Vancouver First-Time Home Buyer Process: A Step-By-Step Guide

Vancouver First-Time Home Buyer Process: A Step-By-Step Guide

At a glance, the home buying process can feel like a daunting or challenging experience, especially for a first-timer. The West Haven Group is here to simplify the process and provide you with a step-by-step guide for becoming a homeowner!

In the video below, Alec Abbott breaks down the 9 steps to becoming a first time home buyer in Vancouver.

First Time Home Buyer Process – Getting Started 

Step 1 – Choosing Your Realtor

There is no shortage of real estate agents in Vancouver, but finding the right one is very important. You want an experienced agent who listens to you and knows how to navigate the local market. By the end, you will be working hand in hand with this person so find someone you can build a relationship with and trust.
A couple of simple ways to ensure you find the perfect agent are:

  • Ask a friend, family, or colleagues to see if they’ve worked with someone they liked and would recommend.

  • Spend some time researching and looking for reviews online. Some places to start are Google and REW.

Once you’ve narrowed it down to some potential options, we encourage you to meet and interview each agent separately to assess which Vancouver realtor you’d like to work with.

Step 2 – Choosing your mortgage broker

Similar to finding a realtor, finding the right mortgage broker will ensure you will be taken care of and will be provided with the best financial guidance and advice. One additional benefit of working with a mortgage broker versus a bank is the ability to be able to search across lenders for the best rate.

If you need mortgage broker recommendations, feel free to reach out to us and we can connect you with some local mortgage brokers we’ve worked with.

Step 3 – Analyze your wants and needs

Pinpointing what you would ideally want in your future home can seem like a daunting task. Simply start by creating a list of all your wants, needs, and non-negotiable items. As an example, include things like ideal locations, whether having a patio is a must and if having a gas stove is a ‘nice to have’.
Starting this list at the beginning of your home buying process will be very helpful for you and your agent as you start touring properties.

Screen Shot 2021-05-26 at 10.37.43 AM.png

First Time Home Buyer Process – Shopping Time 

Step 4 – Touring Properties

This is the most exciting part of the entire process so make sure to enjoy it and approach it with an open mind. Some will find their home after the first viewing and for others, it might take a bit longer.

With every home you view, you are getting closer to finding the right one! Lean into your realtor’s expertise, ask questions and stay positive.

Step 5 – Choosing Your Price

After you’ve found a property that you’d like to submit an offer on, your realtor will do a market analysis of sold comparable in the area and the building. After taking a few factors into consideration like renovations or days listed, you will discuss your strategy.

Step 6 – Presenting Your Offer

Depending on your personal needs and the state of the market, this step can vary. Regardless, your realtor will include clauses that will protect you and keep your best interests.

When writing an offer, it can include subjects like:

  • Subject to inspection

  • Subject to financing

  • Subject to reading the strata documents.

With every offer you make, you will also have to set a completion date and a possession date. The completion date is when the title shifts from the seller to the buyer and the possession date is when you officially get your keys and can move in.

Screen Shot 2021-05-26 at 10.42.28 AM.png

First Time Home Buyer Process – Closing The Deal

Step 7 – Negotiation Phase

Once your offer has been submitted, your agent will negotiate on your behalf on things like price or subjects. If your offer is accepted, you will enter into the subject removal phase. Based on your subjects and what was stipulated in your contract, this time is set to complete things like:

  • Performing an Inspection

  • Finalizing your financing

  • Reading through strata docs

On the last day of your subject removal day, you have the option to put down a 5% deposit to hold the property.

Step 8 – Post Subject Removal

Once your subjects have been removed, this is the time to start looking for a lawyer or a notary to help you with the closing of the deal. This person will handle all of the transfer of funds and any legal matters that need to take care of. Around 7 -10 days closer to the possession date, you will need to sign and complete the deal.

If you need notary or lawyer recommendations, feel free to reach out to us and we can connect you with some local mortgage brokers we’ve worked with.

Step 9 – Move To Your New Home

On possession day, you will do a walk-through with your realtor to ensure the property is clean and if you had stipulated something had to be fixed, this is your chance to double-check. Once this is all completed, you will be handed the keys, and congratulations, you are a new homeowner!

Are you ready to buy a property in Vancouver?

As complex as the home buying process may seem, you are now one step closer to the purchase of your home! As a team of top 1% realtors in Greater Vancouver, the West Haven Group is here to support you through every step of the way. Get in touch with us and we’d be happy to answer all of your questions.

7 Tips to Find a Real Estate Agent in Vancouver

7 Tips to Find a Real Estate Agent in Vancouver

Whilst all Realtor’s in Vancouver are licensed to operate, finding the right agent for your property purchase or sale isn’t a simple task. Whilst many people will interview a number of agents, most don’t know which questions to ask, or what to actually look for to make sure the entire experience is seamless and enjoyable. Using these these 7 tips you’ll be able to find a real estate agent in Vancouver in no time.

1. Your Agent Should Know and Love Vancouver!

We’re starting this list with one of the more obvious, but also most important, tips to find a great Real Estate agent- your agent should know and love Vancouver!

They should be very aware of the market itself, and be able to tell you:

  • The benefits and drawbacks of each neighbourhood

  • The amenities available, e.g. schools, shops, gyms

  • The current state of the market in those areas, including which types of property are more popular, where new developments are taking place, average listing/sales prices etc…

Any agent can look up these figures and information, but having an agent who knows the area well can also keep you informed of market trends, as well as other potentially impactful developments such as:

  • New property developments such as condo’s or large commercial spaces

  • Zoning and by-law restrictions

Any other restrictions or caveats to be aware of in your property search, e.g. are the properties predominately free hold or lease-hold titled?

2. Your Realtor Should Have an Exceptional Track Record

Sadly, a lot of Realtor’s will tell you your property is worth more than it is in the hopes of signing you on as a client. When it comes to finding the right agent in Vancouver, however, there are a few simple things you can ask for to assess their experience and knowledge. Whether it’s requesting their sales statistics, or ensuring they have a tried and tested property plan (more below), choosing the right agent is as much about instinct as it is about ensuring they have the time and capacity you need to feel comfortable with your property transaction.

So, when searching for a property agent in Vancouver- don’t hesitate to ask for references! This could be in the form of testimonials on the agents website, right through to talking with their previous clients (if it’s available to you).

3. Communication is King

Buying or selling Real Estate can be intimidating, and there are many steps that take place throughout the transactional process. An effective agent will make you aware of these stages, as well as guide you through them. Whether it’s:

  • Mortgage applications and brokerage

  • Building inspections

  • Contracts and conditions of sale, or

  • Property viewings

you want an agent that communicates this information to you, and keeps you involved every step of the way.

Your agent is also responsible for liaising between industry professionals (brokers, lawyers, building inspectors etc…) so it’s important to ask, and understand, how and how often you should expect to hear from your agent. Do they answer the phone when you call? Are they quick to reply to emails? Can you contact them easily and quickly if you need to?

4. Does Your Realtor Utilise Technology?

Aside from being key to communication, technology has enabled an entirely new way to market properties and access wider audiences. Online advertising has become integral to a Realtor’s success, and tech-savvy Realtor’s will use it and other tools to their advantage.

Almost all searches for a Real Estate agent in Vancouver start with the internet. This gives you a great starting point for an Agent’s reputation and attention to detail.

  • Do they have a website, and does it provide you with the information you need?

  • Are their current listings available online, and do they present well?

  • Does your prospective agent use social media, and do they market themselves/their company with it?

  • Does your prospective agent make it easy to for buyers/sellers to find their contact information, and get in touch?

  • Can you electronically sign documents to save yourself time and energy?

  • Does your agent use professional photography and/or videography?

  • Do they use any other tools, such as augmented reality walkthroughs, to fully engage with property buyers?

There are no limits to the ways and amount of technology that can be used, so it’s important to find an agent who is up to date with the tools available and uses them effectively.

5. Can Your Agent Work Around Your Schedule?

Even with all the tools available to Realtors, if they don’t have the capacity to accommodate your needs you are unlikely to receive the time and results that you expect. So first things first, it’s important to know how available your agent is and to gauge their involvement in, and knowledge of, the Vancouver property market.

Do they work full time? Are they flexible with contact hours and meetings? Do they have systems in place to ensure that you receive documents and information in a timely and correct manner?

Ultimately you need to make sure that their schedule isn’t overloaded, and that it can fit in with yours.

6. Does Your Agent Have a Property Plan?

Every property is different, but a top-performing Realt
or in Vancouver will have tried and tested marketing strategies and property plans. This should easily communicate how they plan to find or sell your property, and why their services are different or competitive compared to other agents. They should also be able to answer:

  • Which tools and technology do they use?

  • Do they have access to an internal network of listings and other property services?

  • Can they offer realistic advice when it comes to pricing, and do they have the negotiating skills to meet your expectations?

  • Does your agent offer property staging to help you sell your home?

A good agent should also be able to give you a timeline for your property purchase or sale, as well as offer advice and personal contacts when it comes to brokerage, legal, and more.

7. Make Sure You See Eye to Eye With Your Agent

Once you’ve made it through the paperwork and evidence, the best piece of advice we can offer is to go with your instinct. Most prospective buyers/sellers will acknowledge and eventually choose the Agent that they had the best connection with, and this is exceptionally important in Real Estate.

You’re going to be spending a lot of time talking and working with your Agent, and you want to know that they have your best interests at heart. Do they listen to you and understand your wishes and expectations? Are they solution-oriented, and willing to work hard to meet your expectations? Have they helped to make those expectations realistic based on the current market? Are you aware of all the potential costs and pitfalls of the industry? Do your personalities compliment each other, and do you actually get along?

All of these puzzle pieces should come together to give you a real and accurate view of the Vancouver property market, and are just as important in helping you find and choose the right Real Estate agent.

Of course, if you’re interested in buying or selling a property, we’re here to help. As industry leaders the West Haven Group is always available to answer your property questions, and are more than open to a conversation with you. For more information, or to speak with one of our Realtors, reach out and connect with us!