with a property, only to discover the bank won’t lend you the amount you need to purchase it. Go to your lender or mortgage broker to find out how much you can afford, and then look at properties that fall within that range.
3. Make your wish list
Before you go shopping, work with your realtor to identify your must-haves and deal-breakers. For example, do you have pets? Do you need to have one parking space or two? Is being close to public transportation or schools important to you? How many bedrooms do you need? Do you prefer a newer or older property? Do you need a suite to rent out? Do you want outdoor space? Once you’ve identified what you want and don’t want, your realtor can help you identify properties that fit your criteria, which helps to streamline the process.
This article is part one of a two-part series, written by Emma Berg, Realtor, Oakwyn Realty.
Keep your eyes open for part two: Making an Offer and Closing the Deal.
Emma Berg is a realtor with Oakwyn Realty. She and her realtor husband Barry Berg work together to help people who love Vancouver, live in Vancouver. Contact Emma at firstname.lastname@example.org or 778.988.9102 anytime. www.teamberg.ca
*All images in this post are courtesy of www.shutterstock.com