Buying a house isn’t all fun and games…here are 10 ways to optimize your househunting experience:
1. Happy Househunters are ready to drop everything and go. Sure, it’s convenient to househunt on the weekends, but the best deals are found when you least expect them. Some of our best sales have happened mere hours after a property hits the market – and long before people get it in their email from their agent the next day or before the open houses. Make a point of being readily available and responding to your agent when they contact you. Holiday weekends can be especially a good time to score a deal.
2. Happy Househunters take notes! Trust me, after you’ve seen 6 or 8 houses, they all start to look the same. Bring a notepad or jot down your thoughts in your smartphone (we love the Evernote app for that). At minimum, write down the best and worst thing about the house and give it a score from 1-10. Most people see 15 or 20 properties before they find ‘the one’, and being able to go back and see your notes and the sold prices will go a long way to helping you get familiar with market value.
3. Happy Househunters are financially savvy. Make sure that you’re pre-approved for a mortgage and not just pre-qualified. If you don’t know what that means, read this blog. Have your deposit (usually around 5% of the purchase price) in a bank account that you can withdraw from – not in your RRSP or in one of those virtual banks that takes 3 days to get you your money. If you don’t know a good lender you can trust, get in touch – we’ll hook you up with the best.
4. Happy Househunters run the numbers up, down and sideways. It’s easy to get caught up in the moment, but keep calm and do the math. Don’t go into an offer without having carefully calculated the closing costs and the monthly carrying costs of the house you’re looking at. Think about utilities, garbage, sewer, water and of course, taxes. Don’t forget about planned maintenance! We have a fancy spreadsheet we use with our clients so there are never any surprises.
5. Happy Househunters understand that compromises must be made. While I’d love to tell you that everyone gets exactly what they want, the truth is that most people have to make sacrifices and give on at least one thing: location, price, size or finishes. What’s most important to you?
6. Happy Househunters wear comfortable, slip-on shoes. Putting your shoes on and taking them off 20 times in a day is more of a pain then you think. We recommend the Frye Norfolk slip-ons – they’re becoming standard issue at BREL HQ. Available at the Bay.
7. Happy Househunters tell their agents the truth. Remember, we’re on your side. Lying to us about your budget or not giving us honest feedback about the homes you’re seeing will do nothing except frustrate you. It’s OK if you’ve changed your mind about what you’re looking for or no longer are interested in a neighbourhood. It’s OK if you’ve changed your mind about buying right now too – just tell us!
8. Happy Househunters focus on properties that are actually available for sale and not on sold properties they found while using the Googler. I promise we aren’t hiding properties from you! Unfortunately some agents pretend sold properties are still available for sale to get you to call them. It’s not cool, so don’t fall for it.
9. Happy Househunters don’t rush into buying a property just to make the house search end. Trust me, you will KNOW when you’ve found the right home for you. Sometimes it’s the first one you see, sometimes it’s the 50th. You will FEEL it!
10. Happy Househunters are wary of the REBOUND the house. Remember the rebound boyfriend or girlfriend? It’s the same thing but only in real estate. Too often Buyers lose a bidding war only to rush into buying another house that isn’t quite right for them. Don’t do it!