Top 10 Tips for Buying Real Estate in BC
Buying a home is typically the largest purchase a person makes, so it’s essential to make a decision based on your needs and budget. As an experienced realtor, I understand the challenges of buying a new home in BC. This quick guide is designed to help you navigate the process of buying local real estate.
- Save Down Payment
Typically, mortgage lenders in BC require a minimum 5% of the total purchase price as a downpayment. For example, a $500,000 home requires a minimum downpayment of $25,000. In BC, real estate buyers are urged to put down 20% to avoid the cost of Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) insurance (from 2.80% to 4.00% of total mortgage amount).
- Apply for Mortgage Pre-Approval
Once your finances are in order, it’s time to get your mortgage pre-approved. Your mortgage lender provides pre-approval based on your income, credit history, and assets. Realtors typically request to see your mortgage pre-approval before taking you to viewings and engaging with sellers’ realtors.
- List Wants, Needs, and Preferred Location
Before you engage with a realtor, list all of your real estate needs as well as your “nice-to-haves”. Make note of the locations you would prefer to live and areas that are undesirable. Consider your needs for the interior, exterior, yard, local amenities, and proximity to work and leisure activities.
- Contact a Realtor with Experience in Local Real Estate
An experienced realtor will understand local regulations and how to navigate buyers’, sellers’, and neutral markets to optimize your purchase. Select a realtor based on their proven experience and knowledge of current market conditions.
- View Properties Online and In Person
Browse properties online based on realtor recommendations, or explore MLS for properties that closely match your criteria. For your convenience, your realtor can also set up an automated email list to keep you up-to-date on new listings in your local market. Once you decide on a few favourites, request a showing of the property through your realtor. Your realtor can also arrange in-person showings based on your overall requirements and preferences.
- Narrow Down Choices and Arrange Second Viewing
Narrowing down to your favourites allows you to view properties in more detail before you make an offer. This is also your chance to make note of any conditions you want included or excluded in the offer.
- Choose Property and Submit Offer
After you decide on your perfect property, it’s time to submit your offer. Your realtor to negotiate on your behalf based on current market conditions. A typical offer includes details about price, contract terms, and conditions. Examples of conditions include approved financing, property inspections, and title searches.
- Investigate Conditions and Accept Offer
If the seller agrees to the terms of your offer, it will be accepted upon removal of any conditions. Condition removal may involve other parties such as inspectors, surveyors, and lawyers. When planning your possession date, make sure to consider the time required to investigate and remove conditions.
- Fulfill Conditions and Legal Review
Once the conditions of the offer have been satisfied or removed, the formal real estate agreement and purchase is finalized. The legally-binding contract should only be signed after consultation with your real estate lawyer.
- Purchase Property and Close Deal
The final step of buying real estate in BC is to transfer and notarize the property title and sign your formal mortgage documents with your lender. Once the seller receives the funds for the full purchase amount the buyer will take possession on the contracted date.
While these tips provide a general overview of buying real estate in British Columbia—each journey is individual. I work with you to understand your wants and needs, and match you with properties that align with your budget and overall financial goals.
Interested in purchasing real estate on Vancouver Island?
As a seasoned realtor with an accounting background, I help clients find properties in Victoria, Cowichan Valley, and the South Island’s Westshore communities. Contact me today to discover unique opportunities for home ownership and real estate investment on South Vancouver Island.