I've been a buyer three times. Each time, I learned more about the process - and more about my real estate wants and needs. Now that I'm a licensed real estate agent, I want to pass along some of the things I learned along the way....
5) If you don't know something or don't understand something - ask! Ask your agent, ask your lawyer, ask the property inspector. Make sure you understand everything you're signing and make sure you get answers to your questions. Real estate agents know their clients don't have the traning, background, and experience that they do - and that's why you hire us. And if it's a question we can't answer, a good real estate agent is going to help you find someone who can.
4) Think about the things that matter to you and can't be changed, and those that matter to you that can be changed. For example, location. You've probably heard the saying "location, location, location." The reason it's such a huge consideration is because it can't be changed. The house is where the house is. If you absolutely don't want to live on that street or in that neighbourhood, it likely doesn't matter how nice the house is. On the other hand, try not to be immediately turned off by the bad flowered wallpaper, the colour of paint in the kitchen, or the seller's furniture. It may take a bit of time and/or money to do so, but these are the items that can be changed and shouldn't be deal breakers.
3) There will always be another house. I bought my first place in early 2006, as Calgary's market was really taking off. That was after losing out on two places because of multiple offers. I remember sitting outside of one of them around midnight, mid-February, in my agent's car and finding out I didn't get it. I mourned each of the places I didn't get to buy. I thought I'd never find a place, but you know something, I did. And I loved it.
2) There are little things wrong with every property - and it's no one's fault. After you find a place and move in, something is probably going to go wrong or break or stop working. In almost all cases it's not that the seller hid something from you, your agent didn't do a good job, or the home inspector was incompetent. These things happen and it's no one's fault. This is home ownership. There will be expenses you didn't plan on. It's one of the reasons you don't want to max out your budget when you buy; make sure you have some money for home maintenance and repairs.
1) And finally, don't pay more than you're willing to pay. See point 3) above. There will always be another place. Buying property is a very emotional experience, but it's also important to not get so caught up in emotions that you find yourself in an uncomfortable financial situation. That's a key area where your real estate agent can help. Your agent is going to help you stay within the budget you give them. And, if your budget isn't high enough for what you want to buy or where you want to buy it, your agent will talk about your options then too. It may mean waiting a bit to save a larger down payment or it may mean that you have to do without some of your "nice-to-have" features, but what it should never mean is you spending more than you can or more than you're comfortable with.
If you think you're ready to buy - give me a call. I can guide you through the process from start to finish. I'll answer your questions, be respectful of your budget, and help you focus on the things that matter.