- What should I look for when deciding on a neighbourhood?
Choosing your neighbourhood is as important as choosing the house itself. You need to do your research and decide where you want to be. If you’re planning on having a family down the road, find out where the good schools are located. If you’re somebody who doesn’t like to drive, consider the bus routes. If you’re a city person, find a nice area you’ll enjoy, whereas if the peaceful rural has your heart, shop around those areas. The point is, do as much homework as possible so you’re not having to quickly resell the house in a year or so. Let’s face it; you’d have to pay the transfer tax all over again, plus moving costs and face the hassle of moving.
Once you find an area you like, learn about it. Look into things like crime rate and demographics, as well as community groups and activities. Go for lunch in the potential neighbourhood, walk the streets and talk to the neighbours, you’ll get a much better feel for the area than if you just talk to the sellers. It’s also important to visit the prospective home several times, at different times. You don’t want to find out that what appears to be a quaint little spot in the mornings is run by rowdy hooligans come dusk.
- How do I choose the right realtor?
The best way to begin your hunt for the right realtor is by asking family and friends if they know someone they would recommend. Having a realtor referred to you means you’ll know someone who has had a firsthand encounter with the individual, and can share their experience with you before you get started. Next, compile a list of several realtors and talk to each before choosing one. Realtors are key players in your quest for a home, as they can help you find the kind of house you’re looking for, in an area you like, with a price to match your budget. Moreover, they can also help with strategies during the bidding process. It’s important to look for a realtor who listens well, understands your needs, and knows the local area. Overall, you want to choose a realtor that makes you feel comfortable and can provide all the knowledge and services you need.
- What should I be looking for when I walk through a potential home?
When you’re viewing potential homes make sure to cover all bases. Think about things like how much storage you currently have vs. how much you think you’ll need in the future. Does the house sport a decent size closet or linen shelf? How is the cupboard space, garage and basement? You don’t want to move into a place then go nuts trying to cram your things in.
Flush the toilets, turn on the taps and open the windows. Are these up to par? A thorough examination of the home will be performed by the home inspector, but it’s nice to know in advance when you’re considering.
Is it move-in ready? How much extra cash are you going to have to dish out in renovations, updates, and extras? Do you have the money to spare, or should you keep looking for something that already caters to your needs a bit more? These may seem like small details, but they’re important to consider as expenses add up quickly.
Keep in mind that no home is perfect; it's not going to check all of your boxes, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't take your time and think carefully about each house you see. Ask your real estate agent to point out the pros and cons of each home from a professional standpoint.
- What questions should I ask when looking at potential homes?
Many of your questions should focus on potential problems and maintenance issues. Does anything need to be replaced? What things require ongoing maintenance? Why are the current owners selling? Be sure to ask any and all questions until you’ve covered all bases and feel you have a thorough understanding of the situation. Making a list of questions ahead of time will help you organize your thoughts and arrange all of the information you receive.
To best keep track of the homes you view, try to take photos of each house you view: the outside, major rooms, yard, and extra features that you like or see as potential problems. Don't hesitate to return for a second look.
- How many homes should I view before deciding on a winner?
When buying a home it’s important to look at more than one option. Comparing several homes will not only help you decide what it is you really want, but it will also open the door to opportunities you would not otherwise experience. You may even miss out on an amazing deal and the perfect home because you never took the time to properly scope the market. Think of it like dating, would you really want to marry the first person you went out with? Maybe you would, but either way you should keep an open eye when it comes to buying. It’s also important to “sleep on it.” Don’t rush a decision, always give it time to sink in and really consider what is at hand.
- What should I look for during the final walk through?
If the home was furnished when you originally viewed it, by the time of your final walk through it will be empty, giving you the chance to view it with fresh eyes. During this time take advantage of the openness and direct your attention to things like the walls, ceilings, and any other areas that were previously hidden by furniture or décor. During this time also double check to ensure the seller has lived up to their word and fixed any problems discovered during the inspection. If any damage has not yet been dealt with, be sure to address the problem before closing the deal.
- What does a home inspector do, and how does the inspection affect the price of the home?
A home inspector checks the safety of your potential new home. Focusing on the structure, construction, and mechanical systems of the house, this expert provides a realistic, unbiased evaluation of a home’s condition to make the buyer aware of any necessary repairs or potential problems. While sellers don’t always disclose all the details to prospective buyers, a home inspector can look beyond the fresh paint to find costly underlying problems.
An inspector generally checks the five principle systems of a home: the roof and upper structure, plumbing system, heating system, electrical system, foundation and lower structure. They will also inform you of the presence of pests, problems with windows, ceilings, walls, floors, the roof, etc. It's a good idea for the home to undergo an inspection before you sign a written offer, since once the deal is closed, you've bought the house. Another option is to include an Inspection Clause in the offer when negotiating for a home, as this will give you an out on buying the home if serious problems are found, or the ability to renegotiate the purchase price if repairs are needed. This clause can also specify that the seller must fix any problems before you purchase the house. Take advantage of these professionals, at the end of the day they can save you a lot of time, hassle and money.
The Auxilium Team offers a complimentary consultation to start your home buying process; contact us today at 250-590-6520 (toll-free 1-855-590-6520). You can also visit us at 307 Goldstream Avenue during regular business hours. We can arrange an appointment evenings or weekends, to work with you.
Auxilium Mortgage Corporation is based in Victoria, BC and works with clients locally and across Canada. The Auxilium team has over 100 years of combined financial experience and access to dozens of lenders to help you meet your goals.
This post reflects the best available information at the time of writing/last update. In order to ensure that you have the most up-to-date information, contact us to confirm the details for your specific situation.
Updated March 2018
This list originally appeared as part of 35 Questions to Ask When Buying a Home. See the entire updated list:
3 Questions to Ask When Buying a Home
6 Questions to Ask About Financing When Buying a Home
4 Questions to Ask About Your Credit When Buying a Home
3 Questions to Ask About Mortgage Payments When Buying a Home
5 Questions to Ask About Working With a Mortgage Broker
2 Questions to Ask About Insurance When Buying a Home
5 Questions to Ask About Closing Details When Buying a Home