Buying Info

Let Me Help You Every Step Of The Way

Choosing to buy a home is one of the biggest decisions you will make in your life. When purchasing a home, you are faced with a multitude of decisions.  Finding that perfect home is not an easy task and obtaining a mortgage can be a complex and tiring process.

The whole buying process requires a lot of planning, and instating the help of a knowledgeable REALTOR® to make the process run smoothly is invaluable.  I will assist you every step of the way to make the process of purchasing a home in Abbotsford or within the Fraser Valley, easier, more enjoyable, less time-consuming and less expensive than if you undertook this challenge on your own. I will help to prepare you so that sellers perceive you as a preferred buyer, help you locate and assess properties for sale in Abbotsford or the area you choose that match your specifications, and I will guide you through the myriad of details attending the actual purchase.

Once you have made the commitment to reach that home buying goal, the rewards you can achieve are unquestionable.

Here are some tips to help you begin:

1. Figure out how much you can afford.

Falling in love with a house you can't afford can be heartbreaking. Avoid disappointment by figuring out your budget before you start looking. 

First, decide how much you can afford for your down payment and put this money aside. This amount is at minimum 5% of the purchase price of the home you are planning to buy. The Home Buyers Plan lets you withfraw up to $25,000 per person ($50,000 for couples) from your RRSP's tax-free, to be repaid over 15 years. Check the CRA website for a list of exclusions. The bigger your down payment, the less principal you will owe, and the less interest you will pay. 

Don't forget about closing costs, like insurance, legal fess, homes inspection costs, land registration and land transfer fees. Most lenders will insist on Title Insurance as well, which can be approximately $200-$400. Add those to your moving expenses and service hook-up fees, and they can add up surprisingly fast. 

Your monthly housing expenses (mortgage, tax, heat etc.) shouldn't use up more than approximately 35% of your income. (If your combined monthly income is $5,000, for example. 35% of that is $1,750.) If you have car payments, or credit card debt, the rule of thumb is that deb repayment shouldn't be more than approximately 42% of your income. 

2. Establish the Reasons You Want to Buy a Home and Visualize your Dream Home. 

Your next step in the home buying process is to define the reasons why you want to purchase a new home. To stop paying rent? To start building equity? To have a place of your own? To raise a family? To move up to a bigger house? To downsize?

Determine the style of home that will best suit your lifestyle and your stage of life.  Be specific.

Develop a needs vs. wants list.  Everyone has a picture of their ideal home.  Begin the list with items you absolutely need like adequate room, garage space and number of bedrooms and bathrooms. How much space do you really need? Does your situation require a one-level home, or are stairs acceptable?  Do you want a yard? Basic needs should be considered first.  After these have been established, you can consider additional features if you can manage these benefits financially.  With such a list in your hands, you're less likely to be caught up in the excitement of the pursuit.  You will have a good idea of what you want, the features within your price range, and whether or not you can afford those additional items.

Determine the Fraser Valley area in which you would like to live. Think of yourself as zeroing in on a target, going from the general to the specific. Consider the area (Glenn Mountain, Eagle Mountain, Sandy Hill, Bateman, McMillan, the Highlands); neighbourhood (older and settled or brand new).  Check out the neighbourhoods you are considering and ask around.  What amenities does the area have to offer?  Are there schools, churches, parks, walking trails or grocery stores within reach?  Consider visiting schools in the area if you have children.  How will you be affected by a new commute to work?  Are there infrastructure projects in development?  All of these factors will influence the way you experience your new home, so ensure you are well acquainted with the surrounding area before purchasing.

3. Meet With A Realtor

It's important to partner with a REALTOR you feel completely comfortable with. I can help you find your dream home, that meets both your needs and your budget. I will set you up with viewing appointments, andalso help bring clarity to the complicated process of buying a home. As your professional Realtor. I will work tirelessly on your behalf, and you can be assured that I will represent your best interests.

I am happy to recommend other reputable professionals that I work closely with, such as mortgage brokers or lenders, lawyers, home inspectors and insurance brokers, who you can depend on as part of your buying team.

4. Loan Pre-Approval

Once you have narrowed down your list, and you have put some money aside for a down payment (this amount is at minimum 5% of the purchase price), you are ready to shop around for the best rates and get pre-approved with a local mortgage broker. While getting pre-approved may sound daunting, it usually just involves 10 - 20 minutes on the phone, getting an idea of what you can afford.  When you're pre-approved, this means that a lender has reviewed your credit history, verified your assets and employment, and has approved your loan (subject to certain verifications) before you've found a home to purchase.

Pre-approval gives you substantial leverage: Sellers immediately see you as a serious buyer, and not only will you know the exact price range you can afford, but you'll also be able to negotiate a better deal and move more quickly when you see a house you like in Abbotsford or the Fraser Valley.  Banks and financial institutions have developed many programs catering specifically to home buyers. Once you review your needs and objectives with a Mortgage Broker, you'll be one step closer to purchasing your home.

Getting pre-approved is a good way of finding out how much you can borrow, and it speeds up the process once you've found the home you want to buy.

I will be happy to refer you to a local mortgage professional with an excellent reputation and track record for successfully acquiring your loan approval.

5. Let Me find the perfect home for you

It is a very time-consuming process to view every home available that meets your needs. I can do much of the work for you, by reviewing a range of properties and advising you of potential matches. I have knowledge of housing trends and prices and have access to the best possible resources and communication systems available today to help you locate homes in your neighborhood of choice.

Once you have been pre-approved and know what price range you plan to stay within, I can help you determine which properties fit your needs and wants, using the Multiple Listing Service system (MLS). I will keep you updated on new listings that meet your specifications and arrange for viewings.

Start your search now by viewing my current office listings!

6. Exclusive Buyer's Agent

As you know, I get paid for fulfilling your need for professional advice and service. Furthermore, I'm sure you can appreciate that nobody wants to work for free. Therefore, just to make sure I am giving advice to MY client and not another Realtor's client, I like to confirm that you have decided that I will be the Agent for your purchase.  To this, I have an Exclusive Buyers Agency agreement that outlines the services that I provide and how I get paid.  (I would be happy to email you a copy). 

7. Make an Offer!

You’ve found the perfect place – now it’s time to make an offer. An offer to purchase includes the purchase price you are offering, chattels to be included in the purchase (like appliances or light fixtures), the amount of the deposit, the closing date and any other conditions.  I will help you prepare your offer, and will present it to the vendor, who will either accept it, make a counter offer (which asks for a higher price or different terms), or reject it. You can accept or reject the counter offer. After you have negotiated an offer, you will need to conduct a home inspection.

8. Closing

You will need to meet with your lender to finalize your mortgage. Once you’re approved, you will need to decide what type of mortgage works best for your needs. Will you go with a fixed or variable interest rate? Will your mortgage be closed or open? What will your amortization period be? Will you make payments monthly, biweekly or weekly? Your mortgage broker or lender can help you find a mortgage that suits your needs and saves you the most money in the long term.

You are ready to sign off on ownership now. This typically takes place in a lawyer’s office.

At this point, congratulations are in order! Becoming a new homeowner is one of the most liberating things you will ever experience. There are many benefits to home ownership — pride of ownership, the ability to make home improvements, building equity, appreciation — the list goes on.

As an Abbotsford Realtor, it is my job to guide you through this complicated process, from beginning to end.  I will help you find your dream home and ensure your journey to life behind a new door is a smooth one!  Contact me today, and together we will prepare a unique plan to suit your particular needs and goals.

Rochelle Appelle
Cell: 604-302-8057
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Rochelle Appelle, Top Rated Abbotsford Real Estate Agent