Are You a First Time Home Buyer?

 
Buying a home can be as exciting as it is overwhelming.  I would like to share all too common house buying mistakes I’ve seen over my career.
 
Not being pre-approved for a mortgage
This is the number-one mistake,  please don’t even look at a house until you know what amount of mortgage you’re pre-approved for. It’s a benefit when you’re putting in an offer, especially in a multiple-bid offer, being able to provide written proof to sellers that you can complete this transaction. It will provide leverage in getting the house.

I also suggest shopping around for a mortgage and being clear on the terms and conditions. In other words, don’t be too excited about a low rate until you read the fine print. It’s not all about the interest rate!  As a mortgage professional I can help find the perfect mortgage for you.

Not being clear about your needs and wants
A lot of people want to go out and buy a house but they don’t have a plan. Then they get hooked into the emotional link to a home and get caught up in the excitement and overlook necessary features like how many bedrooms and bathrooms? What about parking? Closet space? Don’t rush into looking before preparing and considering what you’re looking for that will match your needs and lifestyle.

Couples not being on the same page
One half of the couple will want to be in Cambridge and one will want to be in Brantford. Or one is just going along but not expressing what they really want. It’s not a good use of anybody’s time. Sometimes one partner will delegate the other to find the house because they’re too busy at work. If couples don’t work as a team along with the Realtor you can end up by spinning your wheels and missing out.

Skipping a home inspection
Every one of my client’s offers are conditional to a satisfactory professional inspection by a qualified home inspector.
 This is the opportunity for the inspector to discover and give you a heads-up about any flaws or issues you may not have been aware of and help you understand the difference between maintenance issues or major structural issues, faulty systems.

When people get caught up in multiple offers or bidding wars, which happen often in cities like Calgary, Toronto, Vancouver, a lot of them to try and make their offer the best they can by NOT including an inspection condition. That condition is not a condition any buyer should remove from the offer.  Attend the inspection; don’t just hire someone to do it without you being there. I’ve never missed an inspection and always learn something.

Similarly, people looking at a condo should make the offer conditional on seeing strata certificate, which includes information such as its budget, rules and regulations, and upcoming assessments or expenditures.
I’ve come across many buyers of their first house or seasoned buyers looking at  their fifth purchase, who think they can save some money by not having an inspection.  They may end up paying thousands of dollars to remediate the home when an unexpected problem occurs that could have been found by spending $400– $500 hundred dollars for an inspection. 

Leaving home insurance until the last minute
Most people for some reason forget about it and leave it till day before they’re closing, but you need to make sure the property is insurable, especially if it’s a rural property. Maybe it’s heated with oil or has old wiring both of which are “red flags” to the insurance industry.  If you can’t get insurance, the bank will not advance funds on closing, if you can’t get the funds from the mortgage company, you can’t close on the house and you end up sitting on the sidewalk with all your possessions around you.

Digging their heels in when negotiating
Let’s say it’s a $500,000 home; the buyer wants to pay $ 483,000 the seller wants no less than $484,500,  I’ve heard people say, ‘No way am I budging, I want to win.’ Negotiating isn’t about winning; it’s about compromise. People might be 20 days apart on completion date, and one will say ‘I’m not willing to wait.’ It can be a deal-breaker but shouldn’t be. In the grand scheme of things, there’s nothing that can’t be worked out should all participants be willing.

Being swayed by bling or staging
Granite countertops and stainless-steel appliances are appealing, but a buyer needs to focus on the floor plan. You can change everything else: cabinetry, lighting, wallpaper, carpet, and flooring. But you can’t change the floor plan. Look for efficiency in your floor plan, especially if you’re buying a condo.

Being indecisive
Sometimes people will see a home right away that they love but they don’t make an offer because it’s the first one they’ve looked at. By hesitating and not being decisive  you may lose the house you like the most.  You will find that no house is perfect  but if it’s close to what you want, it’s worth a long look.

Trying to time the market
Trying to time the market so properties are lower priced is not possible. Believe me, if I could do it, I’d be a millionaire. There are too many factors that affect the market; interest rates, global influence... I can tell you what the market is like right now and maybe even three months from now, but if a world financial crisis hits or a tsunami hits... Anything can happen.

A lot of the home buying process comes down to being ready in your mind. Are you really committed to buying right now or just curious about what’s happening? The best realtor in the world can’t help you buy anything if you’re not ready. The right time to buy is when you’ve put all your ducks in order; then everything will fall into place with the least amount of glitches possible. 

 
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