While many serious buyers are out looking now for Windsor Ontario homes for sale, others are quietly preparing to look at properties in 2014. I have had several potential clients contact me already about buying a home next year and they want to know what to do now in order to prepare. Therefore, I have created a checklist that all buyers should consider following whenever they decide to buy a home.
1. How much can you afford?
Consider your lifestyle and what obligations you may have in the future. Will you have school costs, such as college in the next few years? What about if you want to start your own business soon? Calculate your monthly earnings, write down all of your current expenses, check your credit score, think about near future expenses that may change your budget and figure out a down payment.
2. Get pre-approved!
This is so important if you are a buyer. Number one, sellers love to see this and it creates an edge if you are in a bidding war, and number two, it doesn’t waste your time looking at homes that you cannot afford.
3. Determine your needs and wants:
This includes deciding on what type of neighbourhood you want. Suburbs? Downtown? Condo? Single family home? What school district? What style of home? Price range? How many bedrooms and baths? Open floor plan or traditional? Figure out what you MUST have in a home (this is what you will not compromise) and what you would LIKE to have (it’s not a deal breaker if a house doesn’t have something you would like). Look online, and see what homes always appeal to you. I have found that buyers are usually drawn to a certain neighbourhood and style.
Once you have found a town and neighbourhood where you want to purchase your home, do the research! That means looking online for school, crime, city, traffic and other information. Figure out what your commute would be by driving during the most peak traffic times. Find parks, attractions, shopping and restaurants to see if they are easily accessible.
5. Find a good real estate agent:
It’s never too early to look for a good real estate agent. Ask friends, family or co-workers for referrals. Be sure and find an agent that knows the area very well where you want to buy as they can provide a great amount of information that will be helpful in finding a terrific home. You will need to know if the vacant lot next door is zoned for commercial use or maybe the wonderful view you like will be obstructed. Always interview at least three agents and choose one that not only comes highly recommended and is an expert in your area, but also one you can work with comfortably.
6. Begin the search:
This means, looking online, visiting open houses and getting a feel for the area.
Once 2014 arrives, you will be ready to start making appointments to see properties because you will be fully and completely informed on what is available and what you can afford. When you find a home that you want, you will feel comfortable on making an offer based on your research. When that day comes, here’s what you can expect:
Make an offer: Once you make an offer, be prepared to negotiate. Here is why you need a professional real estate, as they are experts at getting a price that you are comfortable with. Your offer will include contingencies, home inspection and financial issues among other things. You will also need to determine the earnest money, down payment and closing date when you make an offer.
When both parties agree on the contract, the following will happen:
The home will be appraised.
A home inspection (which you pay for), is needed. Based on both the inspection and appraisal, you may need to renegotiate your contract.
Find an insurance company (proof of insurance will be required at closing).
Finalize the loan process. (Make sure all paperwork is signed and turned in immediately as delays in closing can occur). Don’t make any large purchases while you are in escrow as it can change your debt ratio and a bank can and will reject your loan.
Do a walk through: This will determine that the property is in good shape, repairs have been made.
Close the purchase: This is where you will need to present a cashier’s check at closing. Review all paperwork prior to closing.