Thinking of diving into the real estate market?

The First 3 Steps To Buying Your Home

1. GET PRE-APPROVED

Knowing your budget is a crucial first step in the home buying process. Having a firm pre-approval (not an online guesstimate) from your mortgage broker will set you up for success when it comes to making an offer. I highly recommend going with a mortgage broker over dealing with the bank. Mortgage brokers will rate hunt for you, they are well-versed in the ever-changing lending approvals landscape, and they work "realtor hours", which means you can get a hold of them outside of banking hours and over the weekends. 

2. DETERMINE YOUR NEEDS VS. WANTS

Why are you making a change? Are you looking to own instead of rent? Do you want more space (indoors or outdoors)? Do you have your heart set on a different neighbourhood? Knowing your motivations will help you make smart buying decisions for the long term. 

If you are buying with a partner, determine what are deal breakers vs. nice-to-haves. I also recommend having a discussion about a cohabitation agreement if you aren't married (see my post here about tackling that conversation) or a co-ownership agreement with fellow investors. I can personally speak to how this can keep a situation amicable if things go sideways. 

3. HIRE A REALTOR

One of the most important steps! This professional will be advising, negotiating and facilitating one of the biggest purchases of your life. I would suggest interviewing a couple of realtors—most people in Vancouver know a realtor (or five 😆). If you don’t know anyone, reach out to your network for some referrals. For anyone who gives you a referral, make sure to ask them what they liked and did not like about their experience with that realtor. When meeting with agents, I suggest meeting at least three. Ask them about their expertise and experience. I never get asked these, but I think it's really important to know ahead of making an offer: what is your negotiation style? How will you help me be successful in multiple offers? How will you support me as a first-time buyer? What is your reputation and relationship with other agents?

The real estate market in the lower mainland is competitive and you want to ensure the person representing you is professional and capable of achieving success for your real estate goals.