5 Essential Steps to Buying A House

You’ve saved your money, and you’ve figured out where you want to live. And now, you know you’re finally ready to buy your first home. Buying a house is a big step, but there are a lot of great resources to help you every step of the way.

buying a house

While there are a lot of little details in between, there are really just 5 key steps in the home buying process. Whether it’s your first home, or you’re an experienced buyer, these steps are always the same.

In addition to this step-by-step guide, I’ve also included a list of resources at the end of this list. If you have any questions, contact me. I’m a Calgary real estate agent, and I specialize in helping first time home buyers find and buy their dream homes. I would be happy to help you.

Step 1. Find out how much mortgage you can afford.

I recently published a blog post on how to figure out how much mortgage you can actually afford. Usually, the first thing people do when they set out to buy a house is find out how much house they can buy. Otherwise, you might get wrapped up in the idea of owning a home you won’t be able to purchase. Or, you could end up with a house you really can’t afford after all.

The main things to consider is how much you really want to borrow. It’s also important to consider the maximum amount a lender will lend to you. If it turns out that you can’t qualify for the home you want, you have options. You can save money for a bigger down payment, or, you could also adjust what you’re looking for in a house.

Step 2. Find a good real estate agent.

Find a real estate agent who will listen to you, guide you, and communicate with you every step of the way. Good real estate agents go out of their way to provide great service. An agent is there to ensure that your real estate transaction goes smoothly, and to help you make decisions when things don’t go that smoothly. Experienced real estate agents know the market well, but they are also great with people. At the end of the day, you want someone you can call about anything, anytime. Sometimes people are surprised about how many things come up during the transaction. Even if your agent doesn’t have all of the answers, they should know who to ask or where to look.

If you’re in or around Calgary, I’d love to meet with you and talk about your needs. You can contact me directly at (403) 998-5535.

Step 3. Search for the home you want.

This is the fun part. The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation published a list of things that you should consider when searching for a home. They are:

  • Location/neighbourhood
  • Size
  • Type of home (duplex, row house, condo, etc.)
  • Travel distance
  • Special features
  • Lifestyle needs – now and also in the future
  • New home, Custom-built home, or resale

Ask yourself what kind of home you want. Be honest about the things that are absolute musts, versus things you can be flexible about. Take your list to your real estate agent and talk through it together. Also, keep an open mind.

If you’re buying a home together with your spouse or someone else, listen to each other and stay open and willing to negotiate. It’s tough to find a single home that checks every box off of everyone’s lists. Keep in mind that once you buy a home, it is yours. Some things that are not there now can be added later. The same is true for things you don’t like (carpet, for example) that can be removed once you buy the house.  

Step 4. Make an offer and secure a mortgage loan.

Once you’ve found the home you want, you’ll work with your real estate agent and make an offer. Making an offer involves filling out a purchase agreement that includes the amount you’re willing to pay for the house, along with any other stipulations. This is the part of the process where you’re really going to want a good agent.

When you make an offer, the seller will review the offer and decide whether or not to accept it. Sometimes, the seller will counter offer, which just means they will change some terms and send it back. You can counter back, or accept the counter.

This process can go back and forth until both parties agree. Or, the buyer can decide not to accept a counter from the seller, or vice versa. If there’s no agreement, the buyer can walk away and the seller can find another offer.

If there’s an agreement, the house is then under contract at that point. You’ve committed to buying the home. At this point in time, you tell your mortgage company (or find one) and complete the mortgage loan application and fulfillment process.

During this part of the process, you’ll communicate often with your mortgage company and also with your agent.

Step 5. Close on the home and move in.

The last step of the process is the home closing. At the closing, you’ll pay any funds that are due at close. You’ll sign many documents, so be ready for that! Buying a house involves several documents and acknowledgements. Most people feel excited and relieved on closing day. All of the nervousness is gone, and you’ll finally get the keys!

Conclusion

These are the five key steps to buying a house. As you can see, it’s not incredibly complicated. Rather, it’s just involved, because there are many details in each of the steps. My job as a real estate agent is to make sure you’re aware of everything that’s going on, so that you don’t feel like you’re in the dark. I spend time making sure every detail is taken care of so that you can focus on your family and on getting ready to move into the home you eventually buy.

Contact me if you’re looking for a real estate agent in Calgary. You can also find me on Facebook, or take a look at the current featured properties on my website. If you have any questions on buying a house, leave me a comment below!

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