If you are buying a Windsor house and new to the area, first of all, welcome! No doubt you will love our community with its friendly and welcoming environment. If you are moving here because of a job transfer or new job, maybe moving closer to friends or family, then let us help you make this transition less stressful.
No doubt that moving into a new area is exciting, crazy and everything all rolled into one. Chances are, you have thousands of questions and want to know everything you can about choosing the right home in the right neighbourhood. While it can be scary buying a home in an unfamiliar area, selecting a real estate agent that can protect your interests while offering you peace of mind is necessary.
First things first. How should you, as the buyer, prepare yourself and your family for such a move? Here are my suggestions:
Begin your search for a home online. Simply google,
- Windsor Homes
- Windsor and surrounding communities
- County of Essex
Look at the various tourism areas and look at our local Chamber of Commerce to see what businesses are available. I also suggest that you look at the local newspapers, including The Windsor Star to follow local news and housing information. And don’t forget school websites as well as the police department to check crime statistics.
2. Talk to real estate agents:
Your next step is to find a professional, experienced real estate agent or “neighbourhood specialist.” This term is used because there are many agents who specialize or are experts in certain areas. If you know where you want to live, then it’s strongly advised to hire an agent that knows that particular neighbourhood very well. They can give you the pros and cons, what homes are available, if they are overpriced, if other homes will be coming up in the market, etc. You want to make sure that the person you end up hiring, can give you the latest and most valuable information available.
My suggestion has always been to interview three agents that are recommended to you by family, friends and/or co-workers. Some questions you may consider:
- How will you help me narrow my choices?
- Can you recommend reputable home inspectors, lenders and insurance agents for me?
- Can you give me the names of the last six people whom you represented for their recommendation?
- Why should I hire you?
3. Get Pre-approved:
I advise all buyers to get pre-approved for a home loan prior to even looking at homes. Why? Because it narrows the choices and sellers love to see this piece of paper when you make an offer. It can truly make the difference if you are involved in a bidding war, as sellers don’t want to waste their time with buyers who may not be qualified.
4. Select Neighbourhood:
Now that you have your pre-approval letter, it’s time to find the best area for you to make your new home. Again, local agents can give you great information about areas that you might not find anywhere else, such as recent comparable sales, days on the market, specific information regarding a home, why the owners are selling, if a home is overpriced, average list-to-sales price ratios as well as information on schools, what areas are considered the best neighbourhoods, and a host of other details.
I also ask clients to make a “must have” and a “wish list” prior to looking for homes. If you must have a three bedroom, two bath home, then include it on this list. If you would like a home on a cul-de-sac with a home office, then put this on the wish list. This really helps an agent narrow down properties in your price range. Chances are, your time is valuable if you have limited schedule to look at properties or are coming in for a weekend to view homes. An agent always wants to make the most of the time they have with their client.
5. Familiarize yourself with the neighbourhood:
I always tell my clients to make themselves at home in a neighbourhood that they have selected. Walk around and talk to others that live in the area. Ask them if they are happy in their block, if they like the schools or if there are any problems with crime or local disturbances. Walk into the local stores and talk to the owners and customers and get their opinions of the town. If you will be looking at schools, take a tour and ask to see how they compare to other schools by test scores.
Finally, the goal is to make sure that you find the best home, in the best area all within your budget while eliminating as much stress and worry as possible. That’s the job of a real estate agent. Give us a call as we would be pleased to help you with your relocation.