Pressing Hold on Buying a Home: What Steps You Can Still Take Now
Friday Jul 10th, 2020
COVID-19 has made a huge impact on our economy, healthcare system and the world as a whole. Like most industries, the Canadian real estate market experienced a cooler first half of the year with May 2020 recording the lowest volume of sales since 1996. But even with fewer sales, national home prices remained relatively stable despite COVID-19. This has been good news for sellers who continued to actively sell their homes during the global pandemic.
But with such unrest and uncertainty for many Canadians, some folks have decided to push pause on their home buying plans. Maybe you can relate too? Job loss, social distancing, adjusting to remote work and learning – for some buyers, getting into the real estate market now just doesn’t feel right. And that’s understandable. Every buyer needs to do what’s right for their situation because purchasing real estate is a long-term commitment.
Having said that, taking the focus away from the actual house hunt can make room for other activities that can positively impact future real estate transactions. If you’ve chosen to put buying a home on hold, here are some steps that you can still take now so you can activate your search with confidence once you are ready.
1. Interview real estate sales representatives
When buying a home, it is important to get advice from a trusted realtor who can guide you through the entire process. This includes answering questions about desired neighbourhoods, understanding market conditions, being well-versed with local amenities and so much more. Not every realtor is right for every buyer, but taking the time to interview real estate agents is a worthwhile exercise to find your ideal match.
2. Get your financial house in order
You won’t be able to buy a home until you know what you can afford based on your finances. To help you get approved for a loan, keep track of your credit score and work on improving it. You should also determine how much you have saved for a down payment. If you are selling your current home, have your realtor complete a home evaluation to determine its worth.
3. Go through the pre-approval process
Once you are clear about your finances, meet with a lender to get pre-approved for a mortgage. This process will ensure that you know how much you feel comfortable spending on a home based on what you can afford.
4. Make a wish list
Do you know the anticipation that you feel when planning a trip? It’s almost better than the actual vacation! The same is true about planning for your home purchase. Even if you won’t buy a home for another year, now is a great time to start thinking about your priorities. What type of home do you want and in what location? Are you looking for something small to start or something bigger to suit your needs? What features do you want in your next home: specific amenities, parking for more than two cars, a finished basement, a pool? If you aren’t set on a location, spend time exploring potential neighbourhoods so you can get a feel for the community without the pressure of having to make an offer on a home.
COVID-19 may have derailed many of your plans, but it doesn’t mean that you can’t maintain some sense of control. Using this time wisely to prepare for a future home purchase can put you in a better position for success when you are ready to restart your search.
To learn more, please contact me, Deborah Clerk, Real Estate Sales Representative, ASA at Keller Williams Real Estate Associates, Brokerage, in Mississauga, Ontario, for sound advice to guide you home.