Home Buyer's Guide and Tools
Buying a home in Edmonton - Here is some great information to get you started!
Whether you are motivated by a growing family, the desire to downgrade, or are facing the adventure of relocation- buying a new home should be an exciting experience, not a nail-biting roller coaster ride. As an experienced realtor, my role is to aid you on this journey as your buyer's agent and mitigate the stress as much as possible. Can buying a new home be stressful? Absolutely! But with me as your buyer's agent, I bring an army of help. After many years of working with various lawyers, mortgage brokers, and home inspection companies, I have acquired some wonderful contacts with some of the best professionals in their fields.
Home ownership is, by far, the best option for families who are able to take the plunge. Not only does it help you to build equity as you make those mortgage payments each month, but also in many cases home values increase above the original purchase price as the years pass, allowing you to create a firm financial foundation for your family.
Deciding between condo living and a single detached home? By going through the various pro's and con's of both options together, I can help you determine which would be right for you and your family based on your unique circumstance.
Because providing the best possible home-buying experience is my goal, I make it a priority to keep up on the latest news in mortgage and real-estate. I make keeping up on the highlights of the ever-expanding Edmonton neighbourhoods my mission, and feature them in my blogs.
In short, whether new to the city, upgrading, or just taking that exciting next step into home ownership, I am pleased to represent you in this process and get you into a wonderful new home so that you can get started on the exciting next chapter of your life.
What a fantastic stage in life! Buying a new home is such an exciting process, and as your realtor, I intend to help make it as enjoyable as possible. I recognize what an important step this is, because your choice of home will determine so much! From meeting neighbours who may become lifelong friends, to where your children go to school and who they grow up with; your home buying experience is pivotal to the next chapter of your journey.
As your realtor, it is my privilege to guide you in this journey with my experience, knowledge, and industry relationships, making each step of the process clear and providing you the confidence you need to make an informed decision.
Some things to consider:
- What can I afford? Before we even begin the exciting process of home-shopping together, the best thing to do is determine your budget. To fall in love with a home only to discover later that it is outside your budget is heartbreaking, and can really sour the search going forward. It is understandably difficult to get excited about great options within your budget when you’ve already fallen for something unattainable. The best way to determine your budget is by speaking to a mortgage professional. If you do not already have one, I am happy to recommend professionals who I have worked with in the past, otherwise, the financial institution you bank with is a good place to start.
- What are my ‘Must-Haves’? Knowing what you want is great, but knowing what you can and cannot live without is even better when gearing up to start your search. Can you compromise on location to increase your square footage? Can you do without the latest fixtures and finishings for the sake of adding value later? Are you looking for an established neighbourhood, new-build, or both? How important is outdoor space for your family? Giving yourself some flexibility to adapt during your search may also be helpful. You never know if your dream home is a slightly different property type or style than you had initially envisioned, or if that extra five-minute commute will give you the larger backyard you had been searching for.
- How long will I live in this home? If the home you are looking to purchase is going to last you and your family the next twenty years, then lifestyle changes over the years is an important consideration. If you are looking to start a family, how many children do you intend to have? Where do you spend most of your time? How often do you like to entertain, and on what scale? Does the home you are considering have features that might become difficult to maintain during the length of your ownership? Your short-term and long-term needs are equally important considerations.
- How serious am I? Sometimes you might feel ready, but when that perfect property pops up, you find yourself fighting the urge to keep looking at more and more homes. While searching until you find the right one is a smart move, losing the perfect home for your family because of indecision or fear of taking that plunge can be frustrating for any prospective home buyer. When coming across the right property, your realtor will never push you into anything. What we can do is advise on whether we feel making an offer would be a good idea based on what you are looking for, comparable properties available, and list price. We can also advise you on the state of the market and how long a property couldremain available while you consider making an offer. However, it is important to be clear that there are no crystal balls to determine such things, and there is always the potential for a more serious buyer to scoop up the property. If you are more interested in making sure the home you choose meets your most important needs than how many homes you look at, you will have the edge in the process by beingthat serious buyer.
- Who are my allies for this process? Buying a home can be complicated, but it doesn’t have to be when you have the right team in place. It is extremely important that the realtor you work with have experience working with great (and not-so-great) industry professionals who are necessary to the process, such as mortgage professionals, lawyers, contractors, home inspectors, condo-document reviewers, stagers, and photographers. After years of experience, I have had the pleasure of getting to know some of the best professionals in their fields, some who I have even used personally, and these are contacts I am happy to refer to my clients, should they need them.
Now that you have considered the key aspects of the pre-buying process, it is time to start your search! Many people are seasoned home buyers who have purchased properties before, and that will give them the advantage of knowing what to expect from the process. However, there are many others who are first time home buyers and can benefit from an overview.
7 Steps for Buying a Home…
1) Getting Pre-Approved. Know your buying power. Speak with your mortgage professional and find out exactly what they need from you for your pre-approval. Your mortgage broker might ask for anything from T4s to paystubs to credit card statements. It is important to tackle this step first, because you could be asked to do things to increase your chances of an approval, such as pay off small balances on retail credit cards, etc. It is also possible you could be alerted to issues with your credit that you might not have been aware of. Giving yourself some time with this process will allow you to get your debt load in a good place if need be, or even find a strong cosigner who can help expedite the process.
2) Choose a Realtor. Luckily for you, you’ve found a great person to represent you! I have built a reputation for going above and beyond for all of my clients. I have established great relationships with the people I have worked with and would be thrilled to work with you as well! If you already have someone else in mind- that is great too. Always make sure you are working with someone knowledgeable, experienced, and trustworthy. Your comfort level with the realtor you are working with is the most important thing.
3) Go Shopping! Now that you know what your needs are, what your budget is based on your pre-approval, and have an experienced realtor to assist you, you are ready to get out there and view some homes! This is where the fun begins. This is also where your needs vs. wants checklist comes into play. Sometimes these may change as you begin to view homes, and that’s okay. When you first start out, a large backyard may be at the top of your list, but as you view homes in your budget with large backyards you realize you might be sacrificing indoor living space. It’s good to be flexible when it comes to some of the items on your list. Don’t forget to bring these changes in your list to the realtor you are working with so they can adjust their search accordingly.
4) Make an Offer! This part of the process is where negotiating the terms and price of the deal come into play. The date you would like the deal to close, your move-in date, what is included in the deal, and of course, how much you will be purchasing your home for, are all things your realtor will be negotiating on your behalf. Before they do so, they will go over all the details and terms of the offer with you before it is sent to the seller, to make sure you are comfortable will every aspect of it. Of course, it is great to have found a property you have fallen in love with, but it is also great to be detached enough from the property that you can walk away if the seller is not motivated enough to negotiate fair selling terms.
5) Your Offer Was Accepted! Congratulations! An accepted offer is the first step to purchasing the home you’ve fallen in love with. Now you and the seller have to meet the conditions you’ve set for each other in your offers within the agreed upon timeline. These conditions can be financing, subject to the sale of your current home, or inspection to name a few. For example, you may have included a subject to inspection condition in your offer. This means your realtor will help you schedule a home inspection to ensure there are no major issues with the property, and, if you are satisfied that there are none, you can move forward with the purchase of the home. This also means that if the inspection brings up some issues you deem serious, it gives you the opportunity to walk away from the deal and continue looking, or allows your realtor to go back to the seller and negotiate a price reduction to cover whatever the cost might be to repair the issue. Unfortunately, this can be the most stressful part of the process, but just hang in there! Your realtor will remain on top of all aspects of the conditions and keep you informed along the way.
6) Conditions Satisfied! Now that your property inspection was completed, financing approved, and any other agreed upon terms met, it is time to sign your waiver! This waiver indicates the conditions and terms of your purchase have been met to both you and the seller’s satisfaction. From here the deal is sent to your lawyer’s office, where they will arrange the transfer of title and funds to complete the sale. This will take place between the day you remove your conditions and the agreed upon possession day. At some point after they receive the deal, they will request you come in and sign documents to finalize your purchase. This usually takes place a week or two prior to possession of the property.
7) Possession Day! This is where the real celebrating can begin! Once the keys to the property are released to you, you will officially be the home’s new owners. On possession day you can expect to get keys to the property somewhere around mid-day. As your realtor I will arrange to pick up the keys once the lawyers notify me that they are released. I will personally meet you at your new home to complete a walk-through to ensure everything is as it should be, answer any questions you may have, and hand over the keys to your new home!
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First-Time Buyer? Read about some things you need to be aware of, if you're new to this process.
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