Buying your first home is fun. In fact, it’s a rockin’ good time! You are making the jump into responsibility. Most importantly, you’re going to stop paying someone else’s mortgage and start investing in your own future.
The process will be stressful at times. There will be
moments that you are wondering if you are making the right choice. Are you
paying too much? Are you buying the right house? Is now actually the right time
for you to buy or should you keep renting? Answer the following questions for
yourself and you will have a good idea about whether or not now is the right
time for you to buy real estate.
Know your credit score.
You can get your credit score online from either Equifax.ca or Transunion.ca. It costs between $25 and $30. For your money you will get a full copy of your credit report. Knowing your credit score and what is showing on your credit report is powerful. Knowing the score on your credit report gives you a lot of power.
Know what you can afford
Once you know your credit score you are ready to head to the bank for a pre-approval. Getting pre-approved at bank is not only a good idea, it is a necessity. Getting pre-approved locks you into current rates (which is a great idea right now as since most signs point to rates going up in the near to medium term). It does not require you to work the bank that pre-approved you. It costs you nothing. Most importantly it establishes your price range. That gives you the confidence to pull the trigger when you find the house that works for you.
Pick your Realtor
For most buyers this is non-negotiable. For first time buyers, this is essential. The Realtor you select to represent you becomes your ally. He or she will be an extension of you. Realtor’s are agents and are legally required to protect your interests the same way that a lawyer or an accountant is. We are legally obligated to watch your back at all times. A good Realtor will explain every step of your transaction to you, make sure you know what is going on at all times, explain how financing works, etc. Most importantly, your best defense against overpaying for a property is a good Realtor working as your exclusive buyer’s agent. And it costs you nothing. This is no joke. (PS. You should pick me!)
Get out there and learn
Take your time and learn what the heck is going on out there. The internet is a great source of information, but that information is limited to what can be discovered from photos and a bit of writing. Go look at some properties. Look at them systematically by price point. For example, go see everything priced from $200k - $225k, then $225k - $250k, and so on. Dawson Creek is small enough that you can see everything in your price range in a very short time frame. It is worth it. You will very quickly learn for yourself what you can expect in your price range. You will also very quickly learn what you want and what you don’t want in a home.
Make your move
If you follow the first four steps, you’ll know when it’s time. That’s all I have to say about that.
Follow these steps and you will be sure to find the right house for you. Stay positive throughout the process. Rest assured that many have gone before you. Buying your first home should be a positive and ultimately, a financially rewarding experience. Enjoy the ride!