This is likely the stage that you’re at right now, at the start of the journey and planning your route ahead. At this stage there are two important things to do:
1) Determine your needs and wants,
2) Get an idea of your financial picture, assuming that you’ll be borrowing to purchase the home.
Knowing your needs and wants is as easy as making a list of your must-have, nice-to-have, and must-not features of your future home. These can include things like neighbourhoods, number of bedrooms and baths, proximity to transit, features or even amenities like pools or air conditioning. Be honest with yourself about what you can and cannot compromise.
Getting an idea of your financial picture means to take stock of your savings, your realistic income and current lending rates to get an idea of what you can comfortably afford. Getting a picture of your financing is best done with the help of a professional, either an independent mortgage broker or someone at your bank. You may be more familiar with the bank as a first-time homebuyer, but a mortgage broker is certainly worth exploring. In the same way that a REALTOR® can show you the listings from many different brokerages, a mortgage broker can help you to shop all of the major banks and lenders, and their services come at no additional cost. A great mortgage broker can often get you a better deal at your own bank through negotiation than you can as long-time customer.
One final note at this stage applies to you if you’re part of a couple: make sure that you’re on the same page about your needs and wants!
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What’s the difference between a real estate agent and a REALTOR®? Visit www.crea.ca/why to find out.