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Buying a home is one of the most exciting and emotional times in a person’s life. It’s not just a place to live, but a place where memories will be made, a place to rest and spend time with friends and family.

Here are the steps to buying a home:

Step One: Figure out what you can afford.

Of course we all want a nice home and nice things, but you do not want to be house poor. It’s tempting with today’s low interest rates to over-extend your monthly payments. But interest rates won’t be this low forever, so it’s wise to speak to a mortgage broker who will review your ability to pay off the mortgage based on your income level and any other debts. Once a lender has pre-approved you, you will be in a stronger negotiating position when you make an offer as you can explain that you are qualified up to a certain amount, and the “subject to financing” clause will be primarily to ensure that the bank feels the house is worth what you are willing to pay.

Step Two: Write down your list of priorities.

How many bedrooms and bathrooms do you need? Do you want to be close to town (older neighbourhoods, mature trees) or do you crave a newer home in an expanding neighbourhood. Are you wanting a single family home or would a townhome work or possibly a condo? Do you want to be close to schools? Do you like the flats or prefer being on a hillside with possibly a view?

Step Three: Enlist some help

A home is likely one of the largest investments in your life and you don’t want to make a mistake when you purchase. The time to make money in real estate is when you buy (not when you sell) and it’s important that you keep resale in mind at all times. A good Realtor will understand your needs and wants completely and not put their desire to sell a home ahead of your best interests. It’s important that the person you choose to help you is experienced, available to spend the time you’ll need to find the perfect place, and honest.

Step Four: Start the Search

We are big believers in research and know the importance of becoming well educated on the market you are looking in. Not only do you want to be familiar with all the homes for sale in your area and price range, you will also want data on what comparable homes have sold for lately. It’s also helpful to find out how long the home has been for sale, if it’s been listed previously, and what the current owners paid for the home.

Step Five: The Fun Part – Making an Offer!

Negotiating a purchase is our favourite part of selling real estate! You want to get the home for the best price possible, yet you don’t want to upset the Seller and have to pay more than you’d hoped. This is a complex ‘dance’ between the parties involved. In our experience, offers typically go back and forth between 3 and 6 times and everyone wants to feel like they’ve done well. Factors that will determine the selling price of a home will be the price of course, but also inclusions, closing dates, subject clauses/conditions and deposit amount.

Step Six: Move in and Live Happily Ever After

Well almost! In our experience, people in Kelowna move on average every 6 years. Of course some people move into their dream homes and plan on staying forever. But a lot of people move up or down in price and that’s why it’s always important to keep resale in mind. It’s an exciting and wonderful time! Enjoy!

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