5 Steps to Finding Your Next Home | Halifax Home Buyers Guide

Whether you’re a first-time buyer or a seasoned homeowner, shopping for a new home can feel daunting. In fact, 56% of buyers said that “finding the right property” was the most difficult step in the home buying process.[1]

Buying a home is a significant commitment of both time and money. And a home purchase has the power to improve both your current quality of life and your future financial security, so the stakes are high.

Follow these five steps—and complete the corresponding worksheet offered below—to assess your priorities, streamline your search, and choose your next home with confidence.

The first step to finding your ideal home is determining WHY you want to move. Do you need more space? Access to better schools? Less maintenance? Or are you tired of throwing money away on rent when you could be building equity? Pinpointing the reasons why you want to move can help you assess your priorities for your home search.

 

Don’t forget to think about how your circumstances might change over the next few years. Do you expect to switch jobs? Have more children? Get a pet? A good rule of thumb is to choose a house that will meet your family’s needs for at least the next five to seven years.[2] Be sure to set your goals accordingly.

Many financial professionals recommend following the “28/36 Rule” to determine how much you can afford to spend on a home. The rule states that you should spend no more than 28% of your gross monthly income on housing expenses (e.g., mortgage, taxes, insurance) and a maximum of 36% of your gross monthly income on your total debt obligations (i.e., housing expenses PLUS any other debt obligations, like car loans, student loans, credit card debt, etc.).[3]

 

Of course, the 28/36 rule only provides a rough guideline. Getting pre-qualified or pre-approved for a mortgage BEFORE you begin shopping for homes will give you a much more accurate idea of how much you can borrow. Add your pre-approved mortgage amount to your downpayment to find out your maximum purchasing potential.

Many financial professionals recommend following the “28/36 Rule” to determine how much you can afford to spend on a home. The rule states that you should spend no more than 28% of your gross monthly income on housing expenses (e.g., mortgage, taxes, insurance) and a maximum of 36% of your gross monthly income on your total debt obligations (i.e., housing expenses PLUS any other debt obligations, like car loans, student loans, credit card debt, etc.).[3]

 

Of course, the 28/36 rule only provides a rough guideline. Getting pre-qualified or pre-approved for a mortgage BEFORE you begin shopping for homes will give you a much more accurate idea of how much you can borrow. Add your pre-approved mortgage amount to your downpayment to find out your maximum purchasing potential.

When it comes to real estate, WHERE you choose to buy is just as important as WHAT you choose to buy.

 

Do you prefer a rural, urban, or suburban setting? How long of a commute are you willing to make? Which neighborhoods feed into your favorite schools? These decisions will impact your day-to-day life while you live in the home.

 

Another important factor to consider is how the area is likely to appreciate over time. Choosing the right neighborhood can raise the profit potential of your home when it comes time to sell. Look for communities that are well maintained with high home-ownership rates, low crime rates, and access to good schools, desired retail establishments, and top employers.[4]

Start with the basics, like your ideal number of bedrooms, bathrooms, and square footage. Do you prefer a one-story or two-story layout? Do you want a swimming pool?

 

Keep in mind, you may not find a home with all of your “wants,” or even all of your “needs” … at least not at a price you can afford. The reality is, most of us have to make a few compromises when it comes to buying a home.

 

Some buyers will opt for a longer commute to get a larger, newer home in the suburbs. Others will sacrifice hardwood floors or an updated kitchen so that their kids can attend their desired school.

 

If you’re faced with a tough choice about how or what to compromise in your home search, return to STEP 1. What were your original goals and motivations for moving? Reminding yourself of your true priorities can often provide the clarity that you need.

 

A good real estate agent can remove much of the stress and uncertainty from the home search process. From setting goals to securing a loan to selecting the best neighborhood to meet your needs, we will be there to assist you every step of the way.

 

And no one has more access to home listings, past sales data, or market statistics than a professional agent. We can set up a customized search that alerts you as soon as a new listing you might like goes live. Better yet, we get notified about many of the hottest homes even BEFORE they hit the market.

 

You might guess that the VIP service we provide is very expensive. Well, the good news is, we can represent you throughout the entire home buying process at NO COST to you. It’s true; the home seller pays a buyer agent’s fee at closing. So you can benefit from our time, experience, and expertise without paying a dime. That’s probably why 87% of buyers purchase their home with the help of an agent.[1]

 

And although we’ve listed it here as STEP 5, the reality is, it’s never too early (or too late) to contact an agent about buying a home. Whether you want to buy today, next month, or next year, there are steps you can (and should) be taking to prepare for your purchase.

 

Contact us today to schedule a free consultation, and let’s start making your real estate dreams a reality!

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Virtual Home Buying Program

Virtual Home Buying Program

With falling interest rates and down payment assistance programs this is the perfect time to purchase your first home.With our virtual buyers program we will do all the heavy lifting and find the perfect home for your family while social distancing.

Virtual Consultation

Our team will schedule a facetime or zoom  meeting where we will discuss what you are looking for in a home and
our team will come up with options that best fit your needs.

Home Wants & Needs

You will be updated of listings that fit your buying criteria the moment they hit the market

Virtual Tours

Working with the selling agent
we will send virtual tours of the home or tour the house through video call ourselves so you can see for yourself if the home is the right fit; all from your computer,tablet or phone!

Inspections

Inspectors will send inspections via email and we will meet through video chat to go over the findings of the report and
answer any questions you may have!

Deposits

You will be able to wire your deposit to the listing company trust account remotely.

E-signatures

You will be able to sign all  documents digitally right from the comfort of  your home.

Closing Time

A lawyer trained in virtual closings and  remote signing will oversee the closing of the home.

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Schedule a Free Consultation

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Stop Paying Rent!

How to Stop Paying Rent and Own Your Own Home

 

Don’t pay another cent in rent to your landlord! 

 

It’s a dream we all have – to own our own home and stop paying rent.  But if you’re like most renters, you feel trapped within the walls of a house or apartment that doesn’t feel like yours.  How could it when you’re not even permitted to bang in a nail or two without a hassle?  You feel like you’re stuck in the renter’s rut with no way of rising up out of it and owning your own home

Well, don’t feel trapped anymore!  It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been renting, or how insurmountable your financial situation may seem.  The truth is, there are some little known facts that can help you get over the hump, and transfer your status from renter to homeowner.  With this information, you will begin to see how you really can:

– save for a down payment

– stop lining your landlord’s pockets, and
– stop wasting thousands of dollars on rent.

 

6 Little Known Facts That Can Help You Buy Your First Home

 

The problem that most renters face isn’t your ability to meet a monthly payment. Goodness knows you must meet this monthly obligation every 30 days already. The problem is accumulating enough capital to make a down payment on something more permanent.

But saving for this lump sum doesn’t have to be as difficult as you might think.  Consider the following 6 important points:

You can buy a home with much less down than you think.

There are some local or federal government programs (such as 1st time buyer programs) to help people get into the housing market.  You can qualify as a first time buyer even if your spouse has  owned a home before as long as your name was not registered.  Ensure your real estate agent is informed and knowledgeable in this important area and can offer programs to help you with your options.

You may be able to get your lender to help you with your down payment and closing costs.

Even if you do not have enough cash for a down-payment, if you are debt-free, and own an asset free and clear (such as a car, for example), your lending institution may be able to lend you the down-payment for your home by securing it against this asset.

 

You may be able to find a seller to help you buy and finance your home.

Some sellers may be willing to hold a second mortgage for you as a “seller take-back.”  In this case, the seller becomes your lending institution.  Instead of paying this seller a lump-sum full amount for his or her home, you would pay monthly mortgage installments.

 

You may be able to create a cash down payment without actually going into debt.

By borrowing money for certain investments to a specified level, you may be able to generate a significant tax refund for yourself that you can use as a down-payment.  While the money borrowed for these investments is technically a loan, the monthly amount paid can be small, and the money invested in both home and investment will be yours in the end.

You can buy a home even if you have problems with your credit rating.

If you can come up with more than the minimum down-payment, or can secure the loan with other equity, many lending institutions will consider you for a mortgage.  Alternatively, a seller take-back mortgage could also help you in this situation.

 

You can, and should, get preapproved for a home loan before you go looking for a home.

Preapproval is easy, and can give you complete peace-of-mind when shopping for your home. Mortgage experts can obtain written preapproval for you at no cost and no obligation, and it can all be done quite easily over-the-phone.  More than just a verbal approval from your lending institution, a written preapproval is as good as money in the bank.  It entails a completed credit application, and a certificate which guarantees you a mortgage to the specified level when you find the home you’re looking for.

 

 

Consider dealing only with a professional who specializes in mortgages.  Enlisting their services can make the difference between obtaining a mortgage, and being stuck in the renter’s rut forever. Typically there is no cost or obligation to enquire.

To sum up, there are many important issues you should be aware of that affect you as a renter.  Why on earth would you continue to lose thousands by throwing it away on rent when with your agent you could take a few minutes to discuss your specific needs so that you can stop renting and start owning?

This conversation costs you nothing. And, of course, you shouldn’t have to feel obligated to buy a home at the time you review this.  But by taking the time to explore your options, and learn about the ways you can afford to buy a home, think how prepared and relaxed you’ll be when you are ready to make this important step.

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