Questions That First-Time Home Buyers Need To Ask

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Metro Vancouver’s housing market is now showing steady home sales and has comparatively eased from the previously record-shattering home sales at the peak of the pandemic. If you’re on the lookout for your forever home, here’s a useful checklist of questions that can help you get started:

How is the neighbourhood?

The one unchangeable part about your home is the neighbourhood it comes in. Before you decide to settle into your forever home for the next decade or more, it’s important to gain a good understanding of your environs and choose the right neighbourhood. Your realtor can help you find out key information, such as community crime statistics, nearby amenities, homeowners association rules (if applicable), hospitals in the area, school ratings, and even day-to-day factors like how busy traffic is where you’ll be living.

How long has the house been on the market?

The seller’s motivation to see the house often increases the longer a house has been on the market. This allows for greater flexibility to negotiate the price, contingencies, credits on closing costs and other terms. 

Does the house have any known defects?

It’s crucial to get a home inspection done by a professional to avoid any major issues later. The inspection report should highlight the home’s overall structural conditions, health and safety hazards if any (for items like lead paint, radon, mold or other major hazards), and help you negotiate for concessions with the seller. Ask for repairs or seller-paid credits before closing the deal! 

What are closing costs? How much will I pay?

On closing day, in addition to the down payment, you may also be forking over closing costs. Closing costs typically include third-party fees for processing paperwork and handling other administrative tasks. 

Buyers are often expected to pay anywhere between 2-5% of the home price in closing costs, however, this can differ depending on your neighbourhood. Be sure to receive the closing disclosure from your lender who should provide you with a detailed account of all your loan fees and how much cash you’ll need to close. 

How Much Will Property Taxes Cost?  

Your trusted realtor would be the best source to answer this question to help estimate how high the taxes will be on the property. It would help tremendously to do your research ahead of time so you aren’t surprised by rate increases. 

Are there any government programs that assist first-time buyers? 

BC Government also has grants, rebates, and tax credit measures in place for first-time homebuyers who are eligible for exemption from property transfer tax. Depending on the fair market value of the property, you may be eligible for total or partial exemption.


Looking for your Havn?

We’re here to help. Stilhavn’s trusted REALTORS® are available to answer questions you have about buying a house in Vancouver, including listing or browsing virtual open houses. Check out our latest listings or get in touch today!