A Helpful Guide for First Time Home Buyers in Fredericton and Oromocto

March 17th, 2020

As a professional REALTOR® in Fredericton, I have helped many first time buyers into a home. It’s a fun and exciting time in their lives and one I would not trade for the world. Having the experience of a professional REALTOR® beside you can make all the difference during the home buying process. We understand the pressure of being a first time home buyer and help our clients clear away the fog to make sure the property is a sound investment, along with suiting their needs. I have sold hundreds of homes over the years, the tips provided give a perfect overview of what to think about when making such a large purchase.

Tip #1: What do you want in your first home?

When you’re a first time home buyer, it can be hard to know what you really want and what features will be beneficial to your lifestyle. Do your research on Fredericton real estate! Since there are typically many homes on the market at any given time, it’s important to narrow your search. 

Here are three questions to make your house hunt more efficient:

  • Where do you want to live?

Investigate different communities and neighbourhoods that could be a good fit for you. Would you prefer to be located in a central suburb or on the outskirts of town where you could potentially have more land? What things (schools, shopping centers, public transportation, recreation facilities, etc.) do you consider important to have close by?

  • What type of home do you want?

There are several styles of homes. Semi-detached homes share a common wall that separates the houses; these are best known as townhouses or duplex style homes. Detached homes are completely separate and consist of three main styles: bungalow, split-level or multi-storey homes. Deciding which one will best suit your needs helps refine your search.

  • What are your must haves and deal breakers?

List your absolute necessities and your nice-to-haves in a home. This will help you distinguish a suitable price point and could even help settle a tie breaker when it’s time to choose your home. Some important features could be: having a garage or a basement, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, extra storage space, a spacious yard or fireplace. You should also consider features you absolutely don’t want in your home. Deal breakers could be practical (like mold) or personal (like stairs).

Once you’ve considered your answers to these questions, it’s time to get another step closer to buying your dream home! 

Tip #2: Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage

Getting pre-approved for a mortgage may be the single most important part of preparing to buy your first home. This process will help you understand how much you can afford to spend and can often help you lock in an interest rate for a period of time, which could help save you money in the future. If you end up finding your perfect home and want to make an offer, being pre-approved makes you an attractive buyer, often increasing your chances of making it yours!

Steps to get pre-approved for a mortgage:

  1. Consult with a trusted mortgage specialist who can help you compare rates and terms, as there are several options to choose from (fixed-rate, variable rate, combination rate, etc.).
  2. Since there are many factors that contribute to your eligibility for a mortgage, complete an application to see how much you qualify for. Your down payment, income and other financial obligations will help determine how much you can comfortably afford to spend. 
  3. Provide proper documentation to your mortgage specialist of your income and down payment to support your pre-approval application.
  4. Get a copy of your mortgage pre-approval. This is a powerful tool to have when negotiating as a first time home buyer, demonstrating to sellers that you’re serious about your offer.

Tip #3: Realtor or No Realtor?

Many buyers debate whether to hire a realtor or attempt the buying/selling process alone. Your home is one of your most valuable assets, so it makes sense to work with a trusted professional at The Right Choice Realty! A popular assumption is that working with a real estate agent costs a lot of money, when in reality, their commission is paid by the seller in almost all cases. Having our REALTORS® on your side can help you avoid overpaying for a home. We will represent and protect your interests as a first time home buyer, and we have a team full of great negotiators who will also assist you with all of the confusing paperwork!

That said, finding a realtor that is right for you and understands your buying goals can be tough. Read our blog post on the “10 Qualities of a Great Real Estate Agent” to help find a suitable match. The REALTORS® at The Right Choice Realty will provide you with key market insight and helpful advice to save both time and money on your first home purchase. 

Tip #4: Start Your Search!

People tend to spend time browsing the internet looking at homes before they even start to get serious about buying. This is where the real fun begins! The REALTORS® at The Right Choice Realty will help you find homes that you just won’t see online. There are many desirable homes that are often sold before being listed online, including private sales and expired listings. Our savvy REALTORS® know about these listings and can show you first! Working alongside our savvy team of REALTORS®, you can be confident you have complete insight into the market and each property you are considering. 

Tip #5: Make a Smart Offer and Negotiate

Once you’ve found your perfect first home, it’s time to make an offer! This can be scary and exciting all at once, but our REALTORS® will provide you with a smooth, stress-free experience. 

Here’s what to expect from the offer process: 

  • First, we’ll help you decide on a price, terms and conditions. In order to determine a fair price, your REALTOR® will conduct a Comprehensive Market Analysis. This consists of comparing active and expired listings, recently sold homes and other data to determine the market value of the home.
  • Next, we’ll prepare an offer, creating a legal document that protects you throughout your home purchase.
  • Together, we’ll review the offer and your REALTOR® will explain all the details, terms and clauses so you’ll fully understand. We want you to feel confident about what you’re agreeing to.
  • Finally, your trusted REALTOR® will present the offer to the seller and negotiate on your behalf.

Tip #6: Condition Removal and Inspection

Once the seller has agreed to the purchase price and the terms within your offer, you now have either a firm or conditional offer in place. To make it a firm offer, you may need to satisfy certain outstanding conditions.

A common condition in a buying offer is a home inspection. Inspectors conduct a thorough walk-through inspection of the house, scrutinizing every detail of the home to save you from unpleasant surprises after you move in. The Right Choice Realty can connect you with qualified home inspectors who can help reassure you that you’re making a smart first home purchase. Read our blog post on “Tips for Hiring a Home Inspector in Fredericton” for additional assistance with this.

Tip #7: Preparing for Closing Day

Your dream home is nearly yours! The last step is aptly named closing day. Typically home buyers can expect anywhere from one to two months between when the offer is finalized and closing day, although this varies depending on circumstance. Your REALTOR® will work with you and the seller to arrange a convenient closing day for both parties. 

Here are a few details to take care of before your closing date:

  • Ensure you and your REALTOR® have provided your lawyer with all of the proper documentation for your purchase (agreement, waivers, insurance, down payment, etc.).
  • Make arrangements to have your down payment and closing costs available a week prior to your closing date.
  • Plan your move, secure a moving truck and professional movers (or friends!) and make arrangements to change your address with any necessary parties early.
  • Ensure your home insurance is settled before your closing date; you can request proof of insurance at your financial institute in advance. 

Being a first time home buyer is a huge milestone in people’s lives. Our team at The Right Choice Realty is always thrilled to be a part of helping our clients with this journey. We can help make the process exciting instead of overwhelming. Contact us today for all your realty needs in the Fredericton area!

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