For most people, buying their first home is a major life decision that should not be taken lightly. It is the first time in your life that you are going to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars, and most likely you will need to take out a mortgage which will commit you to making payments every month. This can be a very intimidating process for first time buyers and even for people that are buying their 2nd and third homes. Dealing with mortgage brokers or bank employees, realtors®, and lawyers can scare a lot of people because there is always a bit of negotiation required to get the best interest rate, or the best commission rate from your realtor® if you are selling.
The best way to put your mind at ease when you decide to buy or sell, is to arm yourself with all the knowledge you need to make an informed decision. This way you will have no regrets once the transaction is complete and you are in your new home, or enjoying the money from your sale. There are numerous sources out there that you can go to for information.
The first thing you should do is find out where you sit from a financial point of view. How much money can you afford to spend on a home? To get started use this handy mortgage calculator to get a rough idea where you stand. We highly recommend talking to a mortgage broker instead your bank representative. This is because the mortgage broker actually works for you and not the bank. They have your best interest in mind unlike the bank representative who may not even specialize in mortgages. The mortgage broker has access to at least 30 lenders that all want your business ( if your financial situation is sound). However, you do need to make sure you understand all the terms of the mortgage before signing on the dotted line. In particular, you need to pay attention to prepayment privileges and penalties if you decide to pay off the mortgage early.
For all the statistics you could ever want visit the REALTORS® Association of Edmonton website. They have the following information:
- Average and median sale prices for Edmonton for the last several years including as recent as last month.
- Average number of days it took to sell a property in Edmonton
- Number of sales for each month
- Number of active listings
- Separate information for single family homes, apartment style condos, and townhouses
Once you have an idea what the market is like from a price perspective, you may want to contact a realtor. You can buy or sell a home without a realtor if you are the type of person that likes to do research and already does stuff like buys and sells their own stocks, and is generally good with financial matters. However, most people should use a realtor especially if they are buying. Here are some advantages:
- It cost you nothing to use a realtor® when buying a home – the commission comes from the seller.
- Why not use all their experience to find the best property for you – they have bought and sold thousands of homes
- Most are very friendly and eager to work with you
If you do decide to use a realtor®, they will help you to decide which area of town you want to live in and help you to see the pros and cons of each community and each home you decide to view. If you are selling, they will give you all the information about the state of the market right now in your neighbourhood. Real estate is all about location, and your house could be worth more or less than you think based on what has happened in the last 3 months in your community. Experienced realtors® at RE/MAX can help you with all these decisions because they have probably seen every problem that can possibly come up during a real estate transaction, and they will know what to do. They handle all of the negotiations with the other realtor® and know how to keep the emotions out of the deal so that both sides of the transaction get a fair deal. If you are looking in Calgary you can trust Carmen Paradis also from RE/MAX real estate
After the deal is done, you will need to choose a lawyer to handle the money and deal with the land titles office. Make sure you use a lawyer that specializes in real estate law, since you want everything to go smoothly and close on time.