1. Mortgage Pre-Approval
I cannot stress this enough -- it was important before, but it's even more important now because of the stress test. Buyers may not qualify for as much as they think they will. This has been implemented for the past couple of years now, but does affect every buyer and homeowner in the real estate market. We want to make sure that you are qualified and able to purchase before you find the home of your dreams. Although most people could get a pretty good idea what they may qualify for, it would be devastating if we found said home and your mortgage qualification was $20k-$30k lower then it's asking price. Then what? When we show you a home, it means this home could work for you and that you would consider purchasing it. Every time a sellers home is shown, they get excited that a buyer for their home may have been found! If we show you a home and you're not pre-approved, it's an inconvenience not only to you, but the sellers, and both agents involved. Remember, we LOVE our careers (at least I do!), but we also have families and commitments, too. Pre-approvals mean you're ready and able to buy and we're shopping in your price point. I have some great mortgage brokers that I work with - if you need a contact, please reach out!
2. Hire a Real Estate Agent
One question - why not? They are your ally. Your teammate. Your expert. Your guide. Your resource. They have your back. I mean, they do this for a living and most of us are pretty dang good at it! Using a real estate agent in Saskatchewan is at no charge to the buyer as the commissions are paid by the seller. Even if you're looking at a new build, having an agent who has your back throughout the process can greatly benefit you. And even if the build is from scratch, or you're looking at a pre-built, move-in ready home they will ensure you are working with a reputable builder. They're going to make sure you get a good, solid home, the appropriate conditions and terms are written in the contract, and that you don't overpay for it. Whether its re-sale or new, it's a given that I would love to help you because helping people is my passion, but as long as you've got someone on your side is better than you trying to tackle it on your own.
3. Make 2 Lists
Before you start looking at homes, make TWO lists. It's important that you break down these lists separately. One is going to be your needs - location? square footage? bedrooms? bathrooms? garage? The other is going to be your wants - updates? ensuite? large yard? Think of your needs as your dealbreakers and then think of your wants as things that would be awesome, but you could live with out. Bring this with you or have handy (on your phone, etc)., while you are out looking at homes. Better yet, share it with your agent, too! The more you share means the more we know. This will help them tremendously when you're looking at homes and in turn can help keep you on track for what exactly it is you're looking for.
4. Keep an Open Mind & Be Ready
There is no set amount of homes you need to look at before you find the one. There is also no right or wrong amount of time that it should take. I've had clients who have looked at 4-5 homes and have purchased. I've also had clients who have looked at 15+ homes and then have purchased. There is no rule. It really comes down to what you are looking for. Some areas in Regina will have more to choose from then others. It's also wise to keep an open mind. The more specific your needs list is, the more flexible you might have to be. There is a good chance that everything on your box can't be checked off. With that said, we do everything we can to find you that home and check off as many boxes as we can! When you find "the one" it's important to act fast. Too many times have clients lost the home of their dreams because they wanted to think about it.
5. Have Fun
Trust me, I get it. Buying a home is STRESSFUL. It can take years and years to save to buy a home. Everything you've worked and saved for comes down to this. Buying a home is a commitment and there are additional expenses you need to be prepared for. [Hint Hint: we go over these with you;)] BUT since you have an expert on your side, they've got your back. They're not going to encourage you to buy a dump just to make a commission. That is not how I run my business. I would never let you buy something I wouldn't sell to my own family. The process should be FUN, ENJOYABLE & EXCITING! We do everything we can to alleviate the stresses that you may feel. Lean on us, ask us questions, express your concerns and be honest about what you like and don't like! You WILL NOT hurt our feelings!
Those are my 5 need-to-do's before you consider buying a home this spring or in the future. My two favourite C's I want my clients to feel when buying a home is that they are COMFORTABLE & CONFIDENT in their purchase (or sale).
As always, I'm here to help. If you have any questions, you can reach me here. You don't have to be buying right now to contact me - if you are, awesome! If it's in 6 months or a year, or longer, also awesome! I work with you at your pace and if you don't ask, you won't know!