Buying a new home is stressful. It's can be a long process full of ups and downs. Between getting approved for a loan, touring homes, and negotiating with sellers, it's easy to get overwhelmed by the process.
When moving to a new location, it can be even more challenging. However, moving to a new home in St. Albert, Alberta doesn't have to be difficult.
If you plan ahead and use the resources available to you, buying a new home can be a fantastic, validating experience. Furthermore, St. Albert is a fantastic place to live.
If you're looking for your next house, we want to make your life easier. Keep reading for a quick guide on what to look for when buying homes in St. Albert.
Find the Right Real Estate Agent
Hiring a local, experienced real estate agent is vital when moving to a new location. They know the area, the local housing marketing, and the individual neighbourhoods.
Even if you're from St. Albert, a real estate agent will have more access to home listings as well as other important connections. They can help you find the right home based on the parameters of your search. They are also skilled negotiators, which will be helpful when it comes time to place an offer on a home.
Find a real estate agent who listens to your needs, communicates well and has plenty of availability.
Consider Your Budget
Finding the right home in St. Albert, Alberta means finding a house that is within your budget. Don't overextend yourself by maxing out your monthly budget on your mortgage payments.
Nearly 50% of Canadians live paycheque to paycheque each month. Typically, this is a result of biting off more than they can chew with mortgages, car loans, credit cards, and personal loans.
Figure out how much you can comfortably afford to pay each month for your new house. However, your costs don't end with the mortgage payments. You're also responsible for:
- Provincial transfer tax (property tax)
- Moving expenses
- Furnishing costs
- HOA fees (if your house falls under an HOA)
- Home maintenance and repair costs
- And more
We recommend buying a home and choosing a loan that allows plenty of extra room in your budget for these other expenses.
Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage
Unless you're independently wealthy, to purchase St. Albert real estate, you need to get approved for a home loan. However, what you think you're qualified for and what the mortgage lender approves you for are two different things.
Ultimately, it comes down to your credit score. Typically, you need a credit score of 600 or higher to get a home loan in Canada.
Your credit score is affected by:
- Your bill payment history
- Your debt to income ratio
- Open (and available) lines of credit
- Your various types of credits
- Maxed out credit cards
- Length of credit history
If you can't get approved for the amount or terms you want, it might be beneficial to spend some time improving your credit score before buying Alberta real estate. Use our mortgage calculator to determine your costs.
Determine the Best Location for Your Family and Lifestyle
Once you get pre-approved for a loan, you need to start thinking about where you want to live. Choosing the right home in St. Albert, Alberta is just as much about picking the right location. Take your lifestyle and family into consideration.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- How long of a commute do you want to work?
- What school districts are best for your kids?
- Are there any parks or playgrounds nearby
- How close are the nearest emergency services?
- How safe is the neighbourhood?
- Is the neighbourhood growing or in decline?
- Do you want to be surrounded by neighbours or be more isolated?
Even the perfect home in the wrong location can lead to regret, discomfort, and unhappiness.
Identify Your Top Priorities
Aside from location, you need to figure out what your other priorities are to find the right house in St. Albert, Canada. Immediately, most people think about the size of the house and how many bedrooms it has. This is important if you have a growing family.
You also need to think about the number of bathrooms, outdoor space, entertaining potential, and other features. Does the house have a large garage or shop? How much storage space does the home offer?
Get a Home Inspection
When you find the right home in the right location, your next step is to make a conditional offer. A conditional offer is one that's only valid once certain conditions are met. In this case, we're talking about a conditional offer based on the results of a home inspection.
A home inspection is one of the most important steps in buying Alberta, Canada real estate. You need to make sure the home you're investing in is safe, functional, and in good condition. A home inspector will verify the condition of the home and point out any existing or potential issues (big and small).
Primarily, they'll be looking at the major components of the house, such as:
- Heating and cooling
- Structural integrity
The inspector will also point out things like water damage, mould, signs of pests, superficial damages, peeling paint, etc.
Negotiate with the Seller
Once you receive the inspection results you can make an offer. Based on what the inspector uncovered, you have several options here.
If everything turned out well with the inspection, you can make good on your original conditional offer. If there are any issues (major or minor) you can place an offer based on the seller making the necessary repairs or renovations. Alternatively, you can request only some repairs or no repairs, but ask them to come down accordingly on the price.
Finally, remember that you can always walk away. Whether the home's issues are too significant or the seller isn't willing to compromise, you're not obligated to buy the house. St. Albert, Alberta has a thriving real estate market, there are plenty of other homes for you to look at.
Are You Buying a Home in St. Albert, Alberta?
Are you looking at real estate in St. Albert, Alberta? We would love to help you and your family find the perfect home.
Contact us today to get in touch with one of our experienced real estate agents. We take great pride in helping people like you improve their lives. We look forward to hearing from you.