Taking the plunge to purchase your first home? This is the 3rd and final installment in our first time home buyers guide from our friend Julia. Read the first post on transitioning to home ownership here and the second post, on shopping for your dream home here.
Finding a home you want to live in is both nerve-wracking and exciting. There could be others who want the same home as you or you could have some difficulty negotiating with the sellers. In my case, my husband and I were lucky in that we were the only bidder on the home. We trusted our real estate agent in preparing our offer and gave her two numbers — how much we’d like to have the home for and what we would be willing to pay for it. In the end, she negotiated based on what other homes were selling for in the area and helped us seal the deal after a few counter-offers. As part of the offer, I also got to keep the chandeliers I loved so much when I visited the home.
Offers of purchase typically include fixtures and appliances, the amount you’ll be depositing, the closing day and other conditions that can include having a satisfactory home inspection report or a lender approval of mortgage financing. If these conditions aren’t met, you can back out of buying the home.
Contact your lender to begin the process of completing your mortgage application. Your lender will go through all the kinds of mortgages you can get, what kind of terms you can get, interest rates, amortization periods, and payment schedules available. This was the most overwhelming part of the homeownership process, which I consulted my older siblings about and other homeowner friends. Be sure to ask your mortgage lender any questions you may have. Don’t be afraid to get the lender to go over the different mortgage scenarios.
You’ll also need to hire a lawyer to handle the final paperwork. On the recommendation of our real estate agent, my husband and I hired a person who made our closing day go smoothly. She handled most of our money matters and was able to register our home in our names. She then gave us the deed, handed us the keys and off we were to our new home.
Because it was our first home, my husband and I chose to move our belongings ourselves rather than hire a company to do it. We figured that since we had not yet accumulated a lot of possessions, it made sense to do it with the help of friends and family while we were still young and quite able. We also bribed them with beer and pizza. If this isn’t your style, there are plenty of movers available to help on Kijiji.
One last thing before you relax
Because I can be a little paranoid at times, I asked my husband to change the door locks as an extra security measure. I wanted piece of mind knowing we were the only ones who had keys to our new home. It’s easy to do too. You can visit the local hardware store where they’ll have a few options, or hire a locksmith.
Have you bought a home? What details caught you off guard? Let us know in the comments!