Shirley Giroux RE    
Benefits for Home Buyers

Ask Shirley

Are these low selling prices going to last forever? We want a bigger house but hate to sell ours right now.
Well, in October of 2010 the sale prices for existing homes rose slightly from 2009. That's not saying much, but  economists at Moody's Analytics say the market has hit the low point in the cycle. The worst is over.

Don't cheer just yet. Other economists say the market has just begun "a long climb out of a deep hole." With another million foreclosures anticipated for 2011, I do not feel we've reached bottom just yet. read more >>

As a full service Real Estate Professional, I can assist you with your  purchases and sales.  You may want to do some property research on your own, and  you can do that here.  Would you like to list a property?  Or, would you like to search listed properties?  Please use my Multiple Listing Service for your convenience, and contact me if I can be of any assistance.

Benefits for Home Buyers

Buying a home is a major decision. Fortunately, you have free, expert help available. A licensed Realtor will help you deal with a quickly changing market and issues like taxes, closing costs, and financing. If you are a first-time buyer, it is even more important that you engage a Realtor who completely understands the stress of purchasing a home for the first time - and who gives you the comprehensive service you need.

"My comprehensive care real estate service means my clients are guided through the entire process from start to finish. With the right Realtor, purchasing a home can be a simple and rewarding experience. I can give you the tools to help you prepare for home ownership, make the right choices, and enjoy the process."

As your agent, I will help you find a home that fits your budget, while giving you expert advice and up-to-date market information. Shirley has access to every home on the market and will alert you to those that match your requirements. You get complete, comprehensive, personalized service - and it doesn't cost you a penny since the seller pays any commissions.

As a starting point, Shirley has collected the following tips for home buyers.

Finances First

For most people, the biggest factor in your choice of a home should be finances, not features. First, determine your price range before you start looking for a home. To do this, balance your monthly income against your monthly expenses, both fixed and voluntary. Remember to allow for some quality-of-life expenses. If you currently rent, exclude your rental costs but not your utility costs.

What is the difference? Your monthly mortgage payment should be less than this amount. Allow for some additional costs, such as increased utilities, taxes and property or condo service fees. Once you know how much you can spend each month, use an%%%%%%%%

online mortgage calculator to calculate how much you’ll pay monthly for each $10,000 in borrowed money. Determine the price range that fits comfortably within your monthly budget.

Find out your credit score. If you complete this step at least six months in advance of your home purchase, you will have time to fix any issues before applying for a mortgage. A good credit score will reduce the interest rate on your mortgage. In some cases, when one's credit report has blemishes, it is important to start this step earlier.

Before you apply for a mortgage, close out any unnecessary/unused credit cards, pay off any loans or credit cards that you can, and make sure your payments are up to date. All these steps will improve your credit score.

Pull together as much of a down payment as possible. Although mortgage insurance allows you to buy with as little as five per cent down, you’ll reduce costs substantially if you don’t have to pay for mortgage insurance. You will also get a better interest rate on your mortgage

Get pre-approved for a mortgage using your price range as a guide. Make sure it's one you can afford. Ideally, your accommodation costs – mortgage, taxes, utilities – should cost you no more than 33 per cent of your gross income. If you cannot afford a standard mortgage, ask yourself if you’re ready to buy a home.

Before you decide to buy instead of rent, make sure you’re going to stay in the home for several years. Reselling a few years after buying is costly – if you expect to move, you may be better off renting. Click here to compare the cost of renting with the cost of buying.

Prudent purchasing

If you are a first-time buyer, you MUST engage a real estate agent. A real estate agent will protect you against pitfalls that you don’t even know exist. For you, a real estate agent is a free service, since the commission is paid by the seller of the property.

When searching for a home, separate your needs from your wants. Carefully weigh your wish list against the financial and emotional cost of buying more than what you can easily afford. Eyla will help you determine what are your "must-haves" and what are your "nice-to-haves" and will find properties that match.

Once you've found a potential home, investigate the neighbourhood at different times of day. If possible, talk to neighbours about the general direction of the neighbourhood. Look for potential problems - is the street a commuter shortcut or is there pending commercial construction half-a-block away? Elya will help you check with the city about potential future zoning or usage changes.

Elya will also help you check the status of the property to identify any potential zoning, encroachment or lien issues.

Make sure your offer is contingent on the result of a home inspection – and use a qualified home inspection professional. Elya can recommend several local, reputable companies.

Elya will help you determine in advance what closing costs will be, since they can be substantial. If you can, set aside three months' expenses to cover the first months in your new home, since there will be unexpected costs.

Contact Elya to discover how she will simplify buying your Okanagan home.