Once you figure out what you can afford to pay for a house and obtain a pre-qualified mortgage, you are ready to start your search. There are a variety of sources you can use to find the home that is right for you:
Begin on the Internet. With just a few clicks of the mouse, home buyers can search through hundreds of online listings, view virtual tours, and sort through dozens of photographs.
Check out real estate websites, such as http://www.remax.ca for information and pictures of a wide range of properties. This site allows you to narrow your search by location, price, number of bedrooms and other features.
The amount of information available online is large and growing. Refine your property search to specific features you want. Are you looking for a lake view? Pet friendly condo? Three car garage? When you physically view homes you have selected, it's just a validation process.
Take advantage of property match services provided by your RE/MAX agent. Email alerts will keep you abreast of the newest listings and eliminate the need to manually check the Web again and again for updates. These can also be sent to your Blackberry, cell phone or other device. RE/MAX market reports, how-tos and other information can give you the foundation for an informed online home search.
Newspapers and real estate magazines. Check the new homes section in daily newspapers or look for real estate magazines available at newsstands, convenience stores and other outlets. These free publications feature pictures and brief descriptions of a variety of homes.
Visit open houses and new home developments. You will learn a lot by getting out and seeing what is on the market.
Work with a RE/MAX agent. For most buyers, a real estate agent is key to finding the right home.
Your RE/MAX Agent
No one will play a more important role in helping you find a home than your RE/MAX agent. His or her job is to:
Help you find the ideal home.
Write an offer to purchase.
Negotiate on your behalf to help you get the best possible deal.
Provide you with important information about the community, arrange and coordinate the home inspection and essentially save you time, trouble and money.
Good real estate agents will listen to your wants and needs and arrange to show only those homes that fit your particular parameters. Bring a digital camera so you can look at photos later.
You will have a lot of questions that your RE/MAX agent can answer such as - how should I decide how much to offer for a home? How does the negotiation process work?
What Should You Buy?
Assessing your needs. As you start searching for a home, you need to think about your needs both now and in the future. Here are some things to consider:
Types of homes
There are many types of homes to choose from and each has its advantages and disadvantages. Think about your needs before making a decision. Don't forget to look beyond the walls. The environment surrounding your home can be almost as important as the environment inside of it.
The most popular style and the most solid investment. It is a free-standing home which sits on its own lot thereby offering a greater degree of privacy.
A single-family home that is joined to another one by a common wall. It can offer many of the advantages of a single-family detached home and is usually less expensive to buy and maintain.
Two units — one above the other or side by side. The owner usually lives in one unit and rents the other.
Row House or Townhouse
One of several types of single-family homes joined by common walls. It offers less privacy than a single-family detached home but still provides a separate outdoor space. These homes can cost less to buy and maintain.
A factory-built single-family home that is transported to your chosen location and placed on a surface-mounted foundation. The term manufactured home has replaced the term "mobile home".
Also a factory-built home constructed in compliance with local building codes. The home is typically shipped to your location in two or more sections. It may or may not have a longitudinal sub-frame.
Refers to a form of legal ownership as opposed to a style of construction. Condominiums can be high-rise residential buildings, townhouse complexes, individual houses and low-rise residential buildings. Condominiums are also known as stratas in British Columbia.