Whether you're thinking about buying a home or you're ready to take the leap, you have questions that need answered. That's where we come in!
Buying a home is a huge decision, so it's important to arm yourself with accurate information. Of course family, friends, co-workers, that chatty person on the bus, they’ll all have their advice and wisdom to offer, stories of their own experiences and things they've heard.
We’re here to offer you the facts. Reliable, useful and pertinent information you need.
Please browse our Library, it’s full of material specially selected based on inquiries we’ve received from people just like you. And remember, you can call or email the GorleyLalonde Team any time if you need anything explained, or even if you just need some sound advice. We are always here to help and we're always working in your best interest!
Common Buyer Pitfalls
You’ve heard it a million times:
Buying a home is one of the biggest investments you will make, and it’s true! Like all investments, you need to minimize the risk in order to make it a GOOD investment, one that will pay you back healthy dividends in both value and satisfaction. It is important to protect yourself from common pitfalls that can result in paying too much, losing your dream home, or worse, buying the wrong home for your needs.
Avoid these common mistakes, and save yourself stress and perhaps a bunch of money too.
NOT CONSIDERING LONG TERM NEEDS:
Sure, right now it’s just you, your loved one, maybe a pet and a few plants. But what about 3 years from now? 5 years from now?
Whether you’re going to grow your family, increase your number of fur-babies or pursue a personal passion, will the space you’re looking at today accommodate the future?
Consider the next 5 years. Think about what you want in the years to come and set yourself up now for endless possibilities later!
THINKING THERE IS ONLY ONE PERFECT HOUSE OUT THERE:
Let’s get this out of the way: there is no expectation of exclusivity when it comes to what your perfect home is. This is a process of elimination, not selection. Each property offers its own unique representation of “home”. With new properties coming on the market every day, it’s important to be open to different possibilities.
SEARCHING ON YOUR OWN:
Flipping through online or paper ads to find a home is kind of like reading yesterday’s new. Actually, you are reading yesterday’s news.
REALTORS are professionals in their chosen field for a reason, and they are your best resource for current and relevant information.
CHOOSING THE WRONG REAL ESTATE AGENT:
Nope, we’re not all created equal, and this holds true for real estate agents too. Making a positive connection with the right REALTOR is crucial. Choose a professional who is dedicated to representing your best interests before, during and after the sale.
NOT GETTING A HOME INSPECTION:
Saving a little today can cost you a lot down the road. A qualified home inspector can find issues that many buyers overlook. A good inspector will highlight and explain to you any issues they uncover, allowing you to decide if it’s something you’re comfortable taking on, and your realtor can help you decide if it should impact the overall price of the home.
In the end, it’s about professionals working hand in hand for one common goal: the security of their client. That’s you.
NOT KNOWING TOTAL COSTS INVOLVED IN YOUR PURCHASE:
Early in the buying process, ask your REALTOR or mortgage representative for an estimate of closing costs. Title insurance, lawyer fees, and many pre-pay responsibilities like property taxes and fuel adjustments should also be taken into account.
How Much Can You Afford?
Before you start imagining yourself in your dream home, first figure out how much your dream can cost. The good news is, once you know how much home you can afford, you can start making your dream a reality. Getting prequalified with a mortgage specialist BEFORE you start your home search will give you the peace of mind you need when it comes time to narrow your search, and ultimately choose your home.
THE BIG THREE:
When considering your home-buying budget, there are 3 main factors to consider;
1) The down payment
Most loans require a minimum 5% down payment, depending on the type and terms of the loan. It’s important to discuss with your lender what options are available to you and the benefits of putting more than 5% of the home’s purchase price down. Whether you are working with a bank or a mortgage broker, putting more than the minimum 5% down may improve your bottom line.
2) Your ability to qualify for a mortgage
The first rule of getting qualified is that your monthly housing costs shouldn’t be more than 32% of your gross monthly income. “Housing costs” mean the principal on your loan + the interest on your loan + property taxes + heating. ***If you are thinking of buying a condo, your monthly housing costs will include HALF of the monthly condo fees.***
The second rule is that your entire monthly debt load should not be more than 42% of your gross monthly income. Your entire monthly debt load includes your housing costs (as outlined in the first rule) plus all other debt payments (i.e. car loans, credit card payments, line of credit payments, etc.)
3) The closing costs associated with your transaction
You will be required to pay fees for loan processing and other closing costs These fees must be paid in full at the final settlement, unless you are able to include them in your financing. Typically, total closing costs will range between 1.5 – 3% of your mortgage loan
THE BIGGER THREE
The three key factors used to determine your ability to secure a home loan are:
Credit Report, Assets, Income and Property Value
Tedious? You betcha! But necessary. Luckily there are professionals such as mortgage brokers and mortgage specialists who can help you make sense of the numbers. If you want to do some of the number crunching yourself, there are great online tools such as CMHC’s host of financial calculators for everything from Mortgage Affordability to your Household Budget. You can access these calculators at the following link; they’re great tools that we’re happy to share with you! CMHC Financial Calculators
Now that you’ve uncovered your house-hunting budget, it’s time for the fun part, FINDING YOUR HOME!
Finding the home for you!
You’re smart, you’ve been pre-approved, and you’ve been watching more HGTV than you EVER thought you would. Now you’re ready to find the home for you!
Okay, not JUST for you.
For your family.
For your pets.
For your hobbies.
For your lifestyle.
For your future.
In a market seemingly full of endless possibilities and polished pictures, how do you narrow it down? With the guidance of a GorleyLalonde Team agent and an appreciation of what you can afford, a good place to start is assessing your WANTS versus your NEEDS. This will keep you grounded and focused when you’re viewing homes whether online, during an open house or on a house hunting trip with your real estate agent. That distinction is very important and will serve you well throughout the selection process.
Location is everything! Are you more urban, sub-urban or rural? Your GorleyLalonde Team agent will be able to advise you on geographic locations and neighbourhoods that will best suit your needs when it comes to property size, privacy considerations, commute times, school districts, recreation, entertainment, public transportation and even property taxes for the area. Your GorleyLalonde Team agent is a wealth of information for you and able to counsel you when it comes to WHERE you need your home to be.
Of course, type of home is paramount, as important as where your home will be. Is condo life for you now that you’re ready to downsize and start enjoying your retirement years, or do you need an urban apartment-style oasis to enjoy some calming solitude after a hectic day or a night on the town? Maybe you’re raising your family and need more floor space, extra bedrooms and a big yard. The type of home you choose will very much reflect your current lifestyle, but it should also be ready to accommodate your evolving lifestyle, your future and your dreams.
With a trusted GorleyLalonde Team REALTOR® you can start narrowing down the homes you view, and even have the homes that meet your newly acquired criteria delivered directly to you the minute they come on the market. After all, now that you know what you’re looking for, you don’t want to miss out on the opportunity to own it!
The Advantages of Condo Life
For some of us a to-do list of maintenance and repair is where we find solace; engrossed in the never-ending items that allow us to conquer one more task! But even us task junkies occasionally long for the ability to lock the door on our way out and know that the list on our fridge belongs to somebody else – our benefit to reap later. The sweet lure of two words: CONDO LIFE!
What exactly does condominium living mean? Condominium ownership means you own the unit you live in and share ownership rights for the common space of the building. “Common space” translates into corridors, facilities (such as pools, and recreation rooms), and the grounds surrounding the building. Together, condominium owners control the common areas through an owner’s association. The association makes decisions about the use and maintenance of the common space.
One of the truly great things about condo ownership is that it can be geared towards every phase of life from singletons to empty-nesters and everybody in between.
With fewer maintenance and repair responsibilities such as shoveling snow, cutting grass and the upkeep on exterior finishes, the predictability of monthly maintenance and condo fees reduces the risk of unplanned time and money investments that can present a risk not everybody is willing or able to take.
There is a kind of “neighbourhood” feel to condominiums, whether they are apartment-style, townhouse or in a low-rise building. From the moment you arrive, you are part of a community with a common interest and a voice in how your community is managed. The ownership of your unit comes with voting rights and you can be elected to the board of directors.
If the convenience of amenities is what you’re looking for, some condos include access to pools, patios, recreation rooms, on-site fitness centres, squash courts, even libraries! Now that’s how you simplify.
Does condo life sound like your kind of home ownership? the GorleyLalonde team knows the Ottawa condo market and can help you find the condo that suits the life you want to live!