Steps to follow for first-time home buyers

Most first-time buyers don’t know exactly where to start when home shopping and may also not be aware of who is involved in the transaction.

There are many professionals that can be used in a real estate transaction.

In most cases a visit to your local mortgage professional is your first step. Our job is to educate you on the mortgage market and to figure out how much you can qualify for while not just providing a great wholesale interest rate but also a great mortgage lender. We are going to assess your current financial position, while at the same time review your credit bureau for quality and then proceed to find out how much of a home you can afford. We will discuss your budget for today’s needs while at the same time also discuss future requirements.

Once it is determined how much you can qualify for, it’s time to start researching the home market. Getting together with a local licensed realtor or new home builder is where you’ll start learning which way you’d like to go. Is a new home what you want or is an existing home with all the work already completed more your style?

The realtors’ job is to show you around the neighbourhood’s – that you’ve selected together where you see yourself living, and then also to help you negotiate the purchase. Good ones with a lot of experience will be able to help you navigate through good properties and bad, along with helping you avoid bad locations as well.

Once you have chosen a home to buy and have an offer presented, two things are going to happen, completing your financing approval, then hiring a home inspector to walk through and look in all the nooks and crannies of the house to ensure that the home is safe and inform you of any defects. The home inspection should provide you with peace of mind, but be weary that not every defect can be detected. A few months back a friend of mine bought an older home in Edmonton and a lot of renovation work had been completed. The home inspection went very well (and this after a couple of previous offers on homes fell through on the home inspection) however the sewer lines underground weren’t viewed, and only six weeks after they moved in are stuck with a $26,000 repair bill on the underground lines that connect to the City’s lines. A terrible outcome that may have been prevented had they had the lines viewed with a camera, which the plumbers found very quickly.

Home inspectors, realtors and mortgage professionals are not created equal, as Donald Trump says, “If you are going to use one, make sure you hire a good one.” Ensure you do your homework on each professional you choose as this is likely one of your biggest purchases and things can go very badly quickly without the proper professionals backing you. Finding out how much experience they have, what types of volumes they perform along with client testimonials and a professional attitude will give you the peace of mind that you are making the right decision.

Jean-Guy Turcotte is an Accredited Mortgage Professional with Dominion Lending Centres-Regional Mortgage Group in Red Deer.

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