First Time Home Buyers – Start Here

We have all seen the news reports and read the papers.  We know that there are  people running around like chicken little screaming about the collapse of the housing market.  If you listen to all the experts it starts to seem pretty bleak.  Is there an upside?

There certainly is if you are a new home buyer.  This is the perfect time for a first time buyer.  First of all, you don’t have to worry about selling a house that may be undervalued.  Secondly, housing prices and interest rates are at the lowest they have been in years.

New home buyers will lead the real estate markets comeback.  Like any big purchase though there are some simple steps you should take to assure you make the right choice.  This isn’t something to jump into, you need to do your homework.  Here are my  4 tips for any new home buyer:

Figure out the REAL cost and what you can afford – When you find a place you love, it can be easy to jump right in and want to make an offer.  You need to figure out what you can afford though.  You need to take into consideration the costs that aren’t included in the housing price.  How much do you have to spend on fixing it up?  What are the property taxes/condo fees?  Heating costs?  Is the cost of your commute increased?

Make sure it is the right home for you! – If the cost and inspection is looking good on a house, it doesn’t mean you should dive right in.  Is the house really right for you?  If you have children or plan on it – does it have enough bedrooms?  Is the backyard big enough for your dog to run?  Are there quality schools close by?  Is the neighbourhood friendly and clean?  A good rule of thumb is to find a house that meets most of your needs for the next 5 to 10 years or can grow and change with your needs.

Get a Home Inspector you can trust – You absolutely need to get a home inspector to check out any house you are thinking of making an offer on.  They are trained to spot problems you haven’t even thought of.  They will tell you about anything that needs to be fixed or could be dangerous/costly down the road.  Sometimes if an inspector finds a big problem, the current home owner may fix it at no cost to you.  You need to do your homework on home  inspectors as well – get references and  check to see if they belong to a provincial or industry association. 

Find a GREAT Real Estate Agent – This is possibly the most important step you can take on your home buying adventure.  You agent’s job will to be to help you find the ideal home, write the offer of purchase and negotiate on your behalf to get the best deal possible.  They can also provide you with important information about the community and help you arrange things like home inspection.  Basically they are there to help guide you through the above three points. 

If you follow these 4 tips you are well on your way to making an educated and smart first home purchase.  The key step is to find an agent you can trust and feel comfortable with.  If they don’t mention any of the above tips when you are dealing with them then they might not be the best choice for you.  Take your time, do your homework, make an offer and then sit back and enjoy the thrills of home ownership.

Kari Clark is a real estate agent that is dedicated to providing honest, educated and professional real estate services. She is based out of Ontario, Canada and is always willing to hear from people looking for advice. You can reach her HERE.

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