8 Common Q & A from First Time Home Buyers

04.14.20 09:13 PM Comment(s) By Brad Plummer

The questions that a first-time home buyer should ask and understand before starting the process are actually one of the most important parts of the process. No question is too dumb and all questions should be asked as they come up. Here are eight common questions with answers:

1) Am I ready to buy a home?

If you've had a stable job for a couple of years and you like the area you live in, and do not think you will want to move for at least five years, then purchasing a home might be a good idea. You also need to be ready for the additional responsibilities such as yard care, fixing broken appliances, and other maintenance needs. Homes will not keep their value if these aren't kept up.

2) What's my first step to buy a home?

When you think you are ready to buy a house, it's important to consider what your credit rating is like, and what your debt to income ratio is. If you have a lot of debt, it's time to get it paid down. You want a couple of years of one-time payments, with no late payments for at least two years.

3) What's better or worse about buying over renting?

When you rent, your entire payment is just gone. But when you purchase you are building equity in your home and you will get either more than you have paid into the house back, or you'll get something back when you sell the house. When you rent, you will get nothing but perhaps your deposit back, if you're lucky. But, as a house owner you will have the responsibility of upkeep so if you are alone or travel a lot, you'll need to consider the added expense of someone to maintain your home.

4) How do I find a mortgage broker?

The best way to find a mortgage broker is to ask your friends. But, if you plan to buy new construction go to the sample house, and ask for a list of preapproved mortgage brokers. In fact, even if you have no intention of building or buying new construction, those lenders are usually really good or they would not be preapproved.

5) How do I find a real estate agent?
The best way to find a real estate agent is to ask your friends, again, and find someone who has been around for a while in your community. You want someone who really knows the inventory and understands what you want. Usually, you'll enter into contract with the realtor, and you cannot use anyone else until you find a home except under extreme circumstances. 

6) How can I research communities I'd like to live in?

There are wonderful ways to research communities now. Use Realtor.ca, or Zillow.com to help you find houses in the area you want to live, and links provided will show you facts and stats about that area. You can also drive around in the area to see how it feels to you.

7) What should I pay particular attention to during walkthroughs?

Other than the items you want on your wish list, look for rotted wood around windows, black stuff on the roof (usually mold), the size of the bedrooms, kitchen, and yard. Ask yourself if you like floor plan. What needs to be replaced? Carpet, appliances, anything else? Make a note of these things because if you like the house those can be points of negotiation.

8) What's the best way to keep track of the houses I look at?
Before you start looking, create a list or check sheet to take with you listing all the things you would like in the house. Each checklist should also list the address. Your realtor should have a copy of that as well before he or she even finds places for you to view. As you go through, take a picture of the address of the house, then the house, and later attach it to the check list so that you can easily go back to see what you liked and did not like about the house.

Finding the right home is an emotional, stressful while exciting process. Once it's over and done you'll be glad you did your due diligence. Do not worry if those around you try to talk you into anything, or talk you out of anything. It's going to be your house and you have to be happy with it, not them.

Brad Plummer