It’s official: January is upon us. Have you set any resolutions for 2019? If you’re planning to purchase a home in the near future, why not resolve to simplify the process? Getting organized can take a lot of stress out of buying a house or condo, and one of the best ways to do it is by setting specific goals and milestones.
If you plan to buy a home this year, here are five resolutions to help you make a smooth, low-hassle purchase.
1) Create a down payment savings plan
Don’t have the money to put down on a home? Consider kicking off 2019 with a plan to save. Start by determining how much house or condo you can afford. A careful assessment of your income and projected expenses can help you create a loose budget. Next, figure out what you’ll need to set aside for your down payment (typically 20 per cent of your purchase price). Think about any potential steps you can take to reach this goal. Can you cut down on unnecessary expenses? Take on some part-time or freelance work? What about setting up an automated savings plan? Withdrawing cash from your RRSP is another option—to learn more, read up on the federal government’s Home Buyers’ Plan.
2) Shape up your credit
Bad credit can have a negative impact on your ability to buy a home. Fortunately, there are ways of improving your score. Begin by pulling your credit report. If you see any errors, report them immediately. The next step is working to shape up your current accounts. Keep your balances low, pay your bills on time, and make sure that the payments you make are above the minimums. Think carefully before cancelling cards you rarely use—keeping a good account open can actually work in your favour. In some cases, you may be able to lower the interest rates for existing cards by making a call to customer service.
3) Obtain pre-approval
Sellers take home buyers who have been pre-approved for a mortgage seriously. A pre-approval letter represents a lender’s commitment to providing you with a certain amount of financing. From a seller’s perspective, it means you have the resources to make it to closing. Needless to say, your ability to cross the finish line can make any offer you put forth more appealing. For this reason, it’s critical to speak to a lender about pre-approval before you begin your home search.
4) Achieve clarity around your home hunt
A new year provides the perfect opportunity for a fresh start. If you’re looking to change your surroundings, this is a great time to find the house or condo of your dreams. Unfortunately, many buyers waste time looking at homes that won’t meet their budget or preferences. Luckily, creating the right criteria ahead of time can help ensure that you only view suitable properties. Your best bet is to make a list of desired features, amenities, and neighbourhoods. During your search, aim to find a home that checks off as many of your boxes as possible.
5) Find a great local agent
It’s one of the most important resolutions a home buyer can make. When you’re looking for a real estate agent, don’t settle. Find someone with appropriate experience, credentials, and neighbourhood knowledge. Conducting interviews can help ensure that you hire the right person. Be sure to ask each prospective professional for references and a breakdown of their fees, as well as some basic information about their approach to home buying.
Ready to purchase a new home? Get in touch—we’d love to start a conversation about your home-buying needs!
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