Friday, May 03, 2013

Buying a house doesn’t have to be stressful

Buying a house should be an exciting time but it can get pretty stressful, according to the Bank of Montreal’s Psychology of House Hunting report released on Thursday, May 2. The biggest worry is finding problems after moving in. The next worry is that prices will drop and the house won’t be worth the original purchase price.

The house buying process can be overwhelming for first time home buyers but also for move-up buyers as well. It doesn’t have to be if you put together a team of experts who will guide you through the entire process.

It starts with a mortgage professional who will take a look at your finances, including your credit score, to qualify you for a mortgage. A lot of information about you and your credit management abilities come up during this process. Having derogatory items on your credit report doesn’t mean you can’t qualify for a mortgage. Everyone’s situation is different and a mortgage broker is familiar with most situations and can offer options.

Once armed with a pre-approval, you can confidently work with a Realtor to find the right house for you. According to the report, on average, home buyer spend five months house-hunting and visit 10 locations before deciding to buy. It’s certainly a good idea to take your time to make sure to get the house that’s right for you. Interestingly, the report found that 33% of home buyers felt rushed into making a purchase and increased to 39% for first timers. Sixty-eight per cent were prepared to settle for a home that was less than perfect. Four-fifths of prospective buyers said they know a home is right for them as soon as they step inside.

Once the Offer to Purchase is made, working with a trusted lawyer is the best way to make sure there are no surprises at closing. The bottom line is to take your time, work with professionals and do some research.

Here are the top five mistakes new homebuyers make:
  1. Not getting pre-approved. Without a pre-approval you’re actually going in to the home-buying process blind. You won’t know what you can afford or if you even qualify for a mortgage. 
  2. No Home Inspection. This is a must, especially in older homes.
  3. Not budgeting for the increased costs. Home ownership comes with additional costs that you don’t have when renting. In addition to mortgage payments, you will have property taxes, higher utility bills, home insurance and extra costs for maintenance and repairs.
  4.  Not knowing the closing costs. A lot of buyers forget about the closing costs, which includes land transfer tax, title fees, the lawyer’s fee, etc. Don’t get caught short.
  5. Forgetting about future needs. If the home you’re purchasing is a starter, then perhaps a two-bedroom will work for you. However, if you plan to start a family, you might want to look at a three bedroom. Or if you there any other possible living arrangement changes, make sure to factor those in.

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