(Closed) Where to start when buying a house?

posted 6 years ago in Home
Post # 3
2750 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

I have the same question… and where to start looking for real estate agents?!

Post # 4
1691 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: December 2012

First thing to do is go and get preapproved.  There’s no sense falling in love with something you think you can have but actually cannot afford or cannot be approved for.  Get a starting point from the bank.

I don’t think it’s too soon to look around, check mls.ca and start looking at the places in your price range after you’ve gotten preapproved.  Oh – and have fun!  I just bought and move in on Friday!  It’s super exciting 🙂  Good luck.

Post # 6
1691 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: December 2012

As for real estate agents, ask around – people often have agents they’ve used that they like or dislike – or you could ask the people at the bank that you get preapproved at.  I think they often have people they recommend.  

I think it’s fun to browse and check out a few places for “fun” as you are probably very busy with the wedding coming up, but I definitely think you should just quickly get preapproved (super duper easy to do and doesn’t take much time) just so you aren’t looking at things you can’t have as I said- that would suck!!

Thanks for the congrats – we’re SUPER excited 🙂

Post # 7
484 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2010

Definitely get pre-approved and glance online at listings to find things that you want to put on your “must have” list – (like 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, etc) What I did to find a realtor is I actually put out a Facebook post asking FB friends who they would recommend as a good realtor. I was BOMBARDED with responses. I had several people mention the same lady so we made an appointment with her and so far are pretty pleased! We didn’t want anybody who was too pushy – and so she works out great for us.

We’ve had our heartbroken twice now on houses – they keep getting pulled out front underneath us right when we are ready to put an offer in. Yesterday we were going to put an offer in on a house – and at the last minute, a CASH offer came in and trumped us. 🙁 So frustrating.

Post # 8
6248 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: August 1900

Start going to open houses to see what you like/dislike.  Also, it’s a great way to meet realtors.  Fiance and I thought we knew what we wanted in a house until we started seeing different homes during open houses.  Plus we found a great realtor at an open house.  We were also pre-approved even though we were still looking, just because we wanted an honest figure to work with.

Post # 9
7312 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: October 2011 - Bed & Breakfast

Before you talk to an agent or a lender, the very first thing you need to do is take a hard look at your finances. Look at your currently monthly expenses. Are you comfortable with your current amount of rent and utilities? Are you able to put money into long-term savings (retirement) AND short-term savings (large expenses like an unexpected water heater break). How much do you have in savings now? Can you pay the downpayment and closing costs from your savings account, and still have 6 months worth of living expenses left over in your account as a safety net? From that point you can determine how much you can actually pay per month. That monthly amount would include your mortgage principal and interest, property taxes, home owners insurance, HOA fees, and utilities. Remember, a larger home will likely have higher utility bills, so make sure that you factor that in. Then you can play around with some online calculators and see what mortgage amounts result in what  monthly payments. These online calculators often do not include property taxes, HOA fees, and homeowners insurance, so those would be additional monthly expenses to account for.

It’s also a really good idea to pull all three credit reports for each of you, and do any clean-up that is appropriate. Your credit report and scores will have a significant effect on what types of loans you are eligible for and what your interest rate will be.

Post # 10
870 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

I agree with lovekiss the first thing to do is look at your finances, and figure out what you can actually afford. 

Then as you get closer to actually looking at houses get pre-approved. (Don’t do it too early because you may be approved for a certain amount now, but by next year your situation may have changed.) I say do this second because if you actually need a pre-approval letter you don’t want it to be for the absolute max you can afford. In most situations that’s going to be way more than you’re comfortable with. Once you know what range you want to be in you can have a lender make it out for maybe 10 more than your personal max. That way when you make an offer your pre-approval letter isn’t for like 500k when you’re trying to negotiate for a house that’s 350k. 

Then, together, make a “wants” and “needs” list. You should be prepared to discuss and negotiate as his “need” may not be yours and vice versa. It’s good to be on the same page about those things because when you start looking at houses you realize that no one house is absolutely perfect. 


Post # 11
5479 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: August 2012

To echo PP’s… get pre-approved first!  This was the one thing we did that helped us beat out another bidder on the home we purchased.  We both put in bids, but ours was accepted while the other people were waiting on the preauth letter.

Ask friends/family/coworkers for word of mouth suggestions for realtors in your area.

Look at online listings, narrow down what you MUST have versus what you’d LIKE to have in a home.  Be open to looking at different properties.  Keep a notebook or binder and take notes.  We saw so many houses that they started to blur together.  If I hadn’t taken notes on the MLS sheet I would never have remembered what we liked and didn’t like.


Post # 12
1691 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: December 2012

@Taylor4:  not sure if you’re from the US or Canada, but typically up here we don’t need to worry about any seller seeing what we’ve been preapproved for.  It wouldn’t be their business, your realtor, you and the bank would know and that’s about it.  Realistically your realtor doesn’t need to see the paperwork or know the amount either, you would just tell them your “budget” price.

Post # 13
4046 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: November 1999

Now is a good time to do the background work. Do you know for sure which area you want to buy in? Have you visited at nights and on weekends, when school is letting out, in rush hour, on garbage day and snowy days to see if the city cleans the streets? Do you know what the aire smells like and whether it is near a factory or school, lots of traffic or otherwise?

You can do lots of research now, and visit your neighborhoods, read magazines and school ratings, crime statistics, see if  it is well lit at night, etc etc.

I also enjoyed visiting open homes just to get an idea of what I wanted/liked in a house.

Post # 14
91 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

What LOVEKISS said. What you get preapproved for and what you are comfortable spending are usually two different stories. Also put together past two years tax returns, w-2s and bank info. They will need all of that.

Post # 15
1544 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

In my personal experience be careful to start looking too soon because we ended up buying before we planned to. It wasn’t too bad though.. just meant the ring came on closing day and we had to pay a fee to break our lease early.

We had been watching house hunters and property virgins for a while….

Then we were just talking like “when we get a house lets do this… ” and that led to spending a few hours on house hunting websites…. then we decided to take a drive up to a new neighborhood and loved the house. Contacted the realtor on the sign. That led us to preapproval at the bank because she wouldn’t show us the house without it. Then we figured out we don’t qualify for the loan we need at that house… So then began the hunt of okay where DO we qualify and where do we want to live and can afford. We drove by one house and called the realtor on the sign again and she actually did become our realtor. But we did kind of have to “fire” the first one. oops. Then ofcourse a house came on the market that we liked and we had exhausted all other home options so we just had to jump. We knew that if nothing comes up before our lease is up then we have to sign another one and wait even longer for a house.

Post # 16
1346 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: November 2012

Always pre-approval so you know what you can get.

From there find houses you love and agents from others advice.

BUT BEFORE getting the house make sure you get it checked out for bugs and building defects! You dont want to max out what you can get from the bank then have issues with the house.

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