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For Buyers


Secrets of Savvy Househunters
Experienced home buyers know that there’s more to look for than a good neighbourhood and a sturdy foundation. They shop with their hearts, their heads – and with the expert advice of a real estate professional. Before you get caught up in the excitement of searching for the perfect home, here are some savvy steps to follow.
How much can I afford?
Don’t get caught in the trap of finding a perfect home that you can’t afford. Do your homework and define your budget. Your first step: Get a pre-approved mortgage or consulting with your lender of choice. Keep your eye on the market, since any changes could impact what you can afford.
2. Scope out the neighbourhoods
Before you start looking at individual homes, figure out which neighbourhoods you would prefer to live in. How close are schools? Stores? Access to highways and public transit? These all have an impact. Also, check common areas in a community like parks and playgrounds – they can say a lot about how the residents feel about their neighbourhood, so look for tell-tale signs of neglect or proud upkeep. I can also let you know how well certain neighbourhoods are selling, which is a good indicator of where people want to live.
3. Make a list
Smart shoppers never head to the grocery store without a list and neither should you when you head out to an open house. Organize your thoughts on paper and come up with a master "house wish list" that you can refer to. Divide it up into must-haves, would-be-nice items and deal breakers. Carry this list with you so that you can compare homes on the basis of your personal wants and needs.
4. Find a home inspector
Even before you locate your ideal home, have a home inspector at the ready. Your inspector will be able to offer you some great pointers for things to look out for when you first are viewing homes. I ALWAYS recommend a home inspection, its money well spent, best to be safe than sorry. When you are buying a home, there should be no surprises come moving day. You will receive a full detailed report with pictures you can refer to at any time.
5. Take your time
Don’t try to squeeze too many viewings into a single day – it can be more confusing than convenient. Take photos and make note of the pros and cons after viewing each property so you can take a look at the next home without struggling to remember details about the one before.
6. Street sense
Be sure to ask about mutual driveways, parking, zoning bylaws and upcoming construction. You may be in a neighbourhood that is about to be receiving power line upgrades or road repairs that can wreak havoc on getting from point A to point B after you move in.
7. Get a second opinion
If you’ve found a home that really appeals to you, show it to someone else. like a good friend or relative. Let them do all the talking in case they see something you hadn’t noticed. Having someone who isn’t personally vested in the propertycan give you the objective opinion you need before you make your decision.
8. Think it through
In a hot market, it can be hard not to make an immediate offer. While that may work in most cases, be sure to step back, pull out your list and carefully gauge if this property meets all of your must-have criteria. Savvy househunters say that when you find the right property, you can feel it down to your bones. If that’s the case for you, see if you can wait a day (or a few hours) before making an offer. The only thing worse than buyer’s remorse is letting a dream home get away.
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