Home Sweet Home

Congratulations! You've finally decided to take the plunge and become a home owner. You've decided the town and the neighborhood where you want to live, and now you just have to find the right property for you.

Deciding What To Look At

When you first contact a real estate agent or a realtor make sure you are clear about what type of place you are looking for.

· What is your price range? It's no good going to see lots of great properties if they are outside your price range

· If you need maximum mortgage financing your finance lender will expect you to buy a reasonably conventional property. They won't normally want to fund an eco-house for instance, unless it's a green finance company

· How big a place do you want? Do you prefer a more open-plan layout or do you want clearly defined rooms

· Do you need a large garage or driveway or would you prefer more house room

The clearer you are about what you want before you see the realtor the more they will be able to help you find the right property.

Now get ready to go house-hunting.

Looking At Properties

· Get a three ring binder or note book where you can keep the realtor's house details and make notes about each property you look at

· Take a tape-measure so that you can check the measurements on the house specifications sheet that the realtor gives you. If you are looking at small apartments you want to make sure that your favorite furniture pieces will actually fit the rooms don't you?

· Don't be put off by a house because you don't like the décor. Remember that is a superficial thing that can be changed very easily

· Try to imagine yourself living in the house. Very often people buy a house on the immediate impression it gives them, otherwise known as 'the blink' or the 'feel' of the house. However you need to follow that up with reading and understanding property disclosure document about the house before you decide if you want to make an offer on a property. For example if the property is near a river, it might mean that it is prone to flooding and with the possibility of global warming it could flood more and more often

· Once you have seen a property you really like and think you want to buy, go and see it again. After all this is the most major purchase most people make in their lifetime so don't make a decision on the basis of one quick view of the property. You wouldn't buy a car without taking it for test drive, so make sure you can spend some time in each room of the property to be really sure that you could live there

· Take your time. As a buyer you are in a strong position at the moment with the downturn in the market, so don't be rushed into a decision. In fact you may be even be able to negotiate the price down, or have the owner include certain things in the price, like the carpets, curtains or even the kitchen appliances

· Make sure that you and your partner are on the same page about the property. If one of you wants to live in the city and the other in the country, compromising by living in the suburbs may not please either of you!

Check out the rest of our site for more information and advice on home ownership.