If you’re thinking about buying a home, you’ve probably received your share of advice from family and friends. Add to that the constant stream of TV shows, news segments, and social media posts that over-simplify the home buying process for easy entertainment.
With so much information to sift through, it can be tough to distinguish fact from fiction. That’s why we’re revealing the truth behind some of the most common home buyer myths and misconceptions.
Buying a home is a big decision, but it doesn’t have to be a scary one. If you arm yourself with knowledge and a qualified team of support professionals, you’ll be well equipped to make the right choices for your family and financial future.
Myth #1: You need a 20% down payment.
Plenty of buyers are purchasing homes with down payments that are much less than 20% of the total cost of the property. Today, you can buy a home with as little as 3-5% down.
There are multiple programs out there that allow you to have a lower down payment, and a lender or mortgage broker can talk you through which option is the best for you. Since you’re putting less money down, you’re a riskier borrower to your lender than people who put down a full 20%. Because of this, you will most likely need to pay mortgage insurance as part of your monthly payment.
Myth #2: Real estate agents are expensive.
Your agent is with you every step of the way throughout your home buying journey, and he or she spends countless hours working on your behalf. It sounds like having an agent is expensive, right? Well, not for you. Buyers usually don’t pay a real estate agent’s commission. Your agent’s fee is paid for at closing by the seller of the home you’re buying.1 The seller knows to factor this cost into the property’s total purchase price.
Myth #3: Don’t call a real estate agent until you’re ready to buy.
The earlier you bring in an agent to help with the purchasing process, the better. Even if you’re in the very early stages of casually browsing Zillow, a real estate professional can be a huge help.
They can create a search for you in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), so you get notifications for every house that meets your criteria as soon as it hits the market. The MLS is typically more up-to-date than popular home search sites like Zillow and Trulia. Setting up a search a few months before you’re considering buying gives you a good idea of what’s out there in your town that’s in your budget. Reviewing the MLS and speaking with an agent as soon as possible can help you set realistic expectations for when you actually start the house hunting process.
Myth #4: Fixer-uppers are more budget friendly.
We’ve all watched the shows on HGTV that encourage people to go after fixer-uppers because they’re more affordable and allow buyers to eventually renovate the home to include everything on their wishlist. But, this isn’t always the case.
Sometimes, homes that need a lot of work also require a lot of money. Big renovations, like add-ons, a total kitchen remodel, or installing a pool, take a lot longer than it looks on TV. If you’re really interested in a fixer-upper, ask your agent to show you a mix of newer homes and older homes. If you fall in love with an older home that needs a lot of work, get some quotes from contractors before you buy so you know the real cost of the renovations and see if you can work them into your budget.
Myth #5: Your only upfront cost is your down payment.
Your down payment is big, but it isn’t the only money you’ll spend during the home buying process. At closing, you’ll pay your down payment, but you’ll also bring closing costs to the table. Closing costs are typically anywhere from 2-4% of the total purchase price of the home.2 This amount includes the cost for items like homeowners insurance, title fees, and more.
You’ll also need to pay for an inspection before closing, which usually costs a few hundred dollars. This price will be higher or lower based on the size of your new property. Your lender will also require an appraisal. An appraiser will come in and inspect the home to determine how much it’s worth. Depending on your lender, you may have to pay this when the appraisal is conducted or it might be rolled into your closing costs.
Myth #6: You need a high credit score to buy a house.
You don’t need perfect credit to buy the perfect home. There are loans out there that buyers with lower credit scores can qualify for. These are good options for people who have had credit issues in the past, but some of them come with additional fees you will need to pay. Speak to a few local lenders or mortgage brokers to talk through which options might be best for you.
Myth #7: You can’t qualify for a mortgage if you’re still paying off student loans.
While some buyers may feel more comfortable paying off their existing debts before taking the leap into homeownership, it’s not a requirement. When you’re applying for a mortgage, the lender takes a close look at your debt-to-income ratio.3 If you want to calculate this on your own, add up all of your monthly debt payments and divide those by your monthly income. When you’re lender does this, they’re trying to make sure that you will be able to afford your monthly mortgage payments along with your other existing payments. If your income is high enough to allow you to make all of these payments each month, having a student loan will most likely not stop you from getting a mortgage.
Myth #8: You should base your budget on what your lender approves.
How much house you qualify for and how much you can afford are two totally different numbers. When you prequalify for a mortgage, your lender will look at your income, debt, assets, credit score, and financial history to determine how much money you might qualify for.4 For some people, this number might be much higher than you thought because lenders tend to approve for the highest amount they think you can afford. But that doesn’t mean that’s how much you should borrow.
Instead, figure out how much house you can actually afford. An online mortgage calculator can be a good first step in determining this number. We recommend thinking about what you want your monthly payment to be as a starting point. And remember to include your principal, interest, taxes, and, insurance. You should also think about ownership expenses that aren’t part of your monthly payment, like HOA dues and maintenance.
Myth #9: It’s all about location.
You’ve heard the phrase. Location, location, location is basically the real estate industry’s motto, but we’ll let you in on a little known secret: It’s not always true. Yes, location is great to consider when it comes to school districts and commute times, but you also need to think about how the home will function for you and/or your family’s lifestyle. If a family of five is choosing between a one bedroom condo in the bustling city center and a 4-bedroom home out in the suburbs, the latter is probably the best, most functional choice for them. Also, by buying in a less sought after neighborhood, your property taxes will most likely be much lower!
Obviously, you might still want to choose an area with great resale potential, and this is something that your agent can speak to you about. They’re an expert in your city and are constantly monitoring buying and selling trends.
Myth #10: If you look hard enough, you’ll find a home that checks every box on your wishlist.
You’ve seen that famous house hunting show. And while we have our suspicions about how real it is, the one thing they get right is that almost every buyer needs to compromise on something. Yes, the perfect house that meets every item on your wishlist is probably out there, but it’s also probably double or triple your budget.
A long wishlist can be a great starting point for figuring out what you want and don’t want, but we recommend narrowing that wishlist down to the top five things that are important to you in order of priority. We also recommend noting on your wishlist what your absolute deal breakers are, like “must have a yard for our dog,” and noting what you can live without, like “heated bathroom floors.”
This is a great list to discuss when you first start talking to an agent. A good real estate agent will be able to look at your list and find properties that might work for you. By coming to that first meeting with realistic expectations and knowledge about home buying rather than a bunch of myths heard here and there, you’ll be able to start the process off on the right foot and be in your new house in no time.
WE’RE HERE TO HELP
Whether you’re a first-time buyer or a seasoned homeowner, there’s no reason to go through the home buying process without an advocate on your side. We’re here to answer your questions and do the hard work for you, so you can spend your time dreaming about your new home. Call us today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.
Wallace Lake Lots
Very quiet, usually only paddle boats and canoes. Very private
Fish: Bass, trout and gaspereau.
Lake Depth can reach 35-40 feet; average is 15 ft.
Each lot has 160-200 ft of lake frontage and 450-600 ft deep.
One or two plateaus allow for building on higher ground.
Large lot located on protected Northwest Cove on Wallace Lake in Conquerall Mills, with convenient access to Hwy 103, Bridgewater and Lunenburg. Very private. Lake is Fed by 2 brooks. Very quiet lake; usually only paddle boats and canoes. Fish: bass, trout and gaspereau. Lake Depth can reach 35-40 feet; average is 15 ft. Private access road. 55 minutes from Halifax, 5 mins to Bridgewater, on the South Shore. Septic approved, surveyed, power poles are in and ready for your recreational or year round home to be built. Ideal lake for swimming, kayaking, paddle board and canoes in summer. Great for winter skating!
Private access road with power lines. 55 minutes from Halifax, 5mi past Bridgewater, on the South Shore.Very private.
Take 103 past Bridgewater to end of the controlled access highway.
Turn left to Conquerall Mills at flashing light.
Drive 2.2 km. Turn right on Fitch Road.
Drive 1.6 km to end of Fitch Road to Lake Road – T-intersection
Turn right on Lake Road.
Take 1st road on right – Wallace Lake Acres road.
Proceed down Wallace Lake Acres Rd. about 2KM and turn right on Beechwood Dr.
Turn Right on Lakeview Drive.
Lots start on the left side of the road at the top of the hill.
The lake is on the Left 450-600 feet through the woods.
Lot Depth is approximately 600 Ft
Waterfrontage approximately 150 FT wide
Driveway can be built for approximately $4,000
Power Lines on site, Set up required
No restrictions on motor boats on lake
Lake is fed by two brooks
Lake depth can reach 35-40ft, average is 15ft
New Private Access Road
55 Minutes from Halifax, 5 Miles pas Bridgewater, on the South Shore
Road maintenance includes filling of pot holes (volunteers), several loads of road gravel per year spread mostly where needed. Primarily the Wallace Lake Acres road is maintained from the red gate back to the first intersection (Woodland Ave). Lakeview Drive now has a full time house at the end and will be maintained as needed.
The road is usually graded every 2 to 4 years as needed. Totally depends on its condition. Brush cutting along the roads is done by lot owner volunteers…usually in September each year.
Snow removal from driveways is the responsibility of the cottage owner.
We currently have 5 full time residents at site and luckily two have snow plow trucks and volunteer their efforts to clear to the red gate at the government road.
The full time residents who don’t have a snow plow usually hire John Fancy (out on the Fitch Lake Rd) to do the snow removal for the driveways.
Road maintenance back to Wallace Lake is handled by the Wallace Lake owners association.
Here are some details:
President, Peter Berrigan, 902-543-5695
Vacant Lot owners are charged about $30 yearly (tent or moveable camper), Dwelling and cottage owners $150 yearly.
Driveways are not constructed to allow owners to design their own driveway access. Cost for a switch-back driveway is about $4,000.00 per lot. Contact us for the names of a contractor who can give you a good price on this at email@example.com
Perk Tests have been performed on all lots.If a land owner goes with our suggestion to the location of the septic, its not necessary to re-dig a soil test pit.As long as we keep within 20 to 30 feet of the old test pit.
If a land owner wants an entirely different layout….and the proposed system would be much more than that distance away from the soil test pit, then yes, technically we have to do another at the time we obtain a septic permit just to confirm soils have not changed in that distance.
Proposed septics are Sloping Sand Filters.These will handle from 1 to 10 bedrooms.That should be sufficient.
It’s not necessary for a new owner to build as we have indicated around the test pit….also, we do not know if someone wants to build a 1 bedroom home or 10 bedroom home with 3 bedroom guest house and loft apartment above a garage.Also, people may wish to build in a different location…so that can change things. Our plan simple confirms that a septic system and well can fit on a lot.
Prices can be affected by gravity feed system vs pump system.A pump system alone can add $4000 to the cost.
We see typical costs in this area for a standard gravity feed system around $14k.
Click Below for more info from Environment Nova Scotia:
Schedule A Viewing
For years now, virtual home tours have helped real estate buyers far and wide find the perfect home. But because of the pandemic, they have recently experienced a huge spike in popularity. One survey found that nearly 33% of recent home tour requests were for virtual tours, as compared to just 2% pre-pandemic.1 And it’s easy to see why.
Buyers want to quickly find their next safe haven, one that may need to serve as their office, gym, and even classroom for months to come. And sellers want to limit the number of strangers in their home, yet still have the ability to reach enough potential buyers to get the best offer on their property.
Virtual home tours are the popular thing right now, but that doesn’t automatically mean they’re the only option for your homebuying or selling experience. Read on to learn five important secrets of virtual home tours and how they impact today’s home buyers and sellers.
SECRET #1: Virtual Tours Have Evolved
The phrase “virtual tours” has evolved this year as real estate agents have been forced to quickly create innovative ways to show homes while keeping our clients safe and socially-distanced. Here are some terms you should know:
SECRET #2: Virtual Doesn’t Mean Impersonal
For a purchase as intimate as your next home, details easily seen on virtual tours like a new refrigerator or the size of the master closet aren’t the only deciding factors. Luckily, virtual tours are also exceptional tools for personal connection.
Virtual tours allow buyers to easily picture themselves in the space and to get their questions answered by an insider. And sellers can be sure that interested buyers are still getting that up-close and personal look at their home that will inspire their strongest offers.
SECRET #3: Virtual Is Just The First Step To Safe Home Sales
Virtual tours are still the recommended way to safely buy and sell real estate. Buyers don’t have to worry about exposure to anyone who previously visited the property, and sellers cut down on the foot traffic in their home.
But some buyers will still need to visit a home themselves in order to feel confident enough to submit an offer. In this situation, listing agents and sellers will work together to come up with a procedure that ensures everyone feels safe and comfortable. They might require interested buyers to present a pre-qualification letter before scheduling an appointment for a tour, for example. And the day of the tour, agents may take safety precautions such as asking buyers to wear protective gear and refrain from touching any surfaces in the home.
SECRET #4: The Speed of Closing Depends on Your Goals
In 2019, buyers viewed an average of 10 homes over a period of 10 weeks before submitting an offer. But thanks to virtual tours, they’re able to peek inside that number of homes in a much shorter period. This increased buyer activity is leading to more offers per listing that features a virtual tour.
Buyers wanting to compete for listings may need to cut their search time down to quickly submit an offer. And sellers need to carefully weigh the temptation to entertain more and more offers, which can keep their home on the market up to six percent longer. Your agent can help you decide the right strategy for your priorities.
SECRET #5: Virtual May Not Always Be the Right Choice
Creating, editing, uploading, and marketing virtual tours for a listing can be pricey. Even seemingly inexpensive options like video call walkthroughs still require time and energy on behalf of both the seller and agent.
This means that a full virtual tour package might not always be a good return on investment for sellers. And buyers may notice that some listings within their search parameters don’t offer virtual tours, so it’s important not to close the door on your dream home just because it doesn’t have virtual events and features.