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Kelly
Expert September 2019 Manitoba

Buying a Home

Kelly, on October 16, 2019 at 10:49 Posted in Living together 0 11
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We've lived together for years now, and we've always been renters. We're starting to think about buying our first home together, and we're super excited to be looking for a place that will be ours! For those of you who have already been through the home-buying process, where do you even begin??? We're not ready to buy for a while still (within a year or two maybe). But what's a good place to start?

Do you start looking at homes and going to open houses to have a look/get ideas?

Do you sit down with your bank and figure out how much house you can afford? (how did you figure out who to do your mortgage with??)

Do you find a real estate agent to do the looking for you?


What were some of the things that surprised you as first time home buyers? How long of a process was it from starting to look to actually getting your house? Give me all the tips and tricks!! I feel a little lost at sea! There's so much information out there!


11 Comments

Latest activity by Nelly+Raquel, on April 18, 2022 at 20:55
  • N
    Curious June 2023 Ontario
    Nelly+Raquel ·
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    We just bought our first home and we will be moving in once we are married.
    First we met with our bank so that we knew what we could spend and what we were comfortable spending monthly
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  • Lourdes
    Newbie June 2024 Ontario
    Lourdes ·
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    And I don't find it any romantic. You should get married first. And then buy a home. Otherwise you will make a renovation and then how will you share it if you split up? Nobody thinks of that.

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  • Amelia
    Master October 2020 New Brunswick
    Amelia ·
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    This is so exciting! Sorry I missed it when the post went up.


    I would say bank first. Then you know what you can afford and will be able to not fall in love with a house that will bankrupt you.
    I really like driving around and pointing out what each of us liked (or hated) about houses, even ones that aren't for sale. It helped us get on the same page about areas we liked, curb appeal, and even commute times.
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  • Kelsie
    Master July 2021 Ontario
    Kelsie ·
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    Can't believe I missed this post! We're in your position as well but are trying to buy in the winter this year.


    First thing I did was I went on realtor.ca (MLS) and started looking at what was available and for what price, so we could get an idea of what we might need to spend on our home.


    Then we met with a Broker with respect to a pre-approval, a friend of my family's. Personally, I prefer a broker to a bank because they have more lender options typically, but a bank is a more stable lender in and of itself. So it's totally up to you and your husband what you both prefer. I also went to a bank to compare for myself and wasn't as impressed with the bank. But that's my two cents.


    We received a pre-approval for what we could afford and I went back onto MLS to see what range of homes that got us.


    Then we scouted the area we're going to be buying in - currently, we live near Toronto and it's not where either of us want to live. We drove around the area, saw some neighbourhoods we liked, the train station to get into the city for work and then starting going to open houses.


    The open houses were super helpful for me because it showed me what I could expect to get for our price point. All of these real estate agents use photoshop to make the house look better than it is, so going in person and seeing reality vs. online was really good. We ended up meeting a real estate agent at one of the open houses that we liked, who was familiar with the area (this is KEY cause they'll actually know what houses in the area actually go for so you don't over pay).


    Now we're just waiting until January when the house prices drop to seriously start looking for something. My agent still sends me stuff every day though so I can keep up with the market.

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  • Michelle
    Beginner April 2019 Ontario
    Michelle ·
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    Hi! My hubby and I [this was before living in together] would skype and share screens and go on a mortgage calculator which TD bank provides. We both put down how much we make separately and it would calculate how much we can afford.


    After that process, we started looking for places to live within that range or a little bit above.

    The mistake and lesson we learned was to not wait for new development home agents [not sure what they're called exactly] to reach out to us if there are still places available, via online. We would then find out most or all units were sold out so our new plan was to call the presentation centre to see if they have anymore units left before going there. I think it took us a couple of months to find a new development as they were selling like hot cakes at the time. it was crazy!!!


    We chose to go with new developments so there's still about 2 years of saving to do before moving in, figuring out finances, what stuff to bring into the home [sorting out your belongings before moving in is so important! My husband just packed everything and some of the stuff he didn't have to bring over so we had to give it away]

    When we chose our home before putting down the deposit, we went to visit the bank to make sure we can 100% go through with it before making the deposit shortly after that. What I mean by this is to make sure most or all debts are paid off and we are financially in good standing.


    Trust me, I was so lost too. Google is your friend as well! I learned so much from googling the crap out of being a first time home owner. Things to search up as well is your home buyer plan.


    Things that surprised me also, based on the builder, is how much closing costs were, so maybe save 10% aside if it's a new place. Also, I wish both of us didn't use our HBP in case we wanted to move again in the future as you get a rebate from that.


    Good luck with the home search! Smiley smile

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  • Ashley
    VIP August 2020 Ontario
    Ashley ·
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    What we did was we made a sheet of all our expenses then we made another sheet and added all the house expenses and emergency funds like a roof repair etc. then we figured out how much we could afford as mortgage where we could still be comfortable. dont want to be house poor. then we looked at the interest rates banks were offering and we found the cheapest one and then we got a pre-approval (we got it for more but we kept our budget to what we could afford so we still have money to go on holidays/vacations/new cars/repairs/emergencies) then we got a realtor and they sent us listings and then put an offer.

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  • Alexandra
    Frequent user February 2022 Quebec
    Alexandra ·
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    Congratulations, that’s so exciting! We bought a house this summer and I can certainly relate to feeling lost.
    My advice would be to get a real estate agent, especially if they don’t charge you. I’m not sure about other places, but our agent got a cut of the sale so she didn’t cost us anything and she was so so helpful with negotiations and paperwork.
    We started by looking online, getting a feel of what we did and didn’t like. Then we made a list of ‘must have, nice to have, doesn’t matter.’ This helped because we were looking for a starter home and it helped us orient to the fact that we wouldn’t be getting everything we dreamed of right away! In terms of mortgage we went through a mortgage broker and he got us an awesome rate. I would recommend at least looking at a broker to see what rate they can give you and definitely shop around! Most banks have online calculators that will tell you the mortgage you would qualify for. My advice would be to avoid (if you can! Some places are so pricey) going to the top of that budget just to give yourself some breathing room. Good luck!
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  • Vinod
    Featured August 2017 Ontario
    Vinod ·
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    Buying a home is a big goal to setting as a goal. I have to agree with Tori in the ways to set an amount and what you are looking into area wise and list wise to include for your real estate agent to get into their search. Know the community/neighbourhood your interested in so your agent will find homes within that range or close by. Open houses are a great way to see homes too if they fit your style and budget.

    Financially, banks will want to help you though your credit check will come into effect and how much they will see your payments and prime cost. Get some prospects from different banks or mortgage offices to get the best rate. Find out how much of a down payment you will also need so that amount is sufficiently handy when you find the right home.

    Real estate agents charge by percentage and see how much they do first when you meet them to know how much of the cost is going towards their part of the deal.

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  • Tori
    Top October 2019 Manitoba
    Tori ·
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    It's all ood!!! Me and my DH bought a house back in 2018 and we were just as knowledgeable on it... so not very!

    Do you start looking at homes and going to open houses to have a look/get ideas?

    Yes. The main thing is that you need to figure out what you need in the community you pick and narrow down which ones you would want to live in. Do you need a elementary/middle/highschool near by? Close to work? Closest Hospital? Overall feel?

    Do you sit down with your bank and figure out how much house you can afford? (how did you figure out who to do your mortgage with??)

    No!!! Trust me on this - don't go to your bank. You want the lowest interest you can get and maybe other banks are offering free money for opening up an account there! Go to a Mortgage Broker and they will be able to find the best bank for you. If you go to your bank they check your credit which impacts it and you only want to do it once with a broker compared to multiple times with different banks.

    Do you find a real estate agent to do the looking for you?

    Technically they don't look for you. They set up a little map of the areas and the price range you have that will get hits and post them to a portal you have access to. I would say it doesn't hurt to start looking now though. We looked for 3 months before finding something we bought. My friend was looking with her boyfriend for over a year before they found something they liked and then they didn't win the bid so it was another couple months before they bought a house.

    If you would like - my realtor that we used was Lisa Litke from Royal LePage . She was AMAZING! She is like... a normal person. Our "feelers" we sent out when looking for a realtor was to see if anybody was willing to talk over a beer instead of a coffee and she was more than happy to!


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  • Casey
    Master October 2019 Ontario
    Casey ·
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    Start with how big of a mortgage you guys can get. Just like planning a wedding, you need to start with a budget. We went with my Husbands bank, just because he bought it while we were still dating, and we will eventually move everything over to his bank.

    From there look at an area you want to be in, or even the type of house. What do you want in a house? Garage? Room for kids? Big kitchen?

    Honestly so many factors. I still look at houses and we don't plan on moving for about a year or 2. But its always good to see what is out there in your price range!

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  • Lisa
    Expert August 2019 Alberta
    Lisa ·
    • Dispute

    Hi Kelly,


    That's so exciting! Buying your first home (or any home) is such an overwhelming but exciting time!

    My personal opinion is to meet with a bank first to determine what you can reasonably afford (bearing in mind that banks will loan you more than most people would be comfortable with spending on a mortgage). If you and your hubby already have a relationship with an existing bank you can start there, but let them know you will shop around for the best rate - and then do exactly that!

    Otherwise, I'd say pick the neighbourhoods you prefer (so many great ones to choose in Winnipeg) and then start looking online to see what's out there. You could go to some open houses to get a better feel, but (again, just my opinion) I'd wait to enlist a real estate agent until you are a little closer to being ready, as they tend to be quite aggressive, especially in the slower seasons like now.

    Good luck and enjoy your search!

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