You’ve spent hours dreaming about the possibilities involved. Maybe you’re envisioning a fireplace in the living room. Perhaps a nice sunroom and reading area. And well, that perfect little breakfast nook would be nice! After the dreams, though, reality begins to sink in. Looking to buy a house in Kitchener-Waterloo Ontario is a huge life step, and it takes a bit of preparation before you can even start the shopping process. With so much to think about and do, where should you focus your energy? We have compiled a quick guide to help you prepare to buy a house in Kitchener or Waterloo Ontario.
Down Payment Funds
The majority of potential homeowners can’t afford the entire purchase price of a home upfront, so a mortgage is typically necessary. Depending on your credit history, down payment requirements can vary from bank to bank but they’re usually about ten percent of the purchase price. Saving that money for your down payment is an absolute must. You may even want to set up a separate account to help you keep back the funds you need for the home of your dreams. The more you add to that account on a regular basis, the better off you will be when going to potential lenders when it’s time to obtain a mortgage for your home.
Prepare Your Credit
There aren’t many lending companies and banks that will offer you a mortgage without the right credit score, and it may take some work to get there. If you currently have a problematic credit score, you may want to sit down with a loan officer now to look at what you can do to improve it before you’re ready to buy. Simple steps like checking your credit report often, paying bills on time, paying down credit cards and/or loan balances, and dealing with any problem credit report entries is an absolute must. A credit counselor can help guide you with regard to any other steps you may want to take.
Save for Additional Expenses
The cost of the down payment and closing expenses are hardly all you’re going to be facing with a house purchase. There are always little things that come up when you get ready to buy a home. Having funds set aside specifically to deal with those issues has to factor into your readiness checklist. Think about the cost of the move, any repairs you might want to do to the home, and any additional furniture you may need to purchase once you move in.
Understand Financial Terminology
Mortgage loans are steeped in financial terms, and it can take some time to get your bearings in this overwhelming arena. Learning as much as you can about mortgages and the terms a loan officer might use as he or she is getting ready to offer you a deal, is essential. You need to become familiar with the types of mortgages available, the terms they use to describe them, and what’s required in order to obtain each type. Most banks have first time home buyer guides posted to their websites to help make sense of terms like APR and Good Faith Estimate. It’s still a good idea to utilize a variety of resources to ensure you get the best possible picture of what you’re going to be expected to have knowledge of. Waterloo Region mortgage broker Rosanna Congi has a Mortgage Glossary you can access on her website.
Consider Various Housing Types
Your dreams may be big, but you have to think about the housing types available in the Kitchener-Waterloo neighborhood in which you want to live. Single-family homes are great, but in some cases condos can offer many of the same amenities with lower costs. Investment properties that include multi-family housing that may allow you to live in one unit while you play the role of landlord for the other unit(s) could be the right choice for you as well. The goal is to understand what is available and what can meet your dreams.
Find the Right Realtor
Not all real estate agents are created equal. There are many in Kitchener-Waterloo who will help you find exactly what you need and others who leave you feeling somewhat disappointed. You want to find a Realtor® who will help you find just what you want in a home, not what they want to sell you. Conducting your own research is always helpful. You may want to consider a team versus a singular agent. You need help and advice immediately. With an individual agent you’re likely to stay in a holding pattern while he or she helps other clients. With a team, you’ll always have access to a professional Realtor® who is familiar with your situation.
Although “right now” may not be the “right time” for you to buy a house in Kitchener-Waterloo, preparing yourself both physically and mentally for the world of home ownership can take a bit of time. The longer you give yourself, the more likely it is that you’ll truly be ready when the time comes.
Find out how I’ve helped more than 2,000 families buy and sell homes in Kitchener-Waterloo by getting a copy of my free eBook here. Also for great real estate videos you won’t find anywhere else, subscribe to my YouTube channel. I love to share my expert knowledge so if you have any real estate questions feel free to call me at 310-SOLD or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.