Homework for home buyers
Here are the most important “homework” assignments for every home buyer:
CHECK YOUR CREDIT REPORT AND GET YOUR FINANCES IN ORDER
Before you go to a lender to apply for a mortgage, you may want to check your credit report. Your credit report can be obtained from Equifax Canada or TransUnion Canada. Both agencies provide free and fee-based credit reports. By checking your credit report before meeting with a lender, you can fix mistakes or correct bad credit behaviors so potential lenders will look at you more favorably.
Obtain mortgage pre-approval
Many sellers will not consider an offer from a buyer who does not have a pre-approval letter from a mortgage lender, so it’s best to get pre-approved for a mortgage before beginning your house search. Your lender or mortgage broker will tell you how much you can afford, what the monthly payment will be, and what your anticipated closing costs will be. It’s wise to speak with several lenders before choosing one, so you can compare costs and fees.
Create a budget for the home
Once you know how much you can afford, you can determine how much you want to spend. Remember additional expenses such as heat, electricity, repairs, furnishings, property taxes and maintenance. A budget will help you be realistic.
LEARN MORE ABOUT REAL ESTATE IN YOUR AREA
- Research Internet sites
- Attend a local home-buyer workshop
- Talk with several Industry Members
- Hire a licensed buyer’s representative
- An Industry Member who signs a contract with you as your buyer’s representative will search through listings for you, make appointments, conduct research, and walk you through the entire process of buying a home. Buyer’s representatives also have currentreal estate listings and sales data to help you avoid overspending. See Working with a buyer’s representative for more information.
MAKE A HOUSE-SHOPPING LIST WITH YOUR BUYER’S REPRESENTATIVE
Searching for a home involves asking yourself a lot of questions. Where do you want to live? How are the schools in that area? How is the commute to your job? How high are the property taxes? How many bedrooms and baths do you need? Your list will help you to stay organized and focused.
HIRE A HOME INSPECTOR
When you have chosen a house and signed a contract with the seller, it’s time to bring in an objective professional home inspector to check the condition of the property before you buy it and issue you a detailed report highlighting any defects. If expensive defects are found, you may be able to negotiate repairs or a price reduction, or even terminate the Agreement of Purchase and Sale. Having a home inspection will give you the truest picture of the home’s condition and help you in making a fully informed decision. Always use an accredited home inspector that carries errors and omissions insurance.
BEFORE THE CLOSING, DO A FINAL PRE-CLOSING VIEWING
The walk-through just before the closing gives you one last look at the property you are buying to be sure it is in the condition you offered on and expect. If there are any problems, it is better to know them before you close rather than after, so you have the opportunity to address these issues with the seller. This is not another inspection; it is a home viewing to confirm the condition of the property hasn’t changed since you agreed to buy it.