No two home buying experiences are ever the same.
Between closing costs, down payment, home inspection, appraisal and other expenses, buyers can be tapped out emotionally and financially before they can even call the home their own.
But here are five things you can do to make the process run as smoothly as possible:
1. Pre-qualification is not enough.
You will be in a much stronger position when it comes time to negotiate if you are not only pre-qualified, but pre-approved for your mortgage. Pre-approved means your lender has agreed to fund your mortgage and has agreed to a set interest rate for a specific period of time.
2. Be sure to have a strong downpayment.
Some loan programs require as little as 5% down, but a larger down payment up front will secure a more affordable monthly house payment. Open a savings account dedicated to your down payment and deposit a portion of your paycheque in it each month.
3. Don'tstart looking until you are ready.
Understand your budget, ideal price range and loan qualifications (see #1) before you start your search. The last thing you want to do is fall in love with a home you cannot afford.
4. Youare buying a location, not just a home.
Take time to explore and research the community. Look at the quality of schools, crime level, cost of living, public transport, commute, amenities, etc. All will have a significant impact on your day-to-day life.
5. Take your time.
Be patient - the right home will come onto the market eventually. Don't make a rash decision on a "good enough" property out of desperation. Buyer's remorse is real.