Buying a house is an exciting moment in your life — whether you’re a first-time buyer or a veteran of realty. But all that enthusiasm can make you leap before you look and put an offer on the first home you see.
If you’re lucky, you’ll land a home you love for the price you want. But worst case scenario? You’ll lock into a house that isn’t what you expect for a price you can’t afford.
Nobody wants to get stuck with a home they hate, so tamp the brakes and take it slow. Here are three tips to help simplify buying your house.
1. Shop Around for a Mortgage
With the Bank of Canada setting the nation’s interest rates, it’s easy to think that all banks and credit unions offer the same products at the same prices. But that’s simply not the case.
If you take the time to shop from lender to lender, you’ll see individual banks and credit unions vary drastically. Shopping around is extra work, but it will save some money. Getting one extra quote could save you $1,500. With five, you could save more than $3,000!
This is no small chunk of change, so make sure you rate shop with local and national mortgage lenders. Conditions may vary from bank to bank, city to city, and province to province — so don’t think your search for Winnipeg-based prices will work for any other city.
If you’re planning on leaving the province for Calgary, check your Calgary mortgage rate options. A local, Calgary-based credit union or bank will be able to let you know what sort of options are available there. The same goes for any Canadian city you’re thinking about moving to.
2. Hire a Real Estate Agent
Looking for a Tuxedo mansion on a St. Boniface budget sets you up for heartbreak. With unrealistic expectations, you’ll always be disappointed with what you find in your budget. This can lead to house-hunting burnout.
An experienced real estate agent has a good understanding of the city’s housing market conditions — wherever you want to move. They’ll be able to tell you if your long list of must-haves fits your budget. And if it doesn’t, they can help you find realistic alternatives in nearby neighbourhoods.
They can draw on their understanding of the market and the city at large to help you reconsider your needs and wants to find your dream house.
3. Add Cushion to Your Budget
If you already spoke with a bank or credit union, your probably know what down payment you need for your mortgage. This is an important number to factor into your budget, but it doesn’t signal the end of your number crunching.
There are a lot of other costs that come with a new home, and they’re incredibly easy to overlook. Things like repairing an air conditioner or HVAC system, insurance, and closing costs can tag on thousands of dollars that may push your budget over the edge.
Housing experts suggest adding a cushion of anywhere between $15,000 and $25,000 extra in addition to your down payment. This will help you handle any added costs or emergency maintenance without worry.
A house is one of the biggest purchases you’ll ever make. Buying one will take a lot of time, effort, and money, but that’s no reason to lose your enthusiasm for this big step in your life. This guide — and the help you get from an experienced real estate agent — can help you find a house easier.