Whether you are buying your first home or your tenth home, the process can create many emotions and feelings. One of the many ways to ensure the process is not overwhelming is to be educated and properly prepared for the process.
There is no doubt that you will have many questions throughout the buying process and even an experienced home buyer can forget exactly how the process works and what the proper step are to ensure a smooth transaction. When buying a home, one of the most important things to understand is that no matter what “no question is a dumb question!” If you are unsure of something, it’s always best to ask a trusted professional.
Questions to ask before starting the home buying process:
Should I talk to a financial institution or mortgage broker before I start looking at homes?
YES! There are a bunch of reasons to why you should talk to a financial institution or mortgage broker and get pre-approved before looking at homes. Talking with a financial institution before looking at homes can help you understand exactly what you can afford. The new rules and stress test imposed onto consumers has made a drastic change to affordability Canada wide. There is no reason to look at homes that are outside of your affordability and feel crushed when you can’t buy it.
If you’re a first time home buyer, talking with a financial institution or mortgage broker before looking at homes is strongly suggested as there are option and grants for first time home buyers available to you.
Another very important reason to talk to a financial institution or mortgage broker before looking at homes is so you understand exactly what costs are associated with buying a home. There are many home buyers who don’t understand the difference between a down-payment, conveyance, property transfer taxes, title transfer and taxes, which can be thoroughly explained by a mortgage specialist. They are able to give you advice on the type of financing you should be looking to obtain and the rates and terms that you can get.
I own a home, should I buy another before selling my current home?
There is really not a right or wrong answer to this question. There are pros and cons to buying a home before selling your current one and the same can be said about selling your current home before buying another.
The biggest benefit to buying a home before selling yours is knowing you have somewhere to live if your home sells quickly. This can reduce the stress and pressure of having to find a home once your current one sells. This can also cause a bit of disappointment & heartbreak if you cannot sell your home before you take possession of the new one. If you are unable to purchase a new home without having to sell your current home, your purchase offer is going to be contingent upon sale and transfer of title of your current home. If your current home does not sell in a timely manner, this can lead to you getting “bumped” by a non-contingent buyer and you losing out on the home you’re looking to purchase, which can be devastating.
The time it takes to sell your current home is unpredictable. There is no crystal ball that exists that can tell you exactly how many days it will take. Selling your current home before buying a new home will put you in an ideal position to negotiate on the new home you’re purchasing due to the fact you are purchasing without the sale being contingent on your current home.
One risk of selling your current home without buying a new home first is the chance of not being able to have a place to live.
Questions Asked While “House Hunting”
What is a foreclosure?
A foreclosure is a property that is owned by a lender. If you’re considering the purchase of a foreclosure, it’s important to understand that most are sold “as-is” meaning there may be undisclosed damages or “issues” with the home. The foreclosure process can take time and usually requires a larger down payment but can be an option to look into. Foreclosures, if not purchased by an owner occupant, are often purchased by investors, fixed up, “flipped,” and sold to an owner occupant.
What are the average utility bills?
When buying a home, it’s important to know the additional costs that will accompany your monthly mortgage payments. Utilities are just one of the additional costs to consider when buying a home. Utility bills can be obtained from the home owner and in some cases, from the local utility company, who can provide averages over the past 12 months. Keep in mind, everyone prefers to have their home temperature different, so the average bill could be different if you were to purchase the home.
How old is the _?
When looking at homes, you may want to know the ages of specific items in a home. The most popular items in a home that you may want to know about are the major mechanical items, such as the roof, furnace, water heater, and air conditioning (if applicable). An experienced Realtor should be able to find the dates of a furnace, water heater, and air conditioning unit by looking at the serial numbers. The roof age is often known by the home owner. If not, the age usually can be approximately determined by looking at the roof characteristics, such as the sagging areas and the way the shingles are laying.
Questions Asked While Placing A Purchase Offer
How much should I offer the sellers?
When buying a home, you are the only one who can determine how much you should offer a seller. Certainly it’s suggested you ask for your Realtors advice and thoughts, but ultimately you are the only person who can determine how much you should offer. This offer will also be based on your pre-approval from your mortgage specialist.
How long does it take to respond to my offer?
There is not a standard answer to this question. A purchase offer will have an accepted offer time clause. This time clause is set by you and can vary from a few hours to 3 or 4 days. There are many circumstances that can affect the length of this clause and your Realtor should know how long of a span of time to give to your offer. If you’re looking to purchase a home that is newly listed and the possibility of multiple offers exists, a shorter time is recommended. If the home you’re looking to purchase has been on the market for 3 months and the seller is located out of town, a 2 day time span may be necessary and/or recommended.
What if my offer is rejected?
When an offer to purchase is submitted to the seller there are generally four possible responses. The first is an accepted offer, the second is a counter offer, the third is a rejected offer, and the final is an offer that is not responded to. If your offer is rejected this means the seller says no and does not counter. If your offer is countered, they are negotiating the terms and or price you have offered. It is not very common an offer is rejected or not responded to, unless a seller is offended by a low offer.
Do I have the option to have any inspections?
When buying a home, you have the option to perform several types of inspections. The purchase offer you write can be contingent upon a satisfactory home inspection, inspection of septic and/or well, In most cases, it’s recommended that when buying a home, you at the bare minimum have a home inspection. There are home inspection findings that are more common than others, however, no two homes are the same so it’s a great idea to get the home inspected.
Questions Asked After A Purchase Offer Is Accepted
What’s the next step?
Congratulations! Your offer was accepted, now what? Between contract acceptance and the closing date, there are many things that need to be completed. After an offer is accepted, generally any inspections will be completed. After the inspections, you complete a formal mortgage application and last but not least, the title and any miscellaneous paperwork is completed. When buying a home, finding the perfect home is only one part of actually becoming a homeowner. Throughout the mortgage process, you should expect the bank to require documentation, letters, and other items from you to satisfy the bank conditions, so don’t be upset or surprised when this happens.
You will need to meet with your notary or lawyer to sign all of the paperwork as well. Once everything is signed and title is transferred to you, you are now the homeowner!