Canmore First Time Home Buyer Tips
So you’ve decided to buy your first home in Canmore – Congratulations!
This is undoubtedly one of the biggest decisions and financial processes you will undertake in your life. Despite the daunting challenge, you will definitely be happy with the outcome – as long as you come prepared and ensure you do some due diligence during the process. Let’s take a look at 8 things to keep in mind when buying your first home.
The world of Real Estate can be daunting for anyone, especially if you’re just entering it for the first time. As a buyer, a Realtor can provide you with the resources you need to be informed on the state of the market and the state of each home you’re interested. They can guide you through the homebuying process from an outside perspective, helping to keep you on track when it comes to what you really want in a home and ensure you find it.
Most importantly, a Realtor will be by your side through the whole process. Any good real estate agent will have an unwavering loyalty to their client, always looking out for your best interests, and will strive to achieve the best results for your from the transaction process. They can help you avoid pitfalls, negotiate favourable terms, and find what could be the perfect home – in places you may not have known to look.
Whether you’re buying this home on your own, or with a partner, its important to make a list of what features are key to your needs and what may not be so necessary. Its also important to discuss this with your partner, since they may have a very different idea of what is “important.” For instance, you may not be able to live without a double sink vanity – while your partner could care less about the vanity, so long as there is a two-car heated garage.
The best thing to do is to sit down and write out all the features that are “needs” (ie. Three bedrooms, two bathrooms, natural light) and all the features that might be more like “wants” (ie. Hot tub, heated garage, big patio). Once you nail down the non-negotiable things you need, you can then start to evaluate properties based on the other features they may or may not bring to the table.
Just because your dream house isn’t on the market right now, doesn’t mean it couldn’t be soon. Speak with your Realtor about being added to the PCS system. Your Realtor can enter the specifics of your property search (ie. Budget, neighbourhood, # of bedrooms) and keep you updated about any and all properties that meet your criteria. Properties coming onto the market usually end up on PCS a few days before the public MLS websites, giving you an advantage to see properties with your Realtor first.
While you likely have a rough budget in mind for your home purchase, it’s important to speak with your bank or mortgage broker to get the ball rolling as financing can take time to get in order. Once you’re pre-approved, you will not only know the limits of your financing (which may impact your home search), but you will also be ready to strike as soon as you find that perfect property. It’s good practice to have your Realtor add a condition for financing to your offer for purchase, but you will already be most of the way there if you’re already pre-approved.
Expectations can be high when you head out with your agent to view properties. While it’s good to start envisioning yourself in different properties, it’s important to understand that not every home will be suitable for your needs. Some may have everything you require, except one key element. Others may be absolutely perfect, but another buyer gets their offer in first and you miss you. Don’t be discouraged if it feels like you can’t locate the right property. Even if it takes more time than you expected, the perfect home for you will find you just as much as you’ll find it.
When you do locate that perfect property, make sure to get the advice of your Realtor when making your offer. Your real estate agent will know the exact state of the market, as well as where this property may fit within it. They can help you compare it to other properties on the market and that have recently sold, and coach you through the preparation of your offer to ensure you don’t overspend or miss an opportunity by leaving too much room for negotiation where it’s not needed.
Once your offer to purchase has been accepted (Yay!), be sure to follow through with the property inspection condition (which you would be well-advised to include in your contract). While a property inspector isn’t able to rip open the walls of the house or look over every single inch to identify all problems, they can give you important insights into the state of the home. Your property inspector will test all of the appliances and major systems of the property (electrical, plumbing, heating) to check that they are in working order. If there are any issues identified, you can have these brought to the attention of the seller and even negotiate repairs where needed.
Usually, you’ll want to ensure you have set aside about 3-4% of the home’s value for closing costs. Closing costs can include your property inspection report, lawyer fees, title insurance, property insurance, moving costs, and any bills that you may now take over that are prorated (utilities, taxes, etc.). Be sure to have money set aside for these costs, and factor it in to your overall expenditure when buying the home.
A Realtor is your absolute best resource when it comes to exploring the market, locating homes your interested in, and ensuring your best interests are looked after during the buying process and beyond. Feel free to reach out to me today if you have any questions at all when it comes to buying your first home in the Bow Valley – I’m always here to help!