15 steps to buying your first home

Are you thinking about buying your first home?  Here are 15 steps to guide you through the process.

  1. The down payment. Right now, start saving towards a down payment, even if you can only afford to put $100 a week into an account. Here’s a list of creative ways to save your down payment as quickly as possible.
  2. Are you ready to buy? For some potential home buyers renting may make more sense than owning.
  3. Is real estate a good investment? Whether you’re buying a small condominium on Vancouver’s Eastside, a  townhome in Richmond or a detached home with a large yard in Coquitlam, the data suggests that yes, real estate is still a good investment
  4. Are you planning to buy alone? This is a growing option. In Canada 25% of all home buyers are single women and 10% are single men.
  5. What can you afford? Sit down and determine this amount. Look at your salary, income and savings.  Then look at your expenses. Don’t forget to include your utilities, credit cards, phone and streaming costs. This will give you a debt-to-income ratio.  Use a CMHC calculator to get a good estimate.
  6. Finding grants and rebates. Get what’s coming to you! Here are 25 Grants and Rebates. For example, did you know you can use up to $25,000 of your RRSPs or $50,000 if you are buying with a spouse? Did you know you can get a rebate on the Property Transfer Tax?
  7. Shopping around for a mortgage. You need to be pre-approved before you start home hunting. Learn the terms and then read about what you need to qualify for a loan of a lifetime so you’ll know what to expect when you visit your financial institution. If you’re self-employed you’ll need to meet additional requirements and it’s harder to qualify. Here’s how to get the best possible rate. If you plan to buy a home priced at more than $500,000, there are new mortgage rules which require a 20% or $100,000 down payment. Don’t forget to ask about a portable mortgage.
  8. Your REALTOR®. Now is also the time to look for a REALTOR®. You’ll likely want to interview two or three to find the best fit for you. Royal Pacific Realty Group Realtors® will work hard on your behalf.
  9. Choosing a neighbourhood. When buying a home, the location is just as important as the property in establishing long-term value. The first step in home-hunting should be narrowing your search to a specific neighbourhood. Here’s how – including which questions you need to be asking yourself.
  10. Buying a new or old home. Here is information to help you decide whether a resale or new home is best for you. If you decide on a new home, make sure you understand new home warranty insurance. If you’re considering an older home, make sure you understand the ramifications of buying a heritage home.  While you’re at it, check the zoning bylaws for the neighbourhood to determine if you can build a secondary suite or a laneway home.
  11. Finding out the truth about a property. Read the Property Disclosure Statement, look at the property title and ask questions, for example, about whether there could be an underground fuel storage tank or asbestos.
  12. Finding a Strata. If you’re buying a strata, your Royal Pacific Realty Group Realtor® will help you by reviewing strata minutes, the depreciation report, the maintenance program, the disclosure statement, pet bylaws and more to ensure you buy a safe and solid strata.
  13. Your checklist. Royal Pacific Realty Group will also recommend you carry a checklist when home hunting. Take photos and videos so you remember which homes you have seen.
  14. Offers and counter offers. Once you find a home you want, your Royal Pacific Realtor will prepare an Offer to Purchase and present your offer.  There may be some back and forth with counter offers.
  15. Closing costs. Make sure you budget for closing costs – which can add up.

 Congratulations on buying a home!