It’s officially 2012 so let me start by wishing you a Happy New Year. In early January, many of us are planning and setting goals for everything we want to do and achieve in the year to come.
While many people think of spring as the prime time home buying season, the winter months often offer an even greater selection of inventory, and the opportunity to settle into the new home before warmer months arrive. If buying a house is on your “to do” list this year, now is also the time to begin preparing.
I remember when I bought my home. There were so many things to get in order– it was confusing to decide where to begin! So, even if you plan to buy in the spring, January is a good time to get ready. Here are some tips to help you get on track to reach your 2012 home buying resolution:
- Select a qualified and trusted real estate agent: At Coldwell Banker Horizon Realty, we have knowledgeable, trustworthy agents. Agents that understand the valley’s market and can help you find all the information and resources you need to get started. Researching on your own is important, and using free on-line tools is a great way to start, but meeting with an agent will ensure you don’t miss any important steps along the way. In fact, the next three tips were sourced from the great advice of our agents.
- Create your “must-haves” and “nice-to-haves” list: Easier said than done, right? But it’s next to impossible to find a first home with everything. You’ll need to think about your lifestyle needs and prioritize the non-negotiable home accommodations, such as a bedroom for each family member, over items you may want, but not need, such as a large master suite. Everyone’s list is different, but knowing your “must-haves” in advance will help you stay focused.
- Determine your budget: Be realistic about what is affordable. An agent can help you find comparable home prices and hone in on approximately how much the payments will be. You should also plan to get pre-approved for a mortgage. Here is a link to two very capable Mortgage Brokers that have come very highly recommended by our REALTORS® that have used their expertise in the past with very positive results. Brenda Dilley (250-861-4663) and April Dunn (250-768-6833) with Mortgage Alliance Homeline Mortgage are available to you at any time and will work getting together with you around your work and family commitments. Doing this prior to house hunting will let you know how much money you qualify for, and how much you can afford. You’ll also be able to figure out which mortgage type is best for you. You have a lot of options you may not be aware of.
- Identify the perfect “location, location, location”: Everyone has heard this phrase before, and while the surrounding neighbourhood and home itself may improve over time, the physical location will remain the same. Determine in advance how close you would like to live to work, schools or extended family. A short commute to work, proximity to family or having easy access to highways and mass transit will often be items for your “must-haves” list.
- Other costs and questions: I won’t repeat myself but I will encourage you to go back to my Blog of September 8, 2011 and review the many questions a first time buyer can have. Even though this may not be your first purchase or move – things change, regulations, costs and you can sometimes forget the small details that may have caused you grief during your previous transaction. Be sure you know what possible taxes will now apply to you on a second or third purchase that didn't on your first. Government grants for update to heating and insulation can come and go and may be available to you if you find the need to shop in a lower price point and put a little ‘elbow grease’ and equity into your home.
Welcome to home ownership ! - Something to be very proud of and excited about. Be sure you have an experienced, trusted REALTOR® by your side to maximize the knowledge and minimize the stress.