Buying your first home is one of the most exciting financial decisions you’ll ever make. To ensure it’s a fulfilling experience, it’s important to make sure that you’re ready, both financially and mentally, for the responsibilities that come with being a homeowner. This isn’t to scare you away from your decision, rather, we want you to have all the information you need to make an informed decisions.

Those in search of their first home may have this notion in mind that being a homeowner means that you can style your home in whatever color your like and replace decaying appliances with something more modern, or finally have the space needed to adopt a four-legged friend from the SPCA. All of these are some of the greatest perks of being a homeowner, but they shouldn’t overshadow the responsibilities that come with it as well, like property taxes, utility bills, and home maintenance, all of which are in addition to your mortgage. Preparing to buy a home means you need to take full-stock of your lifestyle and financial goals to decide if it’s right for you.

If you’re confident you’re ready to take the next step on the path to home ownership, keep reading to find out more about the next steps or create a custom home search now.

First-Time Homebuyer’s Guide to the Nanaimo Real Estate Market

Before you start seriously considering the idea of home ownership, you should stop and ask yourself these two questions:

1. How much can you really afford?

First-time homebuyers have a tendency to get so caught up in window shopping that they jump straight to looking at listings without finding out how much they can really afford. Then when it comes to getting pre-approved for a mortgage they find out that their dream home isn’t what they can afford right now. Some determined buyers will try everything they can to allocate more money each month to the mortgage or solicit family members for a greater down payment. At the end of the day, these buyers will have too much of their hard-earned cash going towards their home that they will have very little for anything else. As a team that cares about your long-term prosperity and success, it’s important to us that you’re not in this kind of situation.

Should these buyers give up? Absolutely not. If you’re even flirting with the idea of buying a home, you should visit a mortgage broker or bank to find out if you’re eligible. They’ll take a look at your debt-to-income ratio, credit history, and active loans. They’ll be able to tell you how much you’re approved to buy with, or what you have to do to be in a position to buy in the future.

2. What kind of home do you want?

The type of home you want and where you want to be located are the two biggest factors in what you can afford. Are you looking for a trendy harbourfront condo in the Pacifica, or a spacious single-family home for your growing family in central Nanaimo? It could be more affordable to buy in Ladysmith or the University District now, then relocate back to Nanaimo after building up some more equity in a few years. Your Dawn Walton & Associates real estate agent will be able to help you determine what the best neighborhoods are to look at based on your needs and wants.

First-time homebuyers can have access to special government grants and programs. To find out if you’re eligible, get in touch with our team and we’ll happily fill you in on all the active incentives for first-time homebuyers.

How To Buy A Home In Nanaimo, BC

This 6-step process will guide you through the process, from start to finish.

1. Enlist The Help of a Nanaimo Real Estate Specialist

Between the acronyms, industry jargon, and the sheer amount of information there is to know about each area and neighborhood, the buying process can quickly become overwhelming if it’s your first time. The truth is, it doesn’t have to be. What most first-time homebuyers don’t know is that it’s FREE to work with an agent if you’re a buyer. They’re compensated by the listing agent, not you, when you buy the home. With years of industry experience on your side, extensive market knowledge, and powerful negotiating experience, can you really afford to not work with a professional?

2. Stay Focused On Your Goal

If you’re touring a few different homes, it’s important to be mindful of your priorities. Even the most practical-minded shoppers can get distracted by a feature or two they love, like a private home theater, but the rest of the home doesn’t have things they need, such as easy access to shopping and bus routes. Write down a list of your wants and needs and bring that with you to every showing to help keep you focused.

3. Connect With a Real Estate Lawyer

Most transaction go off without a hitch, but you can never be too careful when it comes to the legalities surrounding land ownership. Having a reputable real estate lawyer on-hand is the best way to ensure your fully protected if things start to go south with a seller. Your agent can recommend a trusted local real estate lawyer.

4. Place an Offer!

When you finally find a home that matches your desires and budget, it’s time to put in an offer! Nanaimo is a very competitive market, but your agent will help you devise a competitive offer to win the seller over. Bear in mind, the seller could reject your offer, but it’s good to stay optimistic.

5. Schedule a Home Inspection

At this stage of the process, the sellers has accepted your offer, likely with the contingency that you’ll have a home inspection done before finalizing the purchase. This is especially important if you’re buying a resale home, even if it’s just a few years old. If you choose to skip the home inspection, you could be surprised three months down the road to find out the hot water tank stops working, there’s mold in the basement, and the roof needs some attention. This is the best way to ensure you’re making a solid investment.

6. Take a Final Walkthrough of the Home

Your real estate agent will accompany you to the final walkthrough of the home to ensure the seller has held up their end of the bargain and you’re 100 percent satisfied with what you’re about to buy. Your agent will ensure everything from the paperwork side of things is taken care of. Once the contracts have been finalized and money has been transferred, it’s time for the seller to hand you the keys to your exciting new endeavor.

VIREB IDX Reciprocity listings are displayed in accordance with VIREB's broker reciprocity Agreement and are copyright © the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board. The above information is from sources deemed reliable but it should not be relied upon without independent verification.