The top 10 things you need to know when buying a home
1. Don’t buy if you can’t stay put.
If you can’t commit to remaining in one place for at least a few years, then owning is probably not for you, at least not yet. With the transaction costs of buying and selling a home, you may end up losing money if you sell any sooner – even in a rising market. When prices are falling, it’s an even worse proposition.
2. Start by speaking to your lender to see what amount of money you are qualified for.
3. Aim for a home you can really afford.
The rule of thumb is that you can buy housing that runs about two-and-one-half times your annual salary. But you’ll do better to use one of our mortgage calculator available online to get a better handle on how your income, debts, and expenses affect what you can afford.
4. If you can’t put down the usual 10-20 percent, you may still qualify for a loan.
There are a variety of public and private lenders who, if you qualify, offer low-interest mortgages that require a small down payment.
5. Know the features are looking for in a property.
Common features are sea views, mountain views, waterfront, walking closet, modern/contemporary design, ensuite master bathroom, spacious kitchen, open plan living, close to public transportation, schools & towns.
6. Get professional help.
Even though the Internet gives buyers unprecedented access to home listings, most new buyers (and many more experienced ones) are better off using a Century 21 professional agent. An agent will have your interests at heart and can help you with strategies during the bidding process.
7. Do your homework before bidding.
Your opening bid should be based on the sales trend of similar homes in the neighborhood. So before making it, consider sales of similar homes in the last three months. If homes have recently sold at 5 percent less than the asking price, you should make a bid that’s about eight to 10 percent lower than what the seller is asking.
8. Hire a home appraiser
Sure, your lender will require a home appraisal anyway. But that’s just the bank’s way of determining whether the house is worth the price you’ve agreed to pay. Separately, you should hire your own home inspector, preferably an engineer with experience in doing home surveys in the area where you are buying. His or her job will be to point out potential problems that could require costly repairs down the road.