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The Ultimate Guide to Buying Your Home in Kitchener-Waterloo

New home owners

Buying a home is one of the great moments you have in life. Though it brings a lot of joy and a sense of accomplishments, it is a serious decision that requires a lot of planning and proper execution. Before buying a home, you have to put in a lot of work, do a lot of research, put in some serious thought, and you need to find resources like a real estate agent that can provide valuable support, and legal and financial experience.

If you’re ready to buy a home in K-W, we’ll cover everything you need to know in the beginning stages, including:

  • Where to start when considering home ownership

  • Preparations to becoming a homeowner

  • Why you need to visit multiple open houses

  • Resources you’ll need as a potential homeowner

Let’s start with where you need to start at the beginning of this long process.

Where to start when considering home ownership

When getting ready to buy a home, you’ll want to devote a lot of time and attention to researching the neighbourhood, types of homes, and market pricing so you already have an idea in mind of what you’re able to get, and know you’ll make the best decision when you’re ready to buy.

It is important to research the type of home and neighbourhood that will suit your lifestyle ideally, increasing your enjoyment for the future. When getting ready to buy, here are some initial questions you should ask yourself:

  • Is home ownership for you?

  • Are you financially ready?

  • What type home is right for you?

  • What local resources, entertainment, and restaurants are important to you? How close are they to your potential home?

  • How close do you need/want to be to where you work?

  • How does the buying process work?

  • How many bedrooms minimum are necessary for your home?

  • Do you require outdoor space?

  • Where do you spend most of your time outside of the home? Are there any places you travel frequently that may affect where you want to live?

  • Are you buying a 10-year house? A 20-year? A forever home?

  • How long do you have before you need to move? Are there any time constraints that may affect how choosy you can be?

When thinking about whether home ownership is right for you, you’ll want to evaluate your lifestyle, what is most important to you, and how dedicated you are to chores and upkeep. A home requires much more care than renting, and that will all fall on you as the homeowner. Before purchasing, you’ll want to make sure the rewards of homeownership are worth the added responsibilities.

If you decide that you do want to be a homeowner, you will want to consider your finances. Knowing where you are financially is important for understanding what your budget will be for your home. This is one of the most complicated aspects of the home buying process, so be sure to read about how to determine a realistic budget for your home.

With a budget in mind, you can start seriously looking for your home. Begin by researching the homes in your range within the general area you’d like to buy in. This will help you get an idea of the features you like and dislike, which will help you find a home that suits you best.

More than that, it will help you understand the market in your region. The sooner you start this process, the better, so that by the time you are actually ready to buy, you’ll be able to buy at a good time for a good price.

For more on how to make the small decisions about your future home, be sure to read more in how to choose the right home for your future. Now that you’ve done the initial research, you’ll need to start making the proper preparations.

Preparations to becoming a homeowner

Once you’ve done some of the research, gotten an idea of what you want, and narrowed down your options, you’ll want to start preparing for buying your home. Before actually purchasing, you’ll need to do the following things:

  1. Calculate how much you can spend on the house

  2. Save up for an appropriate down payment

  3. Learn about all the neighbourhoods in your region

  4. Determine at least a 3 month period within which you want to move

  5. Make a comprehensive list of all the features you want in a house, and the ones you actually need

  6. Start looking at houses online that roughly match what you want - and note what you do and don’t like about them

  7. Start going to open houses to see homes in person

  8. Contact a real estate agent to help you find homes that meet your criteria

By making sure you structure your purchase to work within your financial options, what you desire most, and what’s available, you’ll be able to get the best value for your purchase.

Before you seriously consider buying your home, you need to work on your buying budget for the new house, considering the expenses you have and the ones you’ll need to add as a homeowner. Having these calculations in mind when looking for your ideal home will help keep you within your budget while getting you great value.

If mortgages are new to you, learn more with Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s useful step-by-step guide to home buying. Once you have a general idea of what you want and what you can afford, it’s time to start going to some open houses.

Why you need to go to multiple open houses

As a buyer, there is no downside to going to an open house. It can help you decide on home features, styles, and materials you like or dislike. You are also able to envision yourself within the home. In many cases, being able to see the home can help you make or break the deal. Here are a few reasons why it’s important to visit many open houses:

  • Seeing a home in person makes the process more real

  • Seeing multiple homes will prevent you from jumping on buying the first house you see

  • Looking for flaws in homes you already know aren’t perfect will help you see homes that suit you in a more realistic way - rather than thinking they are perfect

  • The more homes you see, the more unique features you get to witness

  • Open houses help you get a better idea of whether you could see yourself living in a home you’re considering - the more you go to, the better you will be at determining this

  • Attending open houses while knowing the price of a home helps ingrain how much homes in your area are worth, and help you determine whether the home you end up choosing is a good value or not

Going to an open house or two every weekend may be time consuming, but it’s worth it in the long run, as you will be much better equipped to make the right decision. Once you’ve done this and know exactly what it is you’re looking for, it’s time to connect with the people that can help you make that home yours; the best - and first - place to start would be a real estate agent.

Resources you’ll need as a potential homeowner

There are a few different people that can make buying a home more efficient, while also ensuring that the process is done legally, cost effectively, and smoothly. Your real estate agent is arguably the most important, as they will be your main resource and point of contact, navigating the process for you.

However, there are a few other professionals that can be useful to have with you throughout the process:

  • Lender or mortgage broker

  • Lawyer

  • Home inspector

  • Insurance broker

  • Appraiser

  • Land surveyor

These resources are indispensable when buying a home, but the first place to start is always with a real estate agent. They will walk you through the process from start to finish, helping you navigate home buying. If you’re not convinced you need one, read up on how you can benefit from a real estate agent.

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