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How To Search For Your Home

search-for-your-homeSo, you’re starting the search for your home. Your first home. Before you get emotionally attached there are some logical considerations that you should make prior to making an offer. Here are a few tips to help you in the home buying process:

How to Search For Your Home

If you’re like most people, you’ll search for your home with your heart. When you started the home buying process, you may have written down a list of amenities you wanted and then, you searched for a home that best approximated your list. When you found the home that met your needs aesthetically, you fell in love.

Does that sound similar to your situation? If so, you’re not alone. Most people have this type of experience at some point during the home buying process. Home buying is not only about the neighborhood or the aesthetic appearance. It’s also about the structural integrity of the home and whether you’re receiving a good deal based upon other homes that sold in the area.

While you search for your home there are some common resources that you may want to use:

Consult with a Realtor. Realtors provide a wealth of information about homes for sale in an area. Realtors work with home buyers all day. They know the properties that are in the database and can inform home buyers based upon their preferences.

Inquire with Friends, Family and Co-Workers. Friends, family or co-workers can often recommend homes that are in good neighborhoods and that have been well-kept in general. If they know a person selling a home that you may like, they can recommend you.

Search often provides information about homes. You can view the number of bedrooms, bathrooms, amenities, price and location in the home with this search tool.

Other Resources. You can also drive around neighborhoods you like searching for “For Sale” signs, or you can look in newspapers for listings. Some people also like to go to new developments to look at homes. This is also a good option.

During the search process, you may want to consider these tips for your search:

Maintain a History of Your Search. During the search for your home, you’ll visit many homes. Keep a list of pertinent information from each home. The list may consist of the home’s utility costs, energy rating, annual property tax costs, homeowner’s association fees, major repairs required and photographs if allowed. The CMHC Home Hunting Comparison Worksheet can help you organized your list.

Determine the Energy Rating. Energy efficiency is important in a home. A good energy efficiency rating can save a homeowner tens to hundreds of dollars every month. Since the rating is rated on a scale from 0 to 100, you want to select a home that’s rated closer to 100 to keep expenses low.

Determine the Terms of the Home’s Existing Mortgage. Some homeowners prefer to keep the terms on the seller’s existing mortgage. If you like the terms, ask your realtor or attorney to help you negotiate to take over the mortgage from the existing homeowner. In this instance, consider a Vendor Take Back Mortgage. This may help accelerate the deal and put the keys in your hands faster.

Take Your Time Making a Decision. A home purchase is final and binding. Even if the home seems perfect, try to overcome those feelings of excitement and make a critical assessment of the home.

Visit the home on different days and at various times throughout the day. The social climate of the neighborhood may change based upon the time you visit. Engage in conversation with the neighbours and imagine yourself in the neighborhood. If any part of this process makes you feel uncomfortable, this home or neighborhood may not be the right one for you.

Gather Housing Trend Information. The latest housing trend information can be gathered from CMHC statistics. Information on national, provincial and local information can be found online through CMHC’s Market Analysis Centre.

Once you find the home of your dreams, begin by asking questions. Questions may include:

1. How long has the home been on the market?

2. What are the latest home buying trends in the area? The CMHC is a good resource for this information.

3. What are the property taxes on the home?

4. Are there any homeowner’s association fees or condo association fees?

5. What are the average utility costs?

6. Are there any structural damage issues to the home?

7. What was the date of the last repair on the roof?

8. What type of electrical wiring is in the home? Is it up to code?

9. What type of pipes is in the home? Are they prone to leaks, corrosion or other problems?

10. Is the home energy efficient?

11. Are there any pest problems such as termites, ants, rodents or other pests that may make the home uninhabitable?

12. Is there any mold, mildew, water damage or any other problems that may make the home a health hazard?

These are just a few questions you should ask to ensure you obtain a good deal. While this is not the fun part of the process, it’s necessary. If you ask the difficult questions upfront, you’ll avoid buying a home that needs exorbitant repairs. This can be a significant hardship on people who did not ask the seller for concessions during negotiations.

Since there is no money-back guarantee on homes, buyers should also verify the seller’s answers to these questions by hiring a home inspector. The best way to ensure you receive valid information is to hire a home inspector. This will provide peace of mind and leverage for negotiations.

What was the one major factor that helped you in the search for your home? Please leave your comment in the box below!