With interest rates at a historical low now may be the perfect time to buy your first home. However buying a home is a big investment and a big expense. It’s most likely the biggest purchase you’ll ever make in your life.
If you’re in the market to buy a new home keep these nine things in mind to ensure you get a good deal on your mortgage as well as pay a fair price for your home.
Always get a pre-approval from your bank
As a financial planner this is always where I advise clients to start the home buying process. Visit your local bank branch, talk to a mortgage specialist and ask for a pre-approval. This will give you an idea of the mortgage loan amount that the bank will approve and it gives you a starting point to begin the shopping process.
A real estate agent can work wonders
When buying your first home a good place to find local listings is via MLS.com. You’ll be able to get an idea of the homes available in your preferred neighbourhood within the price range of the mortgage pre-approval from your bank. However working with a real estate agent can greatly speed up the process. Very often they get the inside scoop about new properties coming onto the market.
Only counter offer if you’re sure
Sometimes your first offer is not accepted by the seller, don’t worry this is normal. It doesn’t mean you can’t buy the house, all it means is the transaction is now open for negotiation. Talk to your real estate agent and decide if you want to make a counter offer. Don’t overbid for a home just because you want it, trust me there are other homes out there.
Always negotiate the interest rate and fees
A lot of people walk in to their bank, apply for a mortgage and accept the conditions as is. This is a huge mistake – trust me I know. Everything is negotiable when it comes to mortgages from the interest rate to the inspection and notary fees. You’ll never know unless you ask.
Shop around for home insurance
Owning a home comes with responsibility and it’s always better to be safe than sorry. I’m sure you don’t want to move in to your new home and have to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in additional expenses when an unfortunate event happens such as a theft, fire or flood.
When it comes to buying your first home keep these tips in mind to help make the process as simple as possible. Don’t forget to always ask questions, because the more information you have the better the decision making process will be.
Tahnya Kristina, CFP