For many around the Lower Mainland, the mere idea of home shopping sounds like a hectic, stressful and drawn-out process. Everything from finding the right agent, to narrowing down budget and mortgage details can make the process seem like a mountain-sized undertaking.
For Michelle Lysohirka, buying her first home was simple, fast and easy. She and her partner were looking for a three-bedroom townhome with a garage in Langley for under $400K. They were able to find a home within days, place an offer on a Friday and close the deal by the following Monday.
Here are four key takeaways from Michelle's experience.
1: Finding a Home
"I think our agent was really the key element that made this process so much easier," Michelle explains. "I reached out to her on a Thursday and she started emailing me listings instantly. The next day, she showed us a home and by the Monday we had closed the deal. She read all of 200-page strata documents and when it came to the home inspection, and recommended a really good place that was surprisingly affordable. She even asked questions related to the strata minutes to the home inspector."
2: Placing an Offer
When it came to placing an offer, Michelle decided to trust her gut and go with the first home she saw, which worked in her favour. "We hesitated to buy the first thing we saw, but it ended up being the best decision we made because there was absolutely nothing available after that. I even looked the other day on REW.ca for a similar home in Abbotsford, which is even further away from Vancouver and it was even more expensive."
3. Mortgage Approval
One standout aspect of the home-buying process for Michelle was finding the right mortgage and preparing mortgage documents.
"We decided to compare the rates of a mortgage broker with a big bank and they gave us the same rates, so we decided to go with an actual bank whose reputation we were comfortable with and that we could trust," she says. "I also didn't realize just how much information I had to provide to get vetted for a mortgage."
4. Knowledge is Key
Michelle's main piece of advice to first-time home buyers is to go with a more experienced agent over a more relatable agent. She also suggests to really evaluate expectations and learn as much as you can about the surrounding neighbourhood. "Monitoring properties on REW.ca with filters based on the type of home I wanted really helped as well," Michelle says. "It gave us a really good expectation of what we could afford and where."