When it’s time to buy a first home, information overload can quickly overshadow the excitement of homeownership. While several steps are involved in the home-buying process, most happen only at once, so there is a chance to breathe between every step.
Every home buyer needs to know their finances before entering the real estate market. First-time buyers have a bit more to consider. First-time home buyers can take advantage of the First Time Home Buyer Incentive. Qualified individuals can get five or 10 percent of the home’s purchase price toward a down payment. If home buyers are going to withdraw funds from their RRSP, there is a Home Buyer’s Plan that allows people to remove a maximum amount tax-free to put toward their home.
Additionally, first-time buyers will need a finance stress test to know what they can afford and if lenders will consider them for a mortgage. Once completed, home buyers should get pre-approved for a mortgage, so they know what price point they’re looking for in a house.
Real Estate Agent
Finding a real estate agent who specializes in first-time homebuyers is a huge asset during the process. They will know the different incentives that exist and can help explain answers to the questions that first-time buyers might need to learn to ask. If the property considered buying is a condo, find a REALTOR® who is familiar with buying condos. Home buyers looking to purchase a single-family home should look for a real estate agent familiar with that kind of property. Ask for referrals when looking at real estate professionals, and ask about their success rate in getting buyers into their homes at a cost they’re comfortable paying.
Working with a REALTOR® is an asset when it comes to inside knowledge. Agents receive a heads-up of any houses getting ready to be listed but aren’t entirely on the market yet. When it’s time for the open house, look thoroughly at every part of the house and ask these questions:
- Are the appliances in good condition, or will they need replacing soon?
- What kind of maintenance and repairs has the homeowner completed over the years?
- Is there time remaining on warranties?
- Is there enough storage?
- Does the home offer enough natural lighting?
- Does the property need landscaping or any immediate repairs?
- Will the neighborhood possibly change due to future developments?
- Why is the house being sold? Why do the sellers want to move?
There are no stupid questions; the more questions asked, the more familiar the house buyers can be, which means making an informed decision could be more straightforward. Attending an open house allows homebuyers to envision themselves and their belongings in the home.
When it’s time to make the offer, a few things could come up. The offer should be conditional on a home inspection. That will mean the home buyer will know without a shadow of a doubt what they are getting into when they buy the house. The offer may also be conditional upon financing. If home buyers are pre-approved, then that step should be less stressful as they’ll know that financing is approved going into it. Write any conditions against the seller into the offer, such as repairs that need addressing before the final sale. There may also be some back and forth if the seller would prefer not to make the repairs and instead will ask for a lesser amount. The real estate agent will facilitate all negotiations and communicate with the home buyers every step of the way.
When all parties involved in the sale agree on price and conditions, a closing date is confirmed, and the home buyers are now homeowners!
Buying a home for the first time may seem overwhelming, and a first-time home buyer may be unsure where to start. Finding a REALTOR® who is experienced and specializes in dealing with first-time homebuyers is the best way to make the journey stress-free and uncomplicated!