This is the third part in a three-part series by local experts who want to help you find home sweet home. Whether you’re looking, building or buying old or new, here are some tips on how to find your home in the BoQ.
Buying A Home
Buying a home is exciting. It can also be confusing and stressful if you aren’t prepared. The good news? The average price of a home (at the end of 2017) in the Bay of Quinte was $299K, making it affordable and owning your dream home more than just a dream.
FIGURE OUT YOUR BUDGET
Meet with a mortgage advisor to determine what your budget is and how much of a house you can actually afford. Getting pre-approved for a mortgage is step one in the home-buying process. Tip: Your pre-approval locks in your interest rate for 90 days or more and allows you to begin the offer and negotiation steps of purchasing a home.
GET YOUR FINANCES IN ORDER
Pay down your debts, get rid of your credit cards and don’t make any big purchases. This is the time to save as much money as you can to go towards your down payment. First-time home buyers need to have a down payment of at least 5% of the purchase price, but if you save more up front, you’ll save in the end, so aim for closer to 20%.
For example, the average price of a home in the BoQ at the end of 2017 was 299K, so a 5% down pay- ment would be $14,950, and 20% would be $59,800. Tip: Interest rates are on the rise and the newly implemented stress test decreases the amount you can borrow to purchase a new home or refinance an existing property. That is to say, you must now qualify for a higher interest rate than you will actually be paying.
USE A REALTOR YOU TRUST
There is a lot that goes into the process of buying a house. From knowing the neighbourhoods to helping with the issues that will inevitably arise on closing, a realtor will help you every step of the way and make sense of some of the confusing processes.
What would you do if the home you purchased didn’t have the appliances on closing date? Let a realtor take care of these issues so you can focus on moving in and making the house your own. Tip: As a buyer, you do not have to pay commission fees to your realtor. The seller is responsible for the cost of commission.
NARROW DOWN YOUR CHOICES
The Bay of Quinte is full of different styles of homes. The detached home is the most popular in the area, but new condo developments and townhouses are being built in the region and are a viable option for new home buyers. Tip: Be open-minded and only look at the homes within your price range. What you dream about in a home isn’t as important as what you need in a house.
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION
In the Bay of Quinte you have so many great neighbourhoods to choose from. It’s important to narrow down your location on where you want to live. If you
don’t know where you want to be exactly, at least figure out where you don’t want to be. Some things to take into account are how close you want to be to work, schools and amenities.
GET A HOME INSPECTION
You wouldn’t buy a car without getting it checked out. The same goes for your house. It’s especially important when you’re purchasing a resale home to get a professional inspection. Your realtor can help you choose a reputable inspector. Everything you need to know about a home can be found in your inspection report, as well as good maintenance and housekeeping tips to keep your home in the best condition.
SET UP YOUR NEW HOME
Now is the time to set up your utilities and insurance for your home. Your realtor can help you determine which utility companies to contact. Don’t forget to redirect your mail and update any identification cards with your new address.
GET READY FOR MOVE-IN DAY
Closing Day is the day you officially sign the papers and get the keys to your new home. This is also the day you’ll transfer that large sum of money that you saved for the down payment. You’ll also have to pay closing costs, i.e. your legal fees, land transfer tax, appraisal fees and any adjustment costs on the sale. Tip: Make sure you set aside 1.5 – 4 % of the purchase price to go towards closing costs. This amount is not included in your down payment.
GET OUT AND EXPLORE!
Your new neighbourhood awaits. Once you’ve settled into your new home, it’s time to explore your surroundings and your new city or town. The Bay of Quinte has so many unique things to do and see. Meet your neighbours, try a new restaurant or just go for a walk to check out what’s around you!
Read part one here and part two here for more on this series on finding a home in the BoQ.
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