For many buyers, especially first time homebuyers, it can be scary purchasing a Windsor house. Among other reasons, it costs a lot of money and it means you are settling down roots when you may have been renting for many years.
Knowing what to expect and hiring a trusted real estate professional who can walk you through the process, buying a home doesn’t have to be frightening. For some buyers, their fears prevent them from ever buying a home. Paying for it may take the better part of your life, so yes, it is a subject and worry we are familiar with, but don’t let it get the best of you and prevent you from owning a home.
Here are some of the most common worries we, as real estate agents, here:
1. The economy:
This is understandable considering the last several years we have experienced. With jobs uncertain, home prices falling while everything else was costing more, buyers ran away in droves. Home prices do respond to the overall economy, though not as drastic as other investments, like stocks. And while certainly a responsible buyer must always keep their eye on what is happening, don’t let periodic downturns prevent you from buying or thinking everything in the housing market is going downhill fast. Buy wisely and talk with your real estate agent what they are seeing in the market. Chances are, you will like what you hear.
2. Being denied a loan:
Loans are not being handed out like they were several years ago, when anyone who could sign their name was handed a mortgage. Today, it takes more work to get a loan, but banks are lending money and it’s looking better than it did just a few years ago. Remember, mortgage companies need to loan money to stay in business. Make sure you are on strong financial footing, with decent credit. If you don’t have it, then ask a lender what you can do to improve your situation.
3. Not enough for down payment:
This is the biggest concern for many homebuyers. They wonder where they will get the 20 percent down to buy a home. First, talk with your loan officer and find out what programs or loans are available with little down payments. The key here is to have excellent credit. Closing costs? One common request buyers make in their offer is to ask sellers to assist with these costs. Again, your real estate agent can give you ideas on how to negotiate these terms. Ask for their advice and they may already know some motivated sellers that would gladly entertain your offer.
4. What should I buy?
With so many houses for sale, buyers are often overwhelmed what to buy. Should it be a condo? What about a small starter home? Fixer upper? It all depends on your own situation: how big is your family? What can you afford? Commute time to work? I suggest the following:
Trust your instincts and stick with it. If you know that a condo best suits your busy lifestyle, then that is where your house hunt should focus. If you are tempted to buy a fixer upper, then you need to sit back and ask yourself why you wanted a condo in the first place. A fixer upper will take more money, work, and time. A condo offers the very opposite of that lifestyle.
I also ask buyers to be open and consider all neighbourhoods and home styles. I can’t tell you how many times I have shown property to buyers who never would have considered a particular neighbourhood, but based on their needs and wants, I knew it was perfect for them. Almost always they buy it, or it is at the top of their list. Trust your real estate agent.
Also, visit a variety of homes. See what the real estate market has to offer you and learn about various homes, neighbourhoods and communities. Chances are, you will find the type of home that you are automatically driven to and find what appeals to you overall.
5. What if I can’t afford the home after all?
Buyers have often heard the familiar stories of homes falling out of escrow because the loan didn’t go through. If you are prepared, then this rarely happens. Always get a pre-approval letter from your lender. This will tell you exactly how much you can spend. Don’t allow an agent to show you a home that is out of your price range unless they feel they can get the property for less and within your budget because the seller is very motivated. When your offer is accepted, don’t go on any buying sprees. Just because you have a pre-approval letter, doesn’t mean you can go and max out your credit card. Mortgage companies do one more credit check and if your debt is higher, then yes, the loan could be denied. Simply live like you always have, and hold off on buying furniture, car or any other big-ticket item.