Owning a home may be your dream, but are you financially and mentally prepared for the responsibilities to follow?
Some people have a notion that home ownership is like renting, but with the power to have pets and paint the walls whatever colour you like. However, these privileges come with the responsibilities of a paying taxes and home maintenance and/or monthly maintenance fees. Preparing for home ownership requires you to take critical stock of your finances, and your expectations but it's worth it. Instead of paying rent, you are building equity for you own future.
Questions for Prospective Homeowners
Are you ready to buy?
Owning your own home is about more than just being able to decorate any way you like; it's about being prepared to maintain your home over the years, realizing that part of your income and time will go towards repairs and maintenance. It's about being willing to take the risks of home ownership with a realistic expectation of the rewards.
How much can you afford?
It can be discouraging to find that your salary may not stretch as far as the price of the home you want to own. However, sacrificing a huge part of your income just to pay the mortgage can very quickly make home ownership a burden rather than a point of pride. It's better to buy a modest home, stick to your budget and look at purchasing your "dream home" down the road. Get in the real estate market and stop paying rent!
What is your debt-to-income ratio?
This is something that lenders take very seriously. Your overall debt should not be more than 40% of your income, and your housing debt should not be more than 32%. What 32% of your income will buy depends on where you want to live. In the suburbs for example, it could buy a very comfortable residence. In highly sought-after urban areas however, it may not even buy a 400 square foot studio apartment.
What do you want?
Do you like the idea of cleaning your own gutters? Do you shudder at the thought of lawn care? Would you rather just pay a fee every month and have everything done for you? Do you want to live in a neighbourhood where everything is 'just so' or would you prefer a bit of edge to your community? The answers to these questions can help you narrow down your search. It's time to see a good mortgage broker and sort out your expectations around property type and location. More often than not, price will determine your path... or at least point you in a direction or two.
We Can Help
You need a good agent who will work hard for you. Realtor Kerri Demski is dedicated to helping you find the right home, at the best price. We want you to find the home that will make you happy and successful in real estate ownership. She has helped hundreds of people over the last 16+ years. See some of Kerri's reviews from her extremely satisfied clients.
Keep your objectives in mind when visiting a home. Sometimes the idea of owning a home can overwhelm your practical sense, so keep your feelings in check. Keep a list handy of the features that you need and want in a home, and judge each home by the list instead of by details that could distract you from your goal. When you're alone with your agent, you can go over the pros and cons of each home. We can help you stay on track while still keeping our eyes out for a great property.
Engage the services of a good real estate lawyer. We can recommend several notaries or lawyers in North Vancouver who would be a good fit for you. Interview them to ensure that you get someone you can work well with. The legalities of transferring land ownership can be quite technical, and a notary or lawyer can be your best protection.
Make the offer. This can be a maze of foreign language - "completion", "possession", "subjects", "terms", "conditions" and "chattels". What's what? We will prepare the paperwork and go through it with you, step by step, before submitting an offer. We will also discuss the offer process and how that works. Like, what happens if we are in multiple offers or if the seller rejects or counters our offer. Now what?
Get all necessary inspections done. A home inspector will check for signs of harmful materials like asbestos, lead paint and mold. They'll also check for evidence of pests, faulty wiring and leaks. This is a crucial part of the home purchase. Not getting an inspection done means that you could be stuck in a home with a bad case of black mold and no recourse other than to pay for its removal. Inspections will cost a few hundred dollars but it's worth it for the peace of mind. There are several inspectors in the area that we'd be happy to recommend.
Do a final walkthrough. On possession we conduct our final walk-through to make sure everything is in order. Has everything been completed that was agreed to; is the storage locker empty; is the home clean; are the appliances still working properly?
From our first meeting to the moment that you receive the keys, we can help you with the complicated process of buying a home. Don't hesitate to contact us to find out more about how we can make the home buying process easier!
Contact us for more information about first time home purchasing.