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Buying a new home is an extremely exciting experience, whether it's your first or your 10th. 


There are a few etiquettes when purchasing that should be followed and your real estate agent will likely remind you of them, however, there are also a few trade secrets that you may not be aware of. 


Take these tips into consideration when purchasing your next home:


Commentary


Refrain from commentary when touring a new home, whether it be positive or negative. While buyers may not be home, there are plenty of ways for a buyer to hear what you're saying with smart home technology or nanny cams. If a buyer knows how much you love their home, they may not be willing to negotiate much on the price, whereas if they know how much you dislike about it they may be hurt and offended. 


Neighbours


Speak to the neighbours, find out what the neighbourhood is actually like, and more importantly, what they are like. You don't want to buy your dream home and find out that the neighbours are extremely nosey or practice playing the drums at 2am on a regular basis. Speaking the neighbours will give you peace of mind with regards to the area and them, it's a win-win conversation to have. 


The 85% Rule


If a home meets 85% of your requirements, it's suggested that you put in an offer. The chances of finding a home that is 100% are extremely slim. Depending on what the home is missing, chances are you can do a few small renovations and bring up to that 100% very easily. 


Agent Interviews


Having a friend or family member recommend a real estate agent to you is a great way to find someone reliable. However, it is suggested that you still interview them and ensure that their work ethic, strategies, and accessibility are what you're looking for.


Floors


Always check the floors of a home, this can tell you a lot about how well a home has been cared for. If you notice the majority of the floors are covered with area rugs, simply ask your agent remove them so you can inspect the floors carefully. 



Emotions




Buying a new home can be extremely an exciting and emotional time, however, try not to get too attached to a certain home as it can affect your business negotiations. Try to keep a clear head and think logically about the deal through all stages of the transaction. 


Buying a home can be a tricky, especially when you add in all these "rules" but having a great agent that's willing to go over and above, will help you greatly in all aspects of this process. 

 

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Buying a home is one of the most important, and expensive, purchases many of us will make, and should not be taken lightly. 


You may spend years saving up for the deposit and making sure your credit remains in good standing, then shopping lenders to get the best rates. And yes, you are doing everything correctly, however, there are a few other things that you should and shouldn't be doing during this time that you may be unaware of. 


Here are a few tips on finances and budgeting while trying to purchase a home: 


Additional Credit Cards


If you've been pre-approved for a mortgage, do not apply for additional credit cards, loans, accounts, etc. during this stage. This could negatively affect the approval process and your loan could fall through. 


New Job Offer


Don't change jobs while in the loan application process. This may affect your stability and credit rating in the eyes of the lender and again, your loan could fall through. If you've been offered a new position, ask your new employer if they could wait until your loan is secured or speak with your lender to confirm this job change will not affect your loan. 


A Good Agent


This may not be what you think...a good agent will not only look at your pre-approval amount but will also sit down and ask you how much you're comfortable paying each month. There are plenty of costs, such as strata fees, taxes, homeowners association fees, etc., in addition to your mortgage each month and a good agent will factor these in to make sure you stay within your budget. 


Bidding Wars


Bidding Wars and paying over asking prices seem to be the norm these days so keep this in mind when looking for homes. Searching for homes below your budget will give you plenty of wiggle room when making an offer, and hopefully, leave some funds for updates or renovations. 


Comparables


Nothing can tell you the true value of a home like looking at the comparable properties in the area. A skilled agent can provide you excellent comparables and advise you if a home is priced correctly or not. 


Mortgage Broker


Having a mortgage broker shop your loan around to various lenders to get you the best rates is a no-brainer, especially if you have less-than-perfect credit. A mortgage broker will look at less conventional lenders and find different ways to have your loan funded that you normally wouldn't have access to. 

 

There are so many ins and outs when purchasing a home that having a professional on your side is in your best interest. 

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To say that 2020 threw us an unexpected curveball would be a large understatement. Every aspect of our lives was affected, including the real estate market.


We never expected to spend so much time at home and be working at home. In turn, what we wanted in a home a year ago was completely different than what we're needing in our homes today and going forward.   

 

Moving towards 2021, the predicted real estate trends are much different than previous years, although, very expected considering the circumstances. 

Here are a few of the real estate trends predicted for 2021: 


Home Office


Demand for a home office has increased substantially. With many people continuing to work from home on a regular basis this feature will be happily welcomed by potential buyers. Keep in mind, a home office can also be used as a learning centre for students who are studying at home. Having a private, quiet, bright room with a desk, chair and the required communication connections will appeal to families as well as singles when selling your home. 


Textured Accent Walls


As we're spending more and more time at home, we're beginning to look at new ways to be creative and change the look of a room. Try not to think of your grandmother's textured walls of butterflies and teapots, think of fun, artistic designs that add colour and personality to a room.


Another popular trend prediction will be wood on walls, whether it be an entire room or just an accent wall, the look of bringing wood flooring right up to the top of the wall is proving to be quite popular. 


Cozy


In recent years, many homeowners chose to shy away from the cozy look and went with a modern, clean, crisp look. However, as we've all become homebodies this past year, we are seeing the trend towards comfort and warm colours increasing. When a buyer comes to view your home and immediately 'feels at home' they will begin to envision themselves living there and their belongings in your home, turning a viewing into an offer to purchase very quickly! 


Outdoor Living Space


We've mentioned this in a few previous blog posts and it especially rings true for 2021, buyers crave outdoor living space. A place to spend time, relax, and entertain outdoors almost feels like added square footage to the home. An outdoor cooking area, seating area, and fire pit will impress even the most indoorsy of buyers!  


While we can't guarantee that these features are exactly what all buyers are looking for, we can assure you that it's something that will tick the boxes of the majority and they are the top 4 real estate trend predictions for 2021.

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When purchasing a home you need to have good credit, a solid downpayment, and you may even need to limit the conditions you put in your offer to purchase for buyers to accept it.


It may start to feel like it's all about the numbers and for the most part, it is, however, there is one added personal touch that you can include with your offer that may sway buyers in your favour...a personal, handwritten letter.


Most buyers don't have the time or the desire to sit down and write out a letter explaining to the sellers exactly why they want to purchase this specific home.


By writing a letter, you can explain to the homeowners all the little details that you love about their home, how you intend to care for the home, and your plans for creating family memories here.


If you are a young couple or first-time buyers, be honest in your letter and let them know about the struggles you've faced when trying to purchase a home, such as unconditional offers or offers over asking price beating out your offers.


A handwritten letter will give you the opportunity to connect with the sellers on a level that most buyers won't have. And including a few details about your future plans for the home will resonate with them and may make them more comfortable.


What many of us don't realize is that even though the seller is selling their home, it's still their home, they still have countless unforgettable memories that they will always tie to this home, and they want to ensure that it's loved and cared for just as much as they did.


This isn't a guaranteed method, by any means, and cash is still king, but it just might be the one thing that pushes your offer to the top of the pile!  

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MLS® property information is provided under copyright© by the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board and Victoria Real Estate Board. The information is from sources deemed reliable, but should not be relied upon without independent verification.