An often asked question lately is “Is it a good time to buy a home?’ Should I start to seriously look at browsing through all of the real estate listings in Courtenay? While there is no general answer that will apply to all specific situations and circumstances, there are a few tips that may help you decide for yourself.
First, do you currently own a home or do you rent? If you rent find out just how affordable buying can be given your personal financial circumstances. Why rent and pay someone else’s mortgage if you can afford to buy and pay your own. You cannot build up equity in a rental but you can in your own Comox Valley home.
Second, why are you buying? Are you an investor? Are you buying a home to live in? Do you have to buy in a specific amount of time? These are a few of the questions that I will ask clients to help them answer this question. Motivation to buy is a very important element.
Third, what is the Comox Valley home market doing? I addressed this issue in previous blogs. Contact me for information on this topic and be prepared to discuss your needs and wants as well as your location and price range preferences.
Fourth, what are mortgage rates doing? Some rates have been at or near 50 year lows. Some people appear to be waiting for the “bottom”. This may not be the best approach in a number of circumstances. Why? How does anyone predict the bottom? Based on my experience, Comox Valley real estate market predictions are often not any better than weather predictions when one needs some exactness in the prediction. If you are an investor you may wish to gamble a bit. If you are looking to buy a home to live in, other factors such as features, price and location may have more relevance to you.
Fifth, what do you plan to spend, can you afford to spend, and how much per month do each of these amounts represent to you based on current mortgage rates? Are you planning to buy an executive home in the Courtenay real estate market on a modest budget? Are you planning to buy a classic split level home in Comox on a substantial budget? What is the impact of interest rates rising a percent or two? Getting financially prequalified is an important first step. Getting pre-approved is the next step. Offers can, and do, collapse over financing. By getting these things done before you start looking for a home you will know how much you can afford to spend. Don’t forget to consider the other expenses associated with the purchase of property in BC. Also, be aware that even though you may be pre-approved for a mortgage, once in a while a specific property may not qualify. Your Comox Valley real estate agent and financial expert can help you address these issues.
Sixth, if you do not already have a great real estate agent, find one. Do not be afraid to talk to several and interview them. All real estate agents are not equal in competence. Moreover, real estate law in BC is not confined to a single Act. Real estate agents are not lawyers and they do not give legal advice, but they are responsible to write legally enforceable contracts. They also should have the knowledge and competence to provide you with information on many different issues relevant to the real estate purchasing process. Can you afford to trust your most important investment – your home – with someone who just “meets the standard”? This does not mean that you should merely seek out the agent who makes the most money in your area. Some agents may be more concerned about making a sale and making money than providing you with the service, information, and the personal attention you need for you to be fully informed, comfortable, and confident making decisions related to the purchase of your most important investment. If your agent misses something because they are too busy, you may be in for a surprise. When surprises appear after decisions are made, the result is often not good.