Step 5: Finding your way home – how to actually FIND the home of your dreams!
So. Now you know how much you can afford, what type of property you think best serves your needs and roughly where you want to live.
But wait… HOW do you actually go about FINDING it?
Although your search may automatically go to the most traditional methods of searching for a new home, there are many channels that you can leverage in terms of finding the best place that truly meets your needs. Some suggestions that we came up with:
Working with a Realtor:
Many first-time homebuyers enlist the help of these key Real Estate professionals to facilitate the search, negotiate a solid price and value for the home, help troubleshoot and weigh the many variables between varying properties and also help protect and advise you against many frustrations, dangers and possible legal issues that could occur during the carrying out of your purchase transaction. It is important that if you’re buying, for all the work that they do for you, a Realtor’s commission is paid for by the vendor of the property. Based on the property criteria that you are looking for, your Realtor can compliment your efforts by setting you up on an email service that will send you notice of current and new listings in the neighborhood, price range and property style that you’re looking for. This can speed up and simplify the home-hunting process for you.
Walking up to a homebuilder’s new development or showroom:
Wearing out your own shoeleather! Most people will first view properties and plan the logistics of checking out certain areas online or in print media to learn about specific properties, but if properly planned, you could check out quite a few different projects or developments in a day or weekend.
This has very quickly become the staple of home-hunters in recent years. Not only realty brokerages but individual Realtors also set up their own personal websites to help advertise their listed properties. It is also increasingly common for properties to be sold via For Sale By Owner (FSBO, often pronounced Fizz-Bo) websites as well (www.welist.com and www.comfree.com to name a few). Add to this developer sites, condo tower advertising, personal websites, and online classified ad sites like www.kijiji.ca and there is a HUGE opportunity to save time, vehicle fuel and your shoe leather. From the comfort of your computer desk, you can compare different homes and learn about property style, availability of product, research neighborhoods, read consumer reviews about properties and developers’ track records, coming and past market trends, general pricing for similar properties and the like. This type of research will definitely help you have a more educated conversation and process with your chosen team of industry professionals, the home vendors and overall increase your comfort level as you grow your acumen on the topic.
Friends and family, word-of-mouth:
A very low-tech but effective way to compliment other processes is to simply ask friends, family and work colleagues about their opinions. Do you have a friend that lives in a cool home? Who was their builder? Maybe you have some colleagues from work that own a rental property that they need to sell? Family members moving? There are tons of low-cost, high-reward ideas that you can leverage and opinions that can prove quite valuable in the overall home-hunting process.
Now you know of some ways to research properties! Although there is a TONNE of research to be completed by your means as well as with industry professionals, nothing beats doing a walkthrough of some properties to really get a feel for the surrounding neighbourhood, size of the property, its features and perhaps even some of the things that will need to be repaired or avoided altogether.
Next article, we’ll walk through the process choosing your “team” of industry professionals to help you through the process as well as some general steps to placing an offer on a home. On the horizon, day 5 will walk through the last steps of buying your home: completing property inspections, property appraisals and signing with your lawyer.