Monday, May 9, 2011
TOP FIVE TIPS FOR FIRST-TIME HOMEBUYERS
1. Determine your net worth. Take your assets (cash, investments, savings, vehicles and other items you own) and subtract your liabilities (car loans, lines of credit, overdrafts and credit cards). A positive number is a good sign that you may be ready to purchase your first home.
2. Obtain mortgage pre–approval. There are many different mortgage options available on the market today. Thoroughly investigate the terms and rates available, and once you have settled on a rate, term and amortization period, apply for mortgage pre–approval with your lender. Mortgage pre–approval presents you as a serious purchaser, to both real estate agents and sellers.
3. Hire a real estate agent. Top agents have extensive experience and demonstrate dedication and commitment to helping their clients. Ask your family and friends for a referral, or explore real estate sites such as www.royallepage.ca to read profiles on agents, including their areas of expertise and languages spoken. A real estate agent will have knowledge of accurate, real–time market data to leverage your negotiating position, as well as access to properties often even before they are listed on MLS.
4. Be realistic. Choose a home that is within your means. Keep in mind that you will need to set aside extra funds for ongoing home maintenance and potential increases in utilities, taxes and mortgage rates.
5. Rent out a portion of your home. Consider buying a home with the potential to provide added income. Renting a basement apartment or a spare room can put extra money in your pocket, helping you to pay down your mortgage faster.