Buying a home today is definitely not as straightforward as what it used to be! With the amount of information online, everyone feels as though they know enough to do it on their own. The truth is most buyers try to work alone for 3-6 months before realizing that the use of a real estate broker is definitely worth it, since it’s FREE!! Here are three things every buyer should have ready before meeting with their realtor for the first time, no negotiations!
1. Pre Approval
You’ve probably heard this before, and I guarantee that you will be hearing it until the end of time. Getting a pre-approval is definitely the most important step in any buyer’s voyage to purchasing their first home, an investment property or even their next home! (Yep, that’s right, this list is not just for first time home buyers). Getting a pre-approval guarantees your interest rate for a 3-4 month period, grants you your purchasing power with your financial institutions, and also shows home sellers that you are prepared and ready to invest into your future. Without this, how would you know which budget to shop in? and how could you feel comfortable making such a big step by simply assuming you can afford something? Over the last decade, financial institutions have become increasingly strict with their lending process, they’ve added stress tests, they ask for more documents and want larger down payments. Do not assume that it is as easy as walking into a branch and getting a document. The average approval process can take anywhere between 7-15 days even when the bank has all of your documents and a proof of down payment!
2. Identify your needs
Everyone has a good idea of what they need in a home, right? – Not really shopping for a home is usually quite the learning process for most buyers. When we meet with buyers, wether they are coming from an existing home, or looking for their first property, they should always think about their immediate needs and their future needs. Our logic is simple, When you purchase a home, you may be at one stage of your life (example: Newly wed couple) and you want to be near the market, restaurants, cafe’s and local SAQ. Since you are only two people, you’d think one bedroom or two is more than enough. What about 5 years from now? You might want to start thinking about being close to elementary schools, great daycares and public transportation right? – Well that is exactly why we ask you to think of both needs instead of just the immediate needs. It is important to understand that we do this because a good return on your real estate investment usually takes 5- 7 years, so by the time you are reaching the future needs and they are becoming more immediate, if you do see that you are missing certain important aspects in your home, you can sell, buy and know that a healthy profit is coming your way!
3. Choose [And Limit] Your Locations
One of the golden rules of real estate is “Location, Location, Location” We cannot agree more, however shopping all over the map is a recipe for disaster. Usually, when a buyer is looking at too vast an area (too many neighbourhoods) it becomes very hard to study and identify which properties are good deals because every neighbourhood holds a different value for similar products. When we say “limit” your locations, what we mean is try to choose 3-5 neighbourhoods that interest you most, set up shop for those area’s and focus on those. It does not mean that looking outside of your area’s of interest is impossible, but really zeroing in on your 3-5 favourite neighbourhoods will help expedite the process, and also grant you more market knowledge as well!
If you walk into your first meeting with a realtor and have these three points set up and clear, Firstly, they will love you but most importantly, They will be able to guide you and direct you properly making the process so much easier for you!
If you are thinking of buying a home or investment property, give us a call and let us know how we can help!