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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Oversupplied market weighs on prices

Elevated inventory levels compared to sales, are causing prices to ease further in Calgary’s housing market.

Citywide benchmark prices totaled $426,300 in October, trending down for the fifth consecutive month and resulting in a year-over-year decline of 2.9 per cent.

“Job growth in this city remains a concern, as unemployment levels remain well above levels expected for this year. Rising costs of ownership also continue to weigh on housing demand,” said CREB® chief economist Ann-Marie Lurie.

“At the same time, housing supply levels are not adjusting fast enough to current conditions, resulting in price adjustments.”

Inventories and sales totaled 7,345 and 1,322 in October. This has resulted in months of supply of 5.6, above levels typical for this month. While some easing in new listing growth will help prevent further inventory gains, inventory levels remain near record highs for the month of October.

“With these types of market conditions, many potential buyers should be able to find the home that they are looking for with well priced listings appearing in certain price ranges,” said CREB® president Tom Westcott. “Sellers need to manage expectations and have accurate data in order to be aware of what is selling in their community.”

For each of the property types, sales activity has improved in the lower price ranges, leaving most of those segments relatively balanced. However, the upper end of the ranges has seen significant gains in supply compared to demand, which is likely having more of an impact on prices in those ranges.

HOUSING MARKET FACTS

Detached

  • Detached sales in October totaled 829 units, for an 8.6-per-cent decline, resulting in a year-to-date decline of 15 per cent. This is the slowest level of detached sales since the late ’90s. 
  • Year-to-date, the largest decline in sales occurred in the $600,000 – $999,999 price range, reflecting slow demand coming from move-up buyers.
  • For the second month in a row, new-listing growth eased, helping prevent further inventory gains. However, as this segment remains oversupplied, prices continue to trend down. 
  • Detached benchmark prices totaled $490,200 in October. This is below last month and three per cent below last year. On a year-to-date basis, prices remain one per cent below last year’s levels.
  • As of October, year-over-year prices have eased across all districts, with the largest declines occurring in the North East, North West, South and South East districts. This is likely a result of added competition from the new-home sector. 

Apartment

  • Year-to-date apartment sales have totaled 2,316 units, nearly seven per cent below last year. New listings have also eased by six per cent, helping reduce the amount of inventory in the market.
  • Despite the easing inventories, the months of supply remains elevated at 7 months. 
  • Year-to-date apartment condominium prices have eased by 2.8 per cent and remain 14 per cent below 2014 highs. Declines occurred across all districts, with the steepest declines occurring in the North East, East and South districts.

Attached

  • The attached sector has recorded year-to-date sales of 3,098. This is 15 per cent below last year and 14 per cent below long-term averages. 
  • Meanwhile, despite recent easing in new listings, October inventories are the highest level on record.
  • The oversupply is affecting both the semi-detached and row sectors, which have seen prices trend down over the past 5 months.
  • Year-to-date, row benchmark prices have averaged $298,140 this year, nearly two per cent below last year and nine per cent below previous highs. However, prices have remained relatively flat in both the City Centre and North West districts.
  • As of October, semi-detached prices were $403,400, one per cent lower than last month and nearly three per cent lower than last year. Despite recent declines, year-to-date citywide prices remain relatively flat compared to last year. This was most due to gains in the City Centre, North East and East districts offsetting declines in the North West, South and South East.

REGIONAL MARKET FACTS


Okotoks

  • Year-to-date residential sales have declined to 428 units in 2018, comparable to levels from 2011 and well below long-term averages. 
  • New listings are elevated at 936 units, which is eight per cent higher than last year’s levels and close to long-term averages. Inventory levels in October remain elevated with 232 units.   
  • Despite gains in the amount of supply compared to sales, Okotoks detached prices have seen some modest gains.  Year-to-date benchmark prices for detached properties totaled $436,660, 1.25 per cent higher than last year. 


Airdrie

  • Airdrie’s housing market continues to experience declining sales and increasing inventory compared to last year. Elevated supply levels have led to downward pressures on the benchmark prices for detached homes. 
  • Total year-to-date residential sales have reached 1,032 units, 11 percent below levels last year. Year-to-date, new listings have remained relatively stable, but remain well above long-term averages. 
  • Year-to-date average inventory levels are 19 per cent higher than. As a result, months of supply have been elevated, and presently stand at six months. This has translated to sustained pressure on benchmark price, with the year-to-date value of detached homes now sitting at $370,880, which is a year-over-year decline of nearly two percent. 

Cochrane

  • Year-to-date, residential sales have declined by 10 per cent, with 530 sales so far in 2018. These levels are comparable to similar periods in the past few years and higher than long-term averages. 
  • At 1,164 units, new listings have reached a historical peak for this period and well above long-term averages. Inventory levels in Cochrane for 2018 have been persistently elevated and are almost 17 per cent higher than the same period last year.
  • This has started to place some downward pressure on prices. However, year-to-date detached benchmark prices have remained relatively stable compared to last year with a benchmark price of $424,900. 


Source: CREB.com

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Data supplied by CREB®’s MLS® System. CREB® is the owner of the copyright in its MLS® System. The Listing data is deemed reliable but is not guaranteed accurate by CREB®.
The trademarks MLS®, Multiple Listing Service® and the associated logos are owned by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) and identify the quality of services provided by real estate professionals who are members of CREA. Used under license.
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