As real estate agents, we get to be front and centre in one of the most impactful moments in a person’s life. Not just a really important moment that day, week, month or even year – In their entire life.
Buying a home is not only typically the largest purchase a person will make in their life, but it also has a fundamental impact on their life moving forward.
- The commute they take to work every day from then on? It’s because of where they live.
- The local restaurant they go to regularly? It’s because of where they live.
- The schools their kids go to, the neighbours they interact with daily, even the friends they see most often because they live close by – it’s all because of where they live.
We’ve helped hundreds of clients buy homes and we know that the importance of the decision and the sheer scale of the commitment can cause tremendous stress. The good news is that there are ways to keep yourself calm and less stressed.
Without further ado, here are our three rules on how to buy a home without stress!
Rule Number 1 – Get Your Ducks In Order
Without a doubt, the most stressful deals we’ve been a part of involved buyers who were suddenly thrust into the buying of a home when they hadn’t prepared properly.
Time is of the essence in real estate, which means that deadlines become very real. When there is an offer date of Monday at 6:00 p.m., we need to submit our offer by Monday at 6:00 p.m. It doesn’t matter if there was a line up at your bank, if you were somewhere with no internet access or if you have other pressing business. That home is being sold at 6:00 p.m. on Monday and if we aren’t ready, we aren’t the ones buying it.
We naturally have a tremendous amount of empathy for buyers who are placed in a rush situation, where we find a home they love but they aren’t ready to actually buy. The feeling that you are missing out on “your” home is a horrible one.
As such, in order to avoid that feeling, we have very clear conversations with our clients about how we need to get all our ducks in order.
Specifically, this means:
- If you are getting a mortgage, have your pre-approval fully in place. This means an actual commitment letter from a lender after they have collected all of the proof of your mortgage worthiness. Some clients have a conversation with a lender and are told a purchase number based on that conversation. This is not a pre-approval and the stress levels go through the roof when after a purchase, the lender starts asking for all of the documentation and starts having issues with different aspects that may mean a lower mortgage, or none at all.
- Make sure your deposit amount is available for the next day. When you purchase a home, the deposit amount is almost always due the next business day. If you have the funds tied up in investments or in a non-branch bank, it can take days to make those funds available. When you are ready to buy a home and making an offer is imminent, make sure you get those funds accessible. You may lose a couple of dollars in lost investment growth, but you gain less stress in the purchase.
- Line up other resources. When we find your home, we will shortly need the services of other people to help make this happen and to make you comfortable with the purchase. When we need a lawyer before an offer (to review a status certificate or examine a title question), having that person in the loop and ready is hugely important. Similarly, having help in the form of home inspectors, contractors, movers and so forth ready to go means a significant reduction in the stress when you need those people.
We regularly help clients with getting their ducks in order so that when we find a property that might become their home, we don’t have the added stress of getting these things done in a massive rush.
Rule Number 2 – Control the Outcome
Depending on the type of market we are in, buyers can feel powerless. When lots of people want a given property, it can be pretty stressful competing in multiple offers to buy a home. Even if the market is more balanced, any purchase is still a negotiation, and the numbers involved are very significant.
Regardless of the market, we can remove stress from the buying process by deciding on two numbers for the purchase of the property.
The first number is the price we’d like to pay. It’s based on our review of the market and your financial situation. It’s a realistic number, but somewhat optimistic.
The second number is the price we are willing to pay if we have to go there. It’s the price above which we say to the seller, congratulations to selling it to someone else for that price, they had more money than sense.
By identifying our preferred price and our maximum price, we can go into any purchase offer understanding the consequences. We’re hoping for close to the first number, we’re willing to go to the second number if circumstances dictate we have to do so. Those are the only two options. If we can’t get the property within that range of numbers, we don’t buy it.
Simply knowing that you’re not going to put yourself in a situation where you got caught up in the negotiations and made a decision you regret can be hugely relieving.
Rule Number 3 – Knowledge is Power
One of the most intense sources of stress can be internal doubt and uncertainty. While everyone is a little different in how they approach decision making, we have found that the vast majority of clients like to feel comfortable with the market and have seen some properties before they want to put in an offer.
We go through a deliberate process with a number of steps in order to make sure that we have seen properties that helped us determine what is truly important. When we have completed this process, the purchase becomes considerably less stressful as our client is confident that this home represents a good value and good fit based on what they have been seeing on the market.
On the rare occasions when clients have bought one of the first homes we saw together, it has been a more stressful experience. If you can’t compare the property with others you’ve seen, it is hard to know if it’s the best home in the world for you, or just another option.
Any real estate transaction is a big decision when compared to most decisions you make. It is hugely impactful on your life moving forward, but the process can be handled in a way to make it feel better – and to get you better results. If that sounds appealing, get in touch so we can talk about how to move you forward. We will use soothing tones, we promise.