Have you been thinking about buying property? Daydreaming about your dream home or investment property? I feel ya! Real Estate is something that we all love to talk about and dream about but what happens when you’re ready to actually buy… where do you go from here?! A lot of things look simple until you actually get around to doing it… buying property is one of them but it doesn’t have to be! Let me share with you a few tips to help this all seem a whole lot easier…

LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION

I know, I sound like some Realtor from a 1980’s commercial… but this is a fact. Location is truly the most important thing and you will save yourself a whole lot of energy, confusion and heartache if, before you start to take a serious search to purchase property, you’ve narrowed it down to where you want your property to be. And no, I don’t mean… “downtown”… “west end”… “I don’t know… like a 20 minute drive from work?”… I mean neighbourhoods. I always recommend to my buyers that, if they don’t already know the neighbourhood they’d like to be in, that they start driving around the city to narrow it down. Once you know the neighbourhood you want your property to be in, it creates a sense of peace. If you don’t have that clarity then you will let any property that you like the look of take you away and then you will be going all across the city following them even though it won’t ever make sense because it isn’t actually the right location for you. 

Pro Tip: If you want to get even more ahead of the game, start hitting up Open Houses in the neighbourhood that you like. This allows you to narrow things down even more by getting to know the style of home you want. 

Pro PRO Tip: Ask your Realtor for a bunch of their cards that way you can give that to the Realtor hosting the Open House and they will contact your Realtor to follow up, not you.

REALTOR, REALTOR, REALTOR 

For those of you who’ve read my last Blog, you will know that when you buy property the commission is paid to your Realtor via the Seller. Therefore you have access to the expertise of a Realtor, free of charge… they also do all the nasty paperwork, which FYI.. they’re worth using for that reason alone. BUT, we’re talking about preparing to buy… so why is a Realtor worth talking to when you’re just preparing and not actively looking? Because they know the right steps to take prior to buying to make it a much smoother process AND can connect you with the right people to assist in this. The most important being a Mortgage Broker, which I will go into further detail in the next paragraph. At this point, you won’t be taking up too much of your Realtor’s time but you can also start to inquire about properties you’re interested in… and have questions like: How much did this house sell for? We like this house, but does it make sense given its location on this street? If we were to buy this house, how much money do you think we’d have to put into it to bring it up to modern standards? They’re expertise will be incredibly helpful in answering these questions. 

Pro Tip: When choosing your Realtor, ask them which neighbourhoods in the city they do the most transactions in? Having a Realtor that knows your prime location very well, and is actively working in, is in your best interest.

MONEY, MONEY, MONEY, MONEEEEEEEYY, MONEEEEEYYYY

You know that song! I know… a lot of people really don’t like to chat about money but… it’s important, so I’m going to talk about it! It’s critical that when you go to purchase a property that you ensure that you know what you can afford. This allows you to manage your expectations on the property itself. Knowing what you can afford, allows you to steer clear of thinking that you can afford a house that looks one way, when it’s going to look another. It also allows you to not let a certain property that you look at, and fall in love with, push you into buying something that isn’t within your means. You don’t want to be “house poor” as they say… what’s the point of owning a house when you can’t actually do anything else other than just well, sit in it… So, going back to Mortgage Brokers… find a good one! If you get along with your Realtor, they will connect you with someone at their level of professionalism. Reach out to them ASAP and the amount of knowledge they can give you about what you can do with the money you’ve saved, the money you make and your future plans, is incredible. AND… similar to your Realtor, they are free of charge! Whatever bank you decide to do your mortgage with will pay commission to your broker. They will also find you the all time low interest rate at the time you’re looking AND complete a pre-approval with the bank you choose. HEYO!

Pro Tip: 20% down is King and our best case scenario… but CMHC (Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation) has definitely widened their requirements allowing for more people to do 5% down without paying as much interest as it once was. Your awesome Mortgage Broker can walk you through all of those details. 

If you follow these three tips: 

  1. Start connecting with your Realtor.
  2. Establish what neighbourhood in your City you actually want to live in. 
  3. Connect with your Mortgage Broker and have your pre-approval solidified. 

Next you will be ready to move onto the next part of your journey, and the most fun… SEARCHING FOR YOUR DREAM PROPERTY!

Stay tuned and I will soon share tips on navigating the emotional, exciting, thrilling, sometimes stressful journey that is finding that property you want to make an offer on.

For now, you know where you can find me for any questions!

Alex Harden
Managing Partner, Real Estate