Buying your first home is a major life decision. I was once a first time home buyer in Saskatoon and can remember all of the questions that I had and the overwhelming feeling that goes with it. Working with new home buyers is one of my favorite things as it allows me to help people work through the entire buying process right from the beginning to the end. Seeing a first time home buyer take possession of their first home is one of the most rewarding parts of my job and reminds me how I felt when I purchased my first home in Saskatoon.
When you are a first time home buyer in Saskatoon there are certain steps that should be followed to make the experience go as smoothly as possible.
Pre-Approval – The first and the most important step is to get pre-approved with a reputable mortgage broker or bank. Often mortgage brokers will shop around to get you the best rates so even if they work under, for example, a bank like RBC, they can get products from many other mortgage companies and find one that best suits your needs. The danger of starting to look at houses for sale in Saskatoon before you are pre-approved is finding a home that you love but then find out cannot spend as much as the home is listed for. The other danger is timing. If your dream home comes up and you want to put an offer in but it takes you longer than the standard 5 business days as the lender requires different things from your place of employment then your offer may not be considered or it may be bumped by another offer with a shorter condition removal time. If you need the name of some good mortgage brokers in Saskatoon I would be happy to refer you to some of the brokers my Saskatoon Real Estate clients have used in the past.
Who Will Go On Title – Often first time buyers in Saskatoon and area have the help of their family to buy their first home. This means that you may not be the only one to make the decision in your first home purchase. While the bank and lawyer can add a co-signer at a later date it is often easier to have the co-signer be on the offer to purchase from the start.
Initial Meeting with Your Saskatoon REALTOR® – After you have met with a bank or trusted Saskatoon mortgage broker and have your limit, meet with me and I will go through the process and show you what is available in your range. We will discuss things such as what features you want in a property (what you can and cannnot live without), which area you would like to live in the city or surrounding area and what price range you are comfortable with. We also discuss other things that may be important for you immediately or in the near future such as Saskatoon schools.
Previewing Properties – Now that you know what you want and what you can spend, that is when it is time to start previewing properties even though I am sure you will be tempted to do this before you have your limits. It is disheartening for people who think their credit is better than it actually is and they start looking at upper ranges of properties just to find out that they cannot afford this property. It is not a good use of time or energy, so don’t get ahead of yourself! Once you have your price limit I will start sending you listings and you can weed through those online or verbally and we can narrow it down from there and THEN get out and start looking.
Start looking! But give yourself limits and guidelines and take notes as, after a couple of houses you will forget which one had which feature or special thing that stands out. Trust your gut and if it feels right, go for it! Remember, it may not have exactly everything that you like, even if you built your own home it could take you 3 or more times to get it completely right, but some things are quick cosmetic fixes and you have to decide what you can do and what you will not do. It is a process of elimination and there are times that people buy the first house they see but usually they need to see a few others to ensure this is the one. Don’t let the process take too long though as the low average days on market often means the house that you keep thinking about will be sold before you are ready to make your decision.
Time to Offer – Now is the time to put in the offer. Your Saskatoon real estate agent will help you determine if the asking price is fair by looking at comparable active and solds or, if negotiating, how much is fair to negotiate given the history. Your REALTOR® in Saskatoon should also advise you on the potential risks of ‘low balling’ in the current market. Don’t wait a few days or a week, or even one day if you think it is the right property. Act fast as someone may beat you to the punch and you may be very disappointed and not find something you like again for a long time. The market generally goes up as well so you may even end up paying MORE than what the first one was listed for due to the market changes and having to wait to find something else.