Buying with your heart instead of your head could net you some future headaches. You might discover later, that you have paid too much for your home, or find defects, or maybe the neighbourhood won’t be just as you thought.
Add these suggestions to your Home shopping:
· Take a walk around the neighbourhood
Walking through a neighbourhood will give you a few more insights. Talk to people. You’ll soon find out how friendly people are, and will gain more valuable information like if there is vandalism to contend with, a former grow house, or find that it is simply a neighbourhood from hell. If you drive there at 7:30 in the morning, you’ll see how many school buses are picking up children, and it will give you a good idea of how long it will take you to commute to work in early morning traffic.
· Visit City Hall
Call, or visit the local planning department to find out if any new developments are coming. These will increase property values, but will also increase traffic. You can also find how many owners have applied for minor variances to either build homes, or additions. This will give you an indication of the future direction of the neighbourhood.
· Find a Good Real Estate Agent
They will be familiar with the neighbourhood and be able to find out information about things like sewer backups, or termites. Check their website to see if they offer tips and explain what services they provide. They can also offer information about neighbourhoods including parks, religious institutions, demographics and schools
· Do You Know How Much You Can Really Afford?
It’s a must to visit a mortgage broker to get pre-approved so you will know how much money you have to shop with. By giving your broker all the details up front, you won’t be faced with any surprises once an Offer is made on the home of your dreams. Also, by using a Real Estate Agent to help with negotiations, your chances of paying too much for a home are greatly reduced. Sometimes a lender will order an appraisal of the home you have offered on. If they feel you have paid too much, they will not loan you the full amount.
· Title Insurance
A must! Many people do not understand that by purchasing Title Insurance through your lawyer, you will be protected against any unpaid taxes or water bills, for example, by the seller, as well as any problems that have not been disclosed at closing. For example, maybe part of the home or swimming pool is, in fact, on your neighbour’s property.
· Choose a good Home Inspector
Make sure the company is registered before hiring them. The Ontario Association of Home Inspectors is a self-regulating body that defines qualifications for home inspectors, and grants the designation RHI, or Registered Home Inspector, to qualified practitioners in Ontario. Ask the company if they have ever been sued by a buyer.
· Beware Basement Apartments
Your Real Estate Agent will know whether or not a basement apartment legally complies with local zoning and your building inspector can tell you if it complies with local fire code laws. If it doesn’t, then all it takes is one complaint from a neighbour and you could be faced with spending thousands of dollars to make it comply after you buy, or find that the home cannot be rezoned to allow the basement apartment to be legally rented.