Buying a home may seem daunting or overwhelming at first - particularly if you're a first-time home buyer. Between mortgage rates, property taxes, negotiating with sellers, and closing the deal, it's easy to feel overwhelmed. There's so much at stake! But don't worry - we got you!


If you familiarize yourself with what it takes to buy your first home beforehand, it can help you navigate the real estate market with ease. So let's get started! We have outlined the major steps that are involved in buying a home in Okotoks or Calgary. 

Step 1: Start gathering a down payment

The very first step every first-time home buyer should tackle is to figure out their finances. Buying a home (particularly for the first time) requires a mortgage, where a lender fronts you the money and you pay them back over time. However, in order to get a mortgage, you'll need to put down some sort of down payment. 

Step 2: Check your credit score

In addition to having a down payment, a first-time home buyer will need a decent credit score. This three-digit number is a numerical summary of your credit report, a detailed document outlining how well you've paid off past debts like for credit cards and college student loans. A lender will check your score and report in order to estimate the odds that you will deliver your monthly payment to them, too. In turn, they will use this info to decide whether or not to loan you money, as well as how much, and at what interest rate.

If a lender sees some late payments or other blemishes in your credit report, this can lower your odds of getting a loan with a great interest rate, or perhaps even jeopardize your chances of getting any loan at all. So, it's essential to know your score and take steps now if necessary to bring it up to snuff. Here is how you can check your credit score. 


Step 3: Get pre-approved for a mortgage

Before you head out home buying in Okotoks, you should seek pre-approval from a lender for a home loan. This is where you meet with a loan officer, ideally a few at various mortgage companies. Each mortgage lender will scrutinize your financial background—such as your debt-to-income ratio and assets—and use this info to determine whether they're willing to loan you money, and what size monthly payment you can realistically afford. This will help you target homes in your price range. And that's good since a purchase price that's beyond your financial reach will make you sweat your mortgage payment and puts you at risk of defaulting on your loan.


As a new home buyer, just keep in mind that mortgage pre-approval is different from mortgage pre-qualification. Pre-qualify, and you're undergoing a much simpler process that can give you a ballpark figure of what you can afford to borrow, but with no promise from the lender. Getting pre-approved is more of a pain since you'll have to provide tons of paperwork, but it's worth the trouble since it guarantees you're creditworthy and can truly buy a home.


Before they even meet with a lender, one step homebuyers can take to begin understanding what they can afford as a monthly mortgage payment is to plug their info into an online home affordability calculator. This will calculate the maximum amount you can afford as a monthly payment.

Step 4: Contact the Magnussen Real Estate Team 

Want a trusty, experienced home-buying guide by your side? Most first-timers will want a great real estate agent—specifically a buyer's agent, who will help you find the right houses, negotiate a great real estate deal, and explain all the nuances of home buying along the way. Like we said - we've got you covered. Find out more about our amazing real estate agents in our "Meet The Team" section. We know the Okotoks Real Estate market inside and out. We also serve clients in Calgary, High River, Airdrie and other surrounding areas covered by the Calgary Real Estate Board. 


The best part??? Our services are FREE to first-time home buyers since the seller pays the sales commission!  


Step 5: Go home buying!

This is the fun part! As a buyer, you can peruse thousands of real estate listings on our website, Realtor.ca, or through the targetted email search we will set up for you! Then ask your Jay Magnussen, Savannah Magnussen or Neil Donnelly to set up appointments to see your favorites in person. Since the sheer number of homes can become overwhelming, it's best to separate your must-haves from those features you'd like, but don't really need. Do you really want a new home or do you prefer a fixer-upper? Make a list of your wants and needs to get started, and whittle down your options.

Step 6: Make an offer

Found your dream home? Then it's time to make an offer to the seller. Our professional Remax real estate team will offer you market insights and do a property CMA before deciding what to offer on this home. We got you. 

Step 7: Get a home inspection

A home inspection is where you hire a home inspector to check out the house from top to bottom to determine if there are any problems with it that might make you think twice about moving forward. Think mold, faulty foundation, plumbing issues, etc. Sure, a lot can go wrong, but rest assured that most problems are fixable.

Step 8: Get a home appraisal

Even if you got pre-approved for your home loan, your lender will want to conduct a home appraisal. This is where they check out the house to make sure it's a good investment. It's similar to a home inspection, but for your lender. 

Step 9: Head to closing

Closing brings together a variety of parties who are part of the real estate transaction, including the buyer, seller, mortgage representative, lawyers, and others.


Closing is the day you officially get the keys to your new home—and pay all the various parties involved. That will include your down payment for your loan, plus closing costs, the extra fees you pay to process your loan. 

Step 10: Move in!

Done with closing? Got your loan? Congratulations, you've officially graduated from a buyer to a homeowner! See, the home-buying process wasn't so scary after all, right? Now it's time to kick back and enjoy the many beneits of becoming a homeowner.

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You’ve been saving a down payment for a while, weighing your options, looking around at real estate casually. Now you’ve finally decided to do it — you are ready to buy a house!  The process of buying a home in Okotoks or Calgary can be incredibly exciting, yet stressful, all at once.  Where do you start?


It is essential you do your homework before you begin.  Learn from the experiences of others, do some research.  Of course, with so many details involved, slip-ups are inevitable.  But be careful:  learning from your mistakes may prove costly.  Use the following list of pitfalls prepared by our professional Remax Real Estate Team as a guide to help you avoid the most common mistakes.


Mistake 1 - Searching for houses without getting pre-approved by a lender:


Do not mistake pre-approval by a lender with pre-qualification.  Pre-qualification, the first step toward being pre-approved, will point you in the right direction, giving you an idea of the price range of houses you can comfortably afford.  Pre-approval, however, means you become a cash buyer, making negotiations with the seller much easier. As an Okotoks Realtor we have built relationships with many Okotoks Mortgage Brokers and are happy to refer you to one of these brokers.  


Mistake 2 - Allowing “first impressions” to overly influence your decision:

The first impression of a home has been cited as the single most influential factor guiding many purchasers’ choice to buy.  Make a conscious decision beforehand to examine a home as objectively as you can.  Don’t let the current owners’ style or lifestyle sway your judgment.  Beneath the bad décor or messy rooms, these homes may actually suit your needs and offer you a structurally sound base with which to work.  Likewise, don’t jump at home simply because the walls are painted your favorite color!  Make sure you thoroughly investigate the structure beneath the paint before you come to any serious decisions. Magnussen Real Estate will help gude you throug this tricky world. 


Mistake 3 - Failing to have the home inspected before you buy:

Buying a home in Okotoks or Calgary is a major financial decision that is often made after having spent very little time on the property itself.  A home inspection performed by a competent company will help you enter the negotiation process with eyes wide open, offering you added reassurance that the choice you’re making is a sound one, or alerting you to underlying problems that could cost you significant money in both the short and long-run. Our team of real estate agents can suggest reputable home inspection companies for you to consider and will ensure the appropriate clause is entered into your contract.


Mistake 4 - Not knowing and understanding your rights and obligations as listed in the Offer to Purchase:

Make it a priority to know your rights and obligations inside and out.  A lack of understanding about your obligations may, at the very least, cause friction between yourself and the people with whom you are about to enter the contract.  Wrong assumptions, poorly written/ incomprehensible/ missing clauses, or a lack of awareness of how the clauses apply to the purchase, could also contribute to increased costs.  These problems may even lead to a void contract.  So, take the time to go through the contract with a fine-tooth comb, making use of the resources and knowledge offered by your real estate agent and Lawyer.  With their assistance, ensure you thoroughly understand every component of the contract and are able to fulfill your contractual obligations. 


Mistake 5 - Making an offer based on the asking price, not the market value:

Ask your real estate agent for a current CMA (Comparative Market Analysis).  This will provide you with the information necessary to gauge the market value of a home, and will help you avoid over-paying.  What have other similar homes sold for in the area and how long were they on the market?  What is the difference between their asking and selling prices?  Is the home you’re looking at under-priced, over-priced, or fair value?  The seller receives a Comparative Market Analysis before deciding upon an asking price, so make sure you have all the same information at your fingertips.


Mistake 6 - Failing to familiarize yourself with the neighborhood before buying:

Check out the neighborhoods you’re considering ahead of time and ask around.  What amenities does the area have to offer?  Are there schools, churches, parks, or grocery stores within reach?  Consider visiting schools in the area if you have children.  How will you be affected by a new commute to work?  Are there infrastructure projects in development?  All of these factors will influence the way you experience your new home, so ensure you’re well-acquainted with the surrounding area before purchasing.


Mistake 7 - Not looking for home insurance until you are about to move:

If you wait until the last minute, you’ll be rushed to find an insurance policy that’s the ideal fit for you.  Make sure you give yourself enough time to shop around in order to get the best deal.


Mistake 8 - Not recognizing different styles and strategies of negotiation:

Many buyers think that the way to negotiate their way to a fair price is by offering low.  However, in reality, this strategy may actually result in the seller becoming more inflexible, polarizing negotiations.  Employ the knowledge and skills of an experienced Real Estate Agent. Your agent will know what strategies of negotiation will prove most effective for your particular situation. 



Contact our Okotoks & Calgary Real Estate Team for more helpful advice on buying a home!

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