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8 questions to ask before buying a home

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  1. Why am I buying a home?

Obviously you want – and need – to have somewhere to live. Your home is your castle, your safety, where the heart is, and all that. But why are you buying as opposed to renting? Areyou buying alone or going into it with a partner, family member, or friend? There isn’t a right answer, although it should go without saying that buying a home is a much longer financial commitment than renting — both to the space as well as to the people involved. You’re going to have to jump through a lot of hoops in order to secure a mortgage, so if you’re going to have to stretch yourself to be able to afford it, you may want to think twice. It’s also a big commitment mentally, so if you really don’t think you’re up for taking care of a home for years (and years) to come, then maybe you want to wait – or forego buying a home altogether. Don’t buy a home because it’s the Thing to Do, or because your peers are buying a home.

 

  1. How’s my credit?
Speaking of jumping through hoops, if your credit rating is poor, you’re going to have a hard time not only getting a mortgage, but getting a *good* mortgage. Which means, you’re going to pay more for your mortgage by way of higher interest rates and stricter rules when it comes to prepayment penalties. It’s not impossible to get a mortgage, and if you have a good reason to get a home, then there are ways that you can get a mortgage if you have poor credit. But your credit does make a difference as to the outcome of your mortgage process, so you’ll want to clean it up before you want to get a mortgage.

 

  1. How do I choose a lender?
If you think that the only options you have out there for mortgage lenders are the mainstream banks, then you’re in for a big surprise. There are plenty of lenders out there who only deal with mortgages and mortgage-related business, and those lenders are called monoline lenders. They typically have some advantages to the banks, such as lower interest rates and flexibility when it comes to stated income requirements. Monoline lenders are still in what’s called the “A” space, which means that they deal with well-qualified candidates, just like the banks. Read more about different types of lenders, as well as private lending options.

 

  1. What kind of loan do I need?
Every mortgage is not created equal. Yes, you have a principal and a balance and you make payments each month (or week, or however you set it up). But apart from that, there are many different loans out there to meet the needs of borrowers in a number of different situations. There are also loans geared toward investors, self-employed borrowers, and a mortgage broker can help you figure out which one is right for you.

 

  1. How do I find a realtor or any home professionals?
Realtors love to advertise. You probably have seen fliers and billboards for real estate agents, ads in local magazines and newspapers that. I’m sure you know at least one or two. But just because you know a real estate agent doesn’t mean that they’re the right realtor for you. You need a real estate agent who will fight for you, but not push you into doing anything that makes you uncomfortable. We have more tips on finding a realtor here.

 

  1. What home buying mistakes do I avoid?

Hindsight, as they say, is always 20/20. Because it’s just a big purchase, many new homeowners have that moment of buyer’s remorse soon after closing the deal and receiving keys to the property. The most important home buying mistake to avoid is buying a home that you can’t afford. Others include buying in the wrong area and looking for homes in all available outlets, including social media. When in doubt, ask your realtor.

 

  1. How do I negotiate an offer to purchase?

Finding a home isn’t the last step. Depending on the housing market where you’re buying, you may be up against tactics such as bidding wars, bully offers, or specific offer dates. Even if your market isn’t particularly competitive, negotiations between buyer and seller can turn frustrating at best, and nasty at its worst, causing you to lose your desired home. Rely on your real estate agent. Negotiating is indeed an art; you may as well leave it to the professionals.

 

  1. What do I need to make sure happens when I close the deal?
Do you have your money ready? All of it? Has all of the paperwork been verified? Is all of the wording correct? Did you remember to get home insurance? Your real estate lawyer is the ringmaster when it gets to this stage. He/she should be able to walk you through all of the required documents and make sure that nothing falls through the cracks. As for dealing with the movers, well, that’s all on you.

Are you looking to invest in property? If you like, we can get one of our mortgage experts to tell you exactly how much you can afford to borrow, which is the best mortgage for you or how much they could save you right now if you have an existing mortgage. Click here to get help choosing the best mortgage rate


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‘Don’t give up’: Ottawa Valley realtors share statistics, tips for homebuyers in ‘extreme’ sellers market

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The real estate market in the Ottawa Valley can be summed up this way: people from far and wide are in a buying frenzy, but there’s hardly anything to buy at the “store,” and the limited inventory is overpriced.

This “stampede” — as one realtor described it — will affect rural towns as residents grapple with finding affordable housing and agonize over their inability to purchase homes in their price range.

“We are seeing a lack of inventory in all price ranges,” said Laura Keller, a real estate agent from Carleton Place. HomeYou’ve been selected.Only $1.49/week for your first 4 months.Special offer just for you. Unlimited access.

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10 Tips For First-Time Home Buyers

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Buying a home for the first time is exciting and a commitment to the future. It’s often challenging, too, and the process requires a lot of steps, many of which can be tricky to navigate as a first-time home buyer.

What are some things you should keep in mind as a first-time home buyer?

First-Time Home Buyer Tips

Here are 10 tips to keep in mind as you begin your journey toward homeownership.

1. Have Your Finances in Order

It’s wise to begin saving as early as possible once you’ve made the decision to purchase a house. You’ll need to consider the down payment, closing costs (which often range from 2% to 5% of the down payment), as well as move-in expenses.

You also need to understand the other costs of homeownership, such as mortgage insurance. property taxes, utilities, homeowner’s insurance, and more.

2. How Much Can You Afford?

Knowing how much you can realistically afford in a home is another important financial consideration. Look for the home of your dreams that fits your budget.

One way to avoid future financial stress is to set a price range for your home that fits your budget, and then staying within that range. Going through the preapproval process will help you understand what price range is realistic for your budget.

3. Make Sure Your Credit is Good

Another thing to keep in mind as a first-time home buyer is your credit score because it determines whether you qualify for a mortgage and affects the interest rate that lenders offer. 

You can check your credit score from the three credit bureaus – Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion.

This is another good reason for getting preapproved before you start your search. Learn more about the preapproval process and your credit score.

4. Choose The Right Real Estate Agent

A good real estate agent guides you through the process every step of the way. He or she will help you find a home that fits your needs, help you through the financial processes, and help ease any first-time buyer anxiety you may have.

Interview several agents and request references.

5. Research Mortgage Options

A variety of mortgages are available, including conventional mortgages – which are guaranteed by the government – FHA loans, USDA loans, and VA loans (for veterans).

You’ll also have options regarding the mortgage term. A 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is popular among many homebuyers and has an interest rate that doesn’t change over the course of the loan. A 15-year loan usually has a lower interest rate but monthly payments are larger.

6. Talk to Multiple Lenders

It’s worth your time to talk to several lenders and banks before you accept a mortgage offer. The more you shop around, the better deal you’re liable to get – and it may save you thousands of dollars.

7. Get Preapproved First

Getting a mortgage preapproval (in the form of a letter) before you begin hunting for homes is something else to put on your checklist. A lender’s preapproval letter states exactly how much loan money you can get.

Learn more about the preapproval process and how preapproval provides you with a significant competitive advantage in our article How Preapproval Gives You Home Buying Power.

8. Pick the Right House and Neighborhood

Make sure to weigh the pros and cons of the different types of homes based on your budget, lifestyle, etc. Would a condominium or townhome fit your needs better than a house? What type of neighborhood appeals to you?

9. List Your Needs and Must-Haves

The home you purchase should have as many of the features you prefer as possible. List your needs in order of priority; some things may be non-negotiable to you personally.

10. Hire an Inspector

Hiring an inspector is another crucial step in the home buying process. An inspector will tell you about existing or potential problems with the home, and also what’s in good order. You can learn more about home inspections and how to find a home inspector through the American Society of Home Inspectors website.

Buying a home for the first time is a challenge, but it’s one you can handle with the right planning and preparation.

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A Simplified Guide for Toronto First-Time Home Buyers

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Toronto is the largest city in Canada, the fourth largest city in North America, which makes it an exciting place to live in.

But as with other major cities, finding the perfect place to move to can get tricky. If you’re planning on buying a home for the first time in this city, it is indeed a big decision and there are things you should know in advance.

Don’t worry, this guide will help explain the basics of what you as a buyer should know when you decide to buy a home. It will make you feel like a true expert during the buying process.

Decide what type of home you are looking for

There is no right answer to what makes a good home. It all depends on your preferences and needs as the resident. It is, therefore, a good idea to determine as early as possible which features of a home are important to you. If you are buying a home and moving in with someone, it can be a good idea for both of you to make a list and compare.

Toronto is a city that offers different styles of living accommodations and its neighborhoods are quite versatile and diverse, same as the people living there who come from all parts of the world.

The most common forms of housing and real estate opportunities in this city include bungalows, two-storey houses, split-level homes, and the very popular Toronto condos. Due to the high property values, the city boasts of construction of many condominiums as they are a more cost-efficient choice and provide a plethora of benefits.

When you decide on the type of home you want to buy, it is good to do some research and learn the biggest differences between them.

What to think of when choosing homes in Toronto

There are certain things you need to consider when choosing your home in this city. 

Being close to the things you need to visit every day makes life a lot easier. Pay attention to the proximity to shops, preschools, schools, and your job. In addition, access to good public transportation is crucial. Being able to move around the city easily and the opportunity to commute is important to many.

Know that having a balcony can significantly increase the value of your home and improve your well-being. Being able to move easily in the area is something that many people underestimate, but can be very convenient, and this is why you should see if there are good cycles and walking paths. 

And finally, make sure that the house is well designed which is a quality that does not disappear with the age of the house or with renovations. 

Set your budget

Before you start the search for your new home, you must know how expensive of a home you can buy. It is preferable to know in what price range to look for. The budget is usually decided based on your mortgage and how large are the monthly costs you can handle.

A mortgage is always about a balance between risk and income for the bank. The higher the risk for the bank to lend to a particular home, the more expensive the mortgage will be. When it comes to the bank’s reasoning when applying for a loan, it is in principle always a question of whether you as a borrower will be able to repay the mortgage.

The bank also takes into account your financial history. If you are a person who has managed your finances well, the chance increases that you will get your mortgage approved. If, on the other hand, you have a bad reputation with banks, it is weighed in as an aggravating circumstance.

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