Eight tips for first-time buy­ers

Real es­tate agent Kelli Tynes-har­ring­ton gets real about how to avoid mak­ing mis­takes while shop­ping for a home.

The Coast - Homes Halifax - - Expert Advice -

1Con­sider var­i­ous neigh­bour­hoods be­yond what you ini­tially think you want. A 15- to 20-minute com­mute to work can save you thou­sands on a mort­gage.

2I can’t stress how im­por­tant it is to have a buy­ers’ rep­re­sen­ta­tive when you’re pur­chas­ing your first home. A pro­fes­sional real es­tate agent guides you through the process and pro­tects your in­ter­ests. Many buy­ers mis­tak­enly think they’ll get a bet­ter price ne­go­ti­at­ing di­rectly with the seller or the seller’s agent. This is not true, and first-time buy­ers are at an ex­treme dis­ad­van­tage with­out ex­pe­ri­ence and knowl­edge of the process.

3Buy­ers should re­main prag­matic about their choices and try not to get too emo­tion­ally in­volved in the prop­erty.

4Re­main open to do­ing ren­o­va­tions and avoid look­ing at the shiny stuff in a house—stain­less steel ap­pli­ances, gran­ite coun­ters, back­splash. Se­ri­ously con­sider the po­ten­tial that a house pos­sesses. A lit­tle paint and a small bath­room reno will go a long way.

5Don’t over­spend on your first home, but also ex­pect to use most of what you’ve been ap­proved for. Be pre­pared for clos­ing costs and deed trans­fer tax.

Often buy­ers don’t have nearly enough liq­uid cash for in­spec­tions, lawyers and de­posits.

6Hire qual­i­fied in­spec­tors and ask your re­al­tor which in­spec­tions should be in­cluded with your con­tract. A sim­ple house in­spec­tion isn’t enough any­more.

7Ex­pect your new home to have some de­fi­cien­cies and be OK with that. Un­less it’s brand-new, there is no per­fect home. If you are pet­ri­fied to do re­pairs or main­te­nance, then you’re not ready for home own­er­ship.

8Al­ways con­sider what will ap­peal to the next owner. A two-bed­room condo is eas­ier to sell than a twobed­room house. A back­yard may not be im­por­tant to you, but it is a must to most buy­ers with chil­dren. Buy­ers plan to own their first home for a long time but often they sell within five years.

Kelli Tynes-har­ring­ton ad­vises buy­ers to be open-minded and prag­matic.

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