THREE MISTAKES FIRST-TIME BUYERS MAKE THE MOST:
1. Choosing the wrong agent. "People call the person they see on the sign outside the home they want, and that's exactly who not to call, They think the agent selling the house will know the most about the home, but if you don't go in with your own agent, there's no one in your corner." Instead, ask friends for referrals, check online reviews and shop around. "It's a long process and can become a big relationship—find someone you're comfortable with. (Suffice it to say, not calling an agent at all is also a mistake!)
2. Not knowing what you want. Newbies often don't have a good idea of what they're looking for and can become overwhelmed, which is why they need to see different types of properties—a bungalow, a two-storey, a duplex—in various locations. They can find out what types of homes and areas they like and don't like, and we can taper the search from there.
3. Forgetting to check finances first. First-time buyers often think they can afford a home that is actually out of their financial league. "The number you go in with should be based on a plan. Draft a budget for the expenses in your new home, or do a trial run by setting aside the money you'd need if you were living there and see if it works. If it doesn't, lower your expectations. And don't forget to have money that's accessible for your down payment. You usually need at least five percent of the overall purchase price for the down payment, then budget three percent for closing costs, which means you should have at least eight percent of the purchase price on hand going in.
ADVICE FOR THE FIRST-TIME SELLER
Once the house was listed, they started looking for their new home. "I wanted something that was close to the school in a nice neighbourhood and had at least three bedrooms and two bathrooms to fit our family," says Kisha.
Things got stressful when they hadn't received an offer on their current home after two weeks on the market. So they ended up dropping their asking price slightly, a strategy that worked—they got the offer they wanted. Shortly after, they found a home . They left a week between the two closing dates to give themselves time to clean and move the clan in. To save money, they cleaned both homes themselves and enlisted friends to help with the move. Fortunately, the house didn't need any work and they could settle in right away.
Timing is everything when it comes to making the most on your home, and it all depends on the market. In a seller's market, it's better to buy before selling. "If you sell first, by the time you start looking for another house, there's a good chance your existing home will increase in value."
If prices are dropping, I'd recommend selling first and renting while you watch the market. Still, Mann says to be wary of Realtors who urge you to sell no matter what. "They don't have your best interests at heart. A good Realtor should explain the market trends and give you options."
It's also important to decide whether to keep your existing mortgage. Paul and Kisha decided to switch to a new mortgage to take advantage of a lower interest rate. "Many mortgages are portable, meaning you can apply your existing mortgage to the new home as long as your lender approves the new property. Check to see if interest rates for a new mortgage are lower, but also look at your repayment terms and the length of time remaining in your term before you make any decisions.
TWO MISTAKES FIRST TIME SELLERS MAKE THE MOST:
1. Giving buyers a reason to say "no." "Many people rush a listing onto the market before it's ready to go live. Fix the little things, like making sure all the lightbulbs work. One area that's often missed is the mechanical room. "If it's clean and organized, buyers will have a better feeling about the home. I'd recommend getting a presale home inspection (about $200 to $400, depending on the home size and where you live) so you know what you need to do before you list, as well as sticking points for potential buyers.
2. Not getting an appraisal. It might cost $300 to $400, but having a certified appraiser evaluate your home is money well spent. It gives you a piece of mind knowing your house is up to the standard you think it is.
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