Shendale emphasized the importance of remaining rational in current market conditions “where multiple offers and bidding wars are common, where a financing condition can put you at a disadvantage, and where prices are at all-time highs.”
Among the most important steps is to form a crack team of professionals who can offer expert guidance.
“Interview experienced real estate agents with expertise on your desired neighbourhoods; consult a financial advisor to help determine how homeownership fits into your other goals (a wedding, saving for a child’s education, retirement planning, etc.) and establish a budget including ‘what-if’ scenarios, such as a layoff or maternity leave,” Shendale suggested.
“Get the names of 3 home inspectors. Call and introduce yourself now,” he added. “With 3 recommended inspectors on speed dial, you should be able to get a qualified professional to visit a property the day you want to make an offer.”
Having experts on-hand can also help with identifying potential issues that might not be apparent at first glance.
“The efficiency of the heating and cooling systems, the age of the roof, the state of the electrical… these matter most when it comes to deciding if a home is a good financial deal,” the executive wrote. “Surprise repairs and upgrades to fundamentals — like a furnace on its last legs, plumbing that isn’t to code, or uninsurable knob-and-tube wiring — could sink your budget. And if problems have been covered up, you might just have to rip out those magazine-worthy finishes and details.”
And while window-shopping might seem harmless, Shendale discouraged would-be buyers from indulging in the practice.
“Don’t visit properties outside your price range,” he said. “Best-case scenario, you’ll walk away deflated. Worst-case scenario? You’ll bid on something you can’t comfortably afford.”
In a guest post for Dominion Lending Centres, Genworth Canada’s vice president (business development) Marc Shendale cautioned against the temptation to succumb to “the fear of missing out,” and offered tips on how to keep a level head throughout the transaction.