Looking to buy a home? Here are five essential tips for making the process as smooth as possible.

Get your finances in order.

Start by getting a full picture of your credit. Meet with your mortgage specialist and see where your credit stands and work towards fixing any problems you find. Next, find a suitable lender and get pre-approved. This will put you in a better position to make a serious offer when you do find the right house and ensures you can afford the houses you are looking at before you get yourself and the home sellers too excited.

Find a house you can afford.

Whether you’re purchasing this property solo, as a couple, or a family, it’s so important to be honest with yourself and with each other when it comes to finances. We suggest a spreadsheet with detailed monthly expenses, and if it helps, round the numbers up! For example, if you know you’re heating bill is going to go down in the summer, but you’ve budgeted for a December bill, you come out ahead! Take that little bit of extra cash and put it away in a Christmas fund, or an Emergency Car Fund! We emphasize it’s much easier to get by when you’ve got a little bit of financial comfort, rather than crossing fingers and toes that you haven’t used too much hot water or electricity. Here is a list of some of the items you may want to include on that spreadsheet: cell phone(s), hydro/NB power (hot water & electricity), property taxes, internet & cable, groceries, car payment(s), insurance (home, car, life, etc .), fuel, and extracurricular activities. Some of the start-up costs when buying home also include- land transfer tax, lawyer fees, mortgage down payment, and inspection.

Hire a professional.

While the Internet gives buyers unprecedented access to home listings and resources, many aspects of the buying process require a level of expertise you can’t pick up from surfing the web. That’s why you’re better off using a professional agent than going it alone. Your Realtor will work tirelessly on your behalf to find you the perfect home at the right price and terms for you! They have the inside track on all of the available Properties in your preferred areas of choice. All at no cost to you!

Do your homework.

Before making a bid, do some research to determine the state of the market at large. Is it more favorable for sellers or buyers? Next, look at sales trends of similar homes in the area or neighbourhood. Look at prices for the last few months. All of which your Realtor can provide you with. They will help you to come up with an asking price that’s competitive, but also realistic. Otherwise, you may end up ticking off your seller rather than negotiating.

What is important to you.

Choosing a neighbourhood is never an easy undertaking. There are many things to consider and establishing your priorities is the first place to start. Do you want to be near where you grew up, close to work, near schools, or do you have a certain spot in mind just because?