When you find your dream home, it’s only natural for your heart to beat a little faster. But you still need to get the best value for your dollar. Following are six ways to make you a happy and savvy homebuyer:
1. Find the Right Real Estate Agent:
An agent can be your most valuable asset. Word of mouth is good, but if you’re interested in a particular location take note of sold signs in the area to find a real estate agent who has special knowledge of the neighborhood.
2. Make a List of Needs and Wants:
Prioritize them because you likely won’t find a house with everything. Lenders, agents and the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation have online checklists that will help you focus on the important things.
3. Define What Value Means to You and Your Family and Follow Through:
If you believe you’ve found the right neighborhood, don’t just proceed with an offer. Make personal visits on different days and times. Talk to the neighbors and research the facilities and schools in the area.
4. Look Closely at the Boring Things:
Updated wiring in an older home is a great plus, and a basement that’s been flood-proofed is all-important in certain areas. However, that shiny, new siding you see could be hiding a not-so-new problem.
5. Energy Efficiency:
Power is only going to cost more in the future, so look for an energy-efficient home. Some homes have an energy rating tag on the electrical panel. Look for a high rating. If there isn’t a rating tag, ask to see previous utility bills.
6. Don’t Overbuy for the Neighborhood:
Sellers may feel their $100,000 kitchen renovation should net them a 90% return, but if the neighborhood comprises modest 1970s bungalows with small kitchens, you may have trouble getting back the premium you paid when it comes time for you to sell.