Are you ready to buy your very own home? Here are 13 hacks for first time home buyers to help land the place of your dreams.
In life, your home is one of the biggest investments you’ll make. It’s no wonder that house hunting as a first time home buyer can be both overwhelming and exciting at the same time.
This guide for new home buyers will have all your questions answered. From setting a budget to making your wish list, here are 13 hacks every first time home buyer should know.
1. Get Your Finances in Order Early
The first lesson in buying a house 101 is to start tracking your finances. You’ll want to know where you stand in terms of monthly expenses, savings, and income.
Make a list of everything you have coming in and coming out. The sooner you know what you’re spending money on, the better visibility you’ll have. This worksheet can help you gauge how much you need to budget for moving and closing.
2. Start Saving for Your Down Payment
When you know you intend to buy a home, the sooner you can start saving for a down payment the better. Asses how much you have already, and where you can cut to save more if needed.
Make saving automatic whenever possible. On the first of the month, for example, set an auto transfer of money from your checking account to your savings account. This way the money gets saved automatically and you won’t be tempted to spend it.
Remember that if you put less than 20% down, you’ll need to pay for CMHC insurance each month. This will protect your lender in case of default. If possible, aim for a down payment of 20% or more to avoid paying this fee.
3. Make Your Wish-List
As you start home shopping, it may be helpful to make your wish list. Your wish list can include things like how many bedrooms you’d like and the number of bathrooms.
You should also keep in mind that while you may not get everything on your list, there are always things you can change. Write down your deal breakers and things you can live with so you can share this information with your realtor.
4. Set Your Budget
One of the most important things to arm yourself with when looking at your first home is your budget. Your budget is how much home you can comfortably afford. Look at your finances, your down payment, as well as your monthly income.
While you may be able to afford a $600,000 home, maybe a $500,000 home will suit your lifestyle better. Keep your plans, hobbies, and spending habits in mind. You want to keep your housing budget to 30% of your overall income to avoid being overstretched.
5. Get in Touch With a Haliburton Area Pro
Once you have an idea of your finances and wish list, it’s time to start working with a local professional. Your Haliburton real estate expert can help you narrow down areas, schools, and amenities that are important to you.
Your realtor can also help you figure out how to get the most from your budget. Maybe you’d like new construction, or you’d prefer a fixer-upper. Whatever you’re leaning towards, your real estate agent can help you get the best home for you and your family.
6. Check Your Credit
Before you get too far into the home buying process, you’ll want to know your credit score. Once you know where you stand, you can start making improvements if needed. Your credit score will determine how much financing you’re approved for as well as your interest rate.
7. Get Pre-Approved
When you’re ready to get financing, you’ll want to get a pre-approval letter. Your pre-approval letter lets sellers know you’re a serious buyer. This is the estimated mortgage amount you qualify for.
You can use your pre-approval letter as a starting off point when shopping for homes. This also gives you a jump on the mortgage process.
8. Research Movers
As you’re starting to look at homes, you can start to research movers. Looking at movers will give you a chance to budget for the big day. You can estimate what size truck you’ll need and how many movers.
9. Start Packing and Purging
Now is a great time to start packing. You can start purging items you don’t need as well. Make separate piles of things you’d like to donate, give to someone else, or toss out. Getting rid of things, you’re not using anymore will save you needless packing and unpacking.
10. Visit Neighborhoods
During your home hunt, you’ll want to start working with your realtor to narrow down your search areas. Do you want a waterfront property or access to Haliburton lakes? Maybe you are looking near Minden or for a country cottage.
Wherever you’re thinking, talk with your realtor about where you’re most interested and start there. You can even walk around different areas on the weekends to get a feel for them.
11. Start Touring Homes
The most fun part of the whole home buying process is touring homes. This is where you get a sense of what you can afford.
While some people only need to tour a few houses others may take longer to find their dream home. Know that every situation is different and there will always be a house out there for you.
12. Look Past the Little Things
When you’re touring homes, keep in mind that sometimes you have to look past the little things. Remember that ugly furniture or paint colors don’t stay with the house. You can change things after you move in to make it your own.
13. Enjoy and Embrace Being New Home Buyers
One thing to keep in mind as you shop for a home is to take some time and enjoy the process. While there can be stressful moments, more often than not, you’ll find the right home for you. Relax, and take your time.
Things to Look for When Buying a House
Being new home buyers comes with a lot of important decisions. From how many bedrooms you need to whether you want a waterfront property, the decisions are almost endless.
This is where making your wish list and working with the right real estate agent can make all the difference. If you’re ready to get your Haliburton area home search started, fill out the contact form here to get in touch with a local real estate expert.