Buying a home can be exciting and, at the same time, stressful given it’s not something you do very often. There’s a lot to contemplate and often homebuyers completely forget about pretty important details. Here are five things you want to keep top of mind while house hunting.
1. Confirm whether any school boundary changes are being considered for your desired neighbourhood as catchment areas are not carved in stone. Call the local school board to get the 4-1-1 as the board’s website may not include all updated boundaries until one week before the start of the school year. This is the best way to avoid the frustration, anger and even heartache you’ll feel if you’ve specifically bought a home in a coveted district only to discover it has changed.
2. Postpone the purchase of big-ticket items like a new car, appliances or furniture until after you move into your new home. Your credit is monitored right up to the day you close and the keys are in your hand.
3. Add a personal touch when there are multiple offers. In a competitive bid situation, your offer might look very similar to another in price and terms. This is where a letter could give you an edge. It’s an opportunity to connect with the seller and appeal to their soft side, or clear up any confusion about financing. However, if your offer isn’t one of the best, the personal touch is likely not going to result in a happy ending.
4. Drive by the home in the morning, afternoon and night before making an offer. Get out of your car, walk around and even talk to area residents, if you can, to get a better feel for the neighbourhood as it will play a pivotal role in your life and impact resale value of the property.
5. Check the drive time distance to work and test run the potential commute. A long trip can negatively affect your mental health, relationships, bank balance and overall quality of life, so don’t take it lightly. Before committing to a home purchase, give your prospective commute a dry run during the time you’ll be driving. If you’re comparing two properties in different locations, assign a commuting cost to each to see which location is the better deal. You may also want to determine ahead of time what makes an unacceptable commute and pass on those places.