Are you thinking of buying a house? Then this blog is for you!
You have decided to start the process of buying a house! YAY! WHOOHOO!
That is serious business and it is also very exciting. The question is: Where to start?
Now you may respond with “um have you heard of the internet?” and you would be right that is a great place to start, or is it? Below I am going to run through my 6 steps for purchasing a home from start to finish.
In my opinion the absolute first step in your journey to purchasing your first property is simple:
1. GET A PRE-APPROVAL!!
How do you start looking for treasure without a map to follow? Think of the pre-approval as the paper you use to draw the map, without the preapproval you have nowhere to start.
It doesn’t matter if you know what kind of house you like, how many bedrooms and bathrooms you want or that you definitely need to have a hot tub. These things mean nothing if you do not know what dollar amount a lender will actually give you a mortgage for.
Where to go for a pre-approval? The best answer is to do a little research. Most places will do a pre-approval for free, but not all. You can get a pre-approval from almost any financial institution. Banks, credit unions and mortgage brokers will be more than happy to entertain taking you on as a client. If you need some names and places give us a call and we can direct you to someone who will help. Keep in mind this can get in depth. They are planning on giving you a significant amount of dough so they are going to ask for a lot of documentation and background info. Don’t worry about what is in your financial past, it is better to be honest than to get a mortgage you can’t afford.
Alright you have a pre-approval! SUCCESS!! That is a big step and the right place to start.
Now what? Realtor.ca? KIJIJI? Points2home? Real Estate News?
2. RESEARCH AND BUILD A WISHLIST!
Go online. Look up things on social media. Do some research on property types. Do you want a house? Is a Condo more your thing? Are you handy? Do you want something that is a fixer upper or something you don’t have to do anything to? You may not be able to get everything on your wishlist within your budget, but you should definitely have an idea of what it is that you need. 2 or 3 bedrooms? Two storey or one? Do you need a bathtub? There are a lot of factors of a home that you may or may not even know that you wanted so look around. Getting an idea of the important things will help guide you when you start to look at properties in person.
3. FIND A BUYERS AGENT!!
I cannot stress enough how important this one is. You can’t drive past 2 bus benches in this city without seeing the name of a real estate agent and the companies they work for and you should have seen plenty of agents’ names while doing your research about property types. So look into some agents. A lot of us have our own websites with biographies and other information. Maybe there is an agent with a similar background to you, maybe your friend’s mom or dad is an agent. Go to some open houses and talk with the agents hosting them. The person there is not always the listing agent and in most cases would love to help you on your journey. It doesn’t matter how you find the agent you want to work with, as long as you do choose someone to represent you.
My best advice in this is to be honest with whoever you talk to. Telling an agent you are working with someone when you are not doesn’t really help anyone. If you are looking on your own and are not yet represented then say so. You don’t need to be scared about telling the truth. At the end of the day we all want to make good working relationships and not everyone will mesh with every agent. There is someone out there who you are going to feel will best represent your interests. Tell the agent you are just starting your search and you are not ready to commit to anyone specifically. Ask for a business card and if you like how they interacted with you, maybe you will ask them to represent you.
As an aside if you are just a neighbor who wants to see the home, say so. We are hosting an open house anyway so you are welcome to come in, and the best way to feel like the agent is just being themselves with you is to be honest, we can see when you walk up to a property from across the street.
Ok now you have picked an agent to represent you, AMAZING!! Have a real honest conversation with them about your wants and needs, and what you can’t live without. The agent can begin assisting you in your search. Our backend system saves you hours and hours of research as it scours the MLS for anything set up in your own curated search. They will be the ones drawing the directions to the buried treasure. Not to mention, listings on our system can pop up 2-3 days before Realtor.ca!
It’s time to pick some houses to see.
4. VIEW HOUSES!!
Ask your buyers agent to set up showings for houses you want to view. This may be one of the most important pieces of information I can give you. Once you pick a buyers agent contact them to do everything. Every Realtor in Winnipeg has access to every property that is on the MLS so if you see a house you like you should contact YOUR agent, not the listing agent. Thinking they are too busy so you will book with the listing agent is not cool and could get your agent into some hot water. If you pick someone to represent you, LET THEM. That is what they want. They want to get to know you, how you feel about the houses, what you like, what you hate. It helps us fight for your best interests when you do pick a house you love.
Now get into some houses! All of the online areas are great resources but nothing and I mean NOTHING can simulate the way you see a house in person. The smell, the feel, the textures, the room sizes. I really do mean nothing is the same in person as it is online. The #1 comment I get when I host open houses is: “it looked different in the pictures.” And it’s true. A camera cannot simulate the way you experience a home. You may think that you like the idea of a two storey home, but when you view it you hate the stairs. Maybe a carpet looks grey in a picture but it is powder blue in person. You NEED to see a home to know if you like it, and perhaps love it.
So you have found a house that you LOVE, it has everything you wanted and it’s in your budget, now what?
5. WRITE AN OFFER!
The map is getting closer and closer to the big X. It’s time to talk with your buyers agent and write up the offer. They will know what all of the comparable homes in the area have sold for, whether there is room to negotiate or not (maybe it is an offer date and a competition) and how to get your offer from conditional to FINAL. Your agent will negotiate on YOUR behalf. Your best interests are what they are working for. They are going to fight tooth and nail to get you the best price and terms. This is the reason they got to know you in the first place.
6. CLOSE THE DEAL!
Now it is the home stretch, time to work hard and dig up that treasure. Your offer was accepted and it is time to finalize your conditions. Remember the Pre-approval? Well now the lender has turned that into a Mortgage. Did you request a home inspection? Time to do it, and if you did it will be the best lesson in how to maintain a home and worth every penny in my opinion. Finalize all of your conditions and the home is yours. Your buyers agent can help you with the particulars of closing the deal completely by suggesting insurance providers and lawyers to finalize the paperwork.
CONGRATULATIONS!! You have purchased a home. In 6 steps you have been the dream client and found that buried treasure, well done!!!
Tel: (204) 226-1261