November 23, 2010
Ready, Steady, Buy?
by Robert Near
Buying a house is likely the biggest ticket item you’ll ever buy. Choose wisely.
So you’ve settled up and think that the right thing to do is to buy a house. The first step is to see a mortgage broker and get pre-approved for a mortgage. They’ll use time-honoured ratios to determine how much money you can borrow to put towards a house. (If you want to do these tests yourself, visit the CMCH’s website).
Now you have a budget. Next, you’ll need to assemble a team: an agent, lawyer and home inspector. Meeting each professional and determining that you’re comfortable with working with each one of these people is of the utmost importance. The agent you use is particularly paramount, as he/she is the one who’ll hold your first-time buyer’s hand through the process. Shuttling you around, negotiating on your behalf, etc. – you need to trust this person so get an agent that’s right for you.
Know that you’re going to want to see a lot of houses in the evenings, or weekends? Be upfront about it. At some point you’ll have to sign a contract with this agent. Read it. Know what you’re getting into.
As for how to get deals, Lucas Smith, broker at Keller Williams Ottawa Realty, says that it largely depends on the seller. With luck, you’ll find someone who’s willing to negotiate. On your end, you’ve got to remain detached. “Put in an offer, and be prepared to walk away.”
About the Author
Rob Near has lived and written internationally, including in Shanghai and Taipei and as a Toronto-based freelance editor has worked for enRoute, Toronto Life, Zoomer, Chatelaine and Canadian Business.