You have found the perfect house – congratulations! It’s not easy to come across a home that checks all the boxes, so you’re likely anxious to put in an offer so you can call it yours.
As you get ready to draft an offer to purchase this property, however, there are a few steps to take first. Doing your diligence before getting to the offer stage can help ensure you’re moving forward with all the information you need and that you – and your finances – are protected from any surprises.
Here are five steps to take before putting in an offer to purchase:
1. Know how much home you can afford
While you may have already crunched some numbers, now is the time to double-check your finances and have a firm handle on how much home you can afford. The good news is, that there are several resources available to help you do the math on affordability and give you the confidence to move forward in your home buying journey. Here’s what we suggest:Read through our Know How Much Home You Can Afford to Buy article
Determining how much you can afford isn’t a black and white calculation. Factors such as your income, assets, and expenses all come into play when qualifying for financing. Together, they inform “debt service ratios” that help lenders understand how you’ll manage a mortgage based on your current financial responsibilities. This article will walk you through the factors, ratios, and percentages that play a role in determining your affordability.Calculate your mortgage payments
Before you go through the process of securing a mortgage, it’s a good idea to understand what your mortgage payments will look like. The MCAP Mortgage Payment Calculator can help you discover how much your mortgage payments could be and will allow you to compare different mortgage options to find what works best for you.Boost your financial literacy
Whether you’re feeling a little overwhelmed when it comes to qualifying for a mortgage or you’re finding that your finances need a bit of a tune-up in order to qualify for a home, you can take steps now to build your financial literacy. This article will run through ways to build your financial skills and offers ways to improve both your confidence and your finances.
2. Seek the guidance of a mortgage broker
A mortgage broker is a licensed professional who will recommend the best mortgage options for their clients. With extensive product knowledge and expertise in knowing what type of mortgage best fits your needs, they can guide you through the mortgage process every step of the way. A good mortgage broker will also educate you as they take you through the large, important, and complex transactions.
Read our article Why Use a Mortgage Broker? to learn more about the ways they can help.
Ready to get started? Use our Find a Mortgage Broker tool to connect with a broker near you.
3. Understand all the costs ahead of you
The cost of owning a home extends beyond making your mortgage payments. With homeownership comes property taxes, maintenance costs, home improvement expenses, utilities, and more. While you may be able to estimate the cost of operating the home you’re looking to buy, it’s a good idea to get actual numbers – requesting copies of property tax and utility bills is a smart move that can give you a clear view into ongoing and everyday homeownership expenses.
4. Hire a lawyer
Buying a home isn’t something you do alone – it takes a team of professionals to work alongside you to facilitate a smooth home buying process.
A real estate lawyer is a key player in your home buying team, especially at this stage. For instance, a lawyer will review the Agreement of Purchase and Sale before it gets in front of the seller, as it is a binding contract that is irrevocable for a period of time. Having a professional set of eyes go through the agreement can help ensure all the details are correct and that you’re protected throughout the process.
A lawyer will review other legal documents as well (i.e., if you buy a condo, they would review the Status Certificate, which discloses how much money is in the condo’s reserve). They also conduct title searches to ensure there are no claims registered against the property and make sure the property taxes are all up to date.
Learn more about the role of a real estate lawyer in our article Putting Together Your Home Buying Team.
5. Schedule an inspection
A home inspection is a critical part of the home buying process, as an inspector will assess if there are any major defects and/or repairs needed on the home before you commit to purchasing it. Many buyers will make the offer to purchase conditional on conducting a satisfactory home inspection, but in hot housing markets these conditions aren’t always accepted. Before you put in an offer, find out the seller’s appetite for an inspection and whether it’s something that can be done before an offer is drafted or if it can be included as a condition.
Move your home buying journey forward
Looking to put in an offer soon? A mortgage broker can help you through any of the steps above and set you up for a smooth home buying process. Find the broker that’s right for you with MCAP’s Find a Broker tool.