Personal Finance

Here’s How to Shop Wisely For Your First Home in a Competitive Market

When thinking about buying your first home the process can be overwhelming and time-consuming, especially in a competitive seller’s market when time is crucial.

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Before diving into the process of shopping for your first home, consider these tips to make the process less daunting and more enjoyable.

  • Think of the future and not just the present when deciding what you want in a home. Think of how long you intend on staying there and if you might need more bedrooms in the future for children or more land for pets or recreation. Being in the process for the long-haul ensures you don’t have to go through it all over again in a few years if life’s circumstances change.
  • Determine if you can afford it. Crunch the numbers before you fall in love with a home that is drastically out of your price range. It’s rather simple to plug your income into a basic mortgage calculator to see how much you can afford to spend on housing. There are other factors that come into play such as the interest rate, required down payment and length of the mortgage, but having a rough idea of what is affordable eliminates disappointment from falling in love with homes that simply aren’t feasible in your budget. Don’t rush this step because finding the right mortgage for you is just as important as finding the perfect home.
  • Be flexible and prepared. A competitive market doesn’t always give you the wiggle-room you might have in a buyer’s market when it comes to putting in an offer or asking the seller to accommodate your requests for renovations. Don’t try to low ball the seller with an offer that is likely going to be rejected. Only put an offer in if you’ve been pre-approved for the amount so the seller knows you’re serious and is willing to work with you to get their home sold. They’re more likely to consider you if they know you’ve already been pre-approved for the financing. It also helps to give the sellers a couple days to move after closing so they’re not as stressed because selling a house isn’t a stress-free experience either.
  • Work with a reputable realtor. Don’t wait until a weekend open house to look at a home that you really want. It could be sold by then, or the sellers could be in negotiation with other potential buyers. Tell your realtor exactly what you’re looking for in a home so that he or she can contact you if something that meets your requirements gets on the market before some else snatches it up.

Try to enjoy the home buying process even if it is overwhelming. It will be worth it in the end when you’re picking out new paint colours and decorating to make the house a home.


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