Buying a home is a big decision, no matter how much real estate experience you have. To help you make smart decisions, here are a few tips to get you started.

Do your homework

Become informed about the buying process before it begins, to save time and money.

Find the right fit

Make sure the real estate agent you hire is a good fit for your needs. Make sure your approach and expectations are in alignment, check their references and visit the RECO website to confirm their registration on our registrant database.

Get it in writing

If your real estate agent offers you rebates or incentives, ensure the details are documented in writing.

Understand what you’re signing

Before you sign a buyer representation agreement, make sure you know what it means, how long it will be in effect and what the different clauses mean. Ask questions and seek independent legal advice if you’d like a second opinion.

Keep budget in mind

  • Remember to include legal fees, land transfer tax, mortgage insurance and utility hookups in your total cost.
  • Know the costs of a home inspection and home appraisal or survey.
  • Moving costs can vary based on volume, distance and whether you hire a professional mover. Have wiggle room in your budget to cover the cost.

Protect yourself

If possible, make your offer conditional on mortgage financing, a home inspection, the sale of your existing home, or other factors that are important to you. These conditions can provide you with additional assurances and protection.

Get property details

Look into the age and condition of the home’s systems, such as plumbing and electrical. Find out if proper permits were received for any renovations. Consider a home inspection to further examine the home and don’t hesitate to ask questions.

Be specific

Make your offer as detailed as possible. Outline what will be included with the sale (for example, appliances and light fixtures) and be clear if certain renovations or repairs need to be completed prior to closing, based on the home inspection.

Plan ahead

If you encounter a competing offer situation, enter with a strategy. Set ground rules in advance about what you want from a home, what you’re willing to spend and what conditions must be met. Once your rules are set, stick to them. When there are competing offers it can be tempting to waive your conditions (such as a home inspection). Think twice before doing this.

Expect the unexpected

Does your closing date on your new home align with when you need to move out of your existing home? Have a contingency plan in place in case the dates don’t match up.

A real estate agent can help you navigate the many steps and decisions involved in the home buying process.