10 TIPS FOR BUYERS
Updated: Nov 10, 2021
By Ali Kaya
Being a buyer in Vancouver today is hardly an easy feat, so congratulations! It's such an accomplishment to buy a home here no matter how big or small it is. Between the mortgage process, pre-approvals, finding and working with your Realtor, showings, offers, negotiations and much more; you have your hands full. That's why any little help to make your process a smoother one is something you should consider!
With the better part of a decade of experience under my belt buying and selling homes in the Lower Mainland, I've definitely encountered my fair share of challenges and sticky situations. When buying a home, no matter the size, shape, location or price, you need to have someone with experience that knows what to do should a speed bump come up in our search. This is why I compiled a small list of useful tips that can help you in your journey to your next home! So, here we go!
TIP #1: Hire an agent!
This shouldn't be surprising as hiring the right Realtor can have the biggest impact on your search for your next home. There is no replacing an agent with years of real experience to hold your hand and guide you throughout the process. You need someone that has done the paperwork, the showings, the inspection walk throughs, and about 100 other things that go into a sale so you feel as stress free and comfortable as possible. It's really a no brainer to have someone by your side with the experience, advise, and professional know - how. Aside from that, in 99% of the cases, the seller is responsible for all real estate commissions, meaning that in most times we as Realtors are completely free to you. So, HIRE AN AGENT!
TIP #2: Get pre-approved first!
Quite possibly the second most important step you need to take is getting that pre-approval letter. You need to make sure you have that financial backing so that when we enter the market, we know exactly what you're able to afford and also that we can make that offer confidently. In most cases (especially in a strong seller's market) the seller will be able to pick and choose which offers they want to entertain, and seeing the pre-approval is a big advantage to you when competing. Aside from that, some Realtors work with multiple Mortgage Brokers to give their clients the upper hand. In my case, I can refer you to 3 brokers to choose from if you'd wish and can help facilitate your approval. A mortgage broker works on your behalf to get the best rate and terms for you and your family, just like how I work for you on your real estate goals. They're free to you 99% of the time as well, so right off the bat you have both boxes checked; with no penny spent.
TIP #3: Make sure your finances are in order!
A big key in getting a mortgage and buying your home is ensuring that your finances are in good standing. I always tell my buyers, "make sure you can afford life after the purchase, not just during". Have all other finances in order then start searching for your home. Buying a home is a big decision and a big financial weight, so please make sure you're standing on an even better foundation!
TIP #4: Make sure to account for closing costs!
Remember, it isn't only about the purchase price. There are a number of closing costs and miscellaneous costs that come into play when buying a home. Taxes, GST if applicable, lawyer/notary fees, insurance fees, title associated fees, inspection costs, moving costs and any other fees related to the sale. We will go over all of this before we even start the search to ensure you have a realistic expectation and are ready for when the time comes to close! Remember, the last thing you want is to buy the home and pay everything that it entails, only to get a quote of $5000 for moving your furniture. Make sure to work with a Realtor (like me) that explains everything in depth before it comes up.
TIP #5: Get an inspection done!
I always recommend getting an inspection done on a home. Even if it looks great to the naked eye, seeing behind those walls and getting a professional to inspect it is definitely worth it. After all, this will be your single biggest purchase, why not make sure it's safe for you and your family and doesn't have any surprise repairs waiting to happen the second you close. It's pretty standard nowadays however in a heavy seller's market we see more and more subject free offers. In my opinion, that is a mistake. Always get an inspection done so you have peace of mind!
TIP #6: Keep your options open!
Depending on the market, you'll have some options to choose from. Options in real estate are a good thing to have! Remember, you should only buy something if you feel comfortable doing so. Shop around, keep your options open. While in a heavy seller's market you may not have that luxury, and that's okay! In most other times, find the perfect home for you and your family, and look at all available homes you're interested in.
TIP #7: When negotiating, walk away only if you're actually ready to walk away!
Negotiations are common place not only in real estate, but in our daily lives. The point of a negotiation is to come to a mutual agreement on the terms and price of a home. Don't be emotional, keep your purchase as objective as possible. Negotiations may be frustrating and stressful at times, but the last thing you want to do is cut them off when you did in fact want to make a deal. Nothing is worse than leaving the table only to come back later.
TIP #8: Don't purchase anything large or get a loan during your mortgage/ buying process!
Your pre-approval isn't a guarantee. We need to be 100% house focused during your search. That means no big purchases or loans DURING the mortgage and purchase process. Want the new Tesla? Buy it after you've closed. It is vital to keep your financial standing sound throughout the process so we don't get a review of your approval and put it in jeopardy.
TIP #9: Manage your wants and your needs!
This is probably the biggest obstacle to overcome as a buyer. Managing what you'd like versus what you legitimately require is vital in your search. Do you really need that 3rd bedroom? Do you need that 4th bathroom? With each client, your search and your preferences are uniquely your own. We need to set the bare minimum and work our way up. As your Realtor, it is my job to find you the best place for you at the best price I can. It's to bridge the gap between what you need and what you'd want in your home. However, it is sometimes tough when inventory is low or other factors get in the way. I always want my buyers to get their expectations set and for us to make note of what is actually needed and what is wanted!
TIP #10: Hire Me!
As a buyer in Vancouver and the surrounding areas you need an agent who has the necessary experience and know-how to get you the results you want and expect. Being a top Realtor now for years, I always go above and beyond for my clients in any way I possibly can. You expect someone who answers your questions, points out the things you need to know or may have missed, who is honest, and knows the ins and outs of the purchase in every detail. It is my job to make your buying process as smooth as I can possibly make it. Let me worry for you, let me stress for you, that's my job; you just focus on the excitement that looking for your next home entails. Contact me anytime and we can grab a cup of coffee and talk about your goals. Whether you're looking for a single family, town home, or a condo, I have your back.
Well, that's it for today's list of tips! I sincerely hope you received some value out of this article and insight into how to make your process more enjoyable. Buying a home is an exciting experience, and it's my goal to give you that. Thank you for visiting my website and for reading this far, please look around and contact me afterwards if you have any questions. I hope to have the opportunity to work with you, talk soon!
By Ali Kaya