Buying your first home can be a daunting experience: there’s so much to consider, and since it’s the first time you’re purchasing real estate you don’t have any past experience to draw from. Buying a home is different from purchasing almost anything else because it’s a long term investment that is affected both by your personal financial history and larger economic and market factors.
As a Surrey real estate professional, I’ve worked with many first time home buyers, and want to share a few tips about making your first real estate buying experience a successful one.
1. Research the Real Estate Market in Your Area
As a first time home buyer make sure you spend some time researching the real estate market you’re planning to buy in. It’s important to have a general understanding of what kinds of homes are available, what prices those homes are listed at in the current market, and which communities and neighbourhoods you’re interested in. You don’t need to know all the specifics, but having some of the basic information from the start is critical: buying a home in Downtown Vancouver is a very different investment than buying Cloverdale or East Clayton real estate.
2. Determine How Much You Can Afford
When buying real estate it’s important to figure out your budget ahead of time. Make sure you consider all of your current expenses and the new ones you’ll take on as a home owner such as regular mortgage payments, maintenance expenses and property taxes. Also keep in mind there may be new purchases you’ll have to make right away such as garbage bins and yard maintenance equipment.
3. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage
It’s important to get pre-approved for a mortgage before you start shopping for your first home. As a first time home buyer, any offer you make will carry more clout and be taken more seriously if you already have a lender ready to stand behind you. Getting pre-approved for a mortgage also helps you clearly define a price range while shopping so you and your agent focus on only the homes you know you can afford.
4. Decide What You Need, and What You’d Like to Have
Take time to think about what your needs and wants are in your first home. Some things are deal-breakers: a single professional’s needs will be very different from the needs of a young and growing family of four. Consider your lifestyle: is walking or taking transit to work important to you, or is commuting an option? Is your family size likely to grow or remain static? Also take into account the “nice to have” considerations: maybe you’ve always wanted a larger garage to work in or an extra room to turn into a home office.
5. Find the Right Real Estate Agent
If you’re a first time buyer, it’s incredibly important to find a real estate professional you trust and can build a relationship with. Finding the right Realtor to help guide you through the buying process the first time will ease your stress and give you confidence. Knowing an expert has your back and your best interests at heart can make a big difference. Look for an agent with expertise and experience that align with your home buying needs: an agent who specializes in Cloverdale and East Clayton real estate will have a deeper understanding of the market value in those areas and be a treasure trove of local information.