Buying and selling houses is complicated, no matter who you are. Whether you’re a first-time buyer or a real estate agent with decades of experience, every deal is likely to hit at least a few potholes.
Laina Rodney has experienced that first-hand. The Fraser Valley real estate agent knows that at some point in the buying or selling of any home, there’s a chance you’ll encounter a road block.
Encountering last-minute stressors is so common that even her own home purchase hit a pothole. Rodney was well-prepared. She’d built a relationship with her bank, been pre-approved for a mortgage, and got last-minute stress when her lender asked for more paperwork 16 days before closing.
“There’s always a curveball, you just have to know how to handle them,” she says.
That missing piece of paper didn’t derail her deal. Like a pothole, it was just a jolt along the road, and Rodney was able to grip the wheel a little tighter and carry on.
So what can you do to have a smoother road to home-ownership?
A friend in your corner
Step one? Find yourself a real estate agent you can trust.
“I don’t see this as just a job,” says Rodney, “I care about my clients, I care that they find a house they love. It’s not just a transaction.”
Rodney’s focus is people, not houses.
“I pay attention to the finer details. The things that will really make their future house a home.”
That means she’s eager to pitch in however she can help. One homeowner called her up before an open house feeling uncertain about her house’s appearance.
“I went over and helped them tidy it up,” Rodney says.
“I’ve had first-time buyers call me up at midnight. I know it’s stressful, and I’m happy to talk through their worries.”
3 tips for a smoother home purchase
Rodney has three tips for first-timers that will take some of the stress out of buying a home.
- Build a relationship with your bank or mortgage broker —“Ever since the federal government introduced the mortgage stress test, qualifying for a loan can be a bit more difficult,” Rodney says. Get to know your lender early and speak with them often to be clear on your requirements.
- Start pulling paperwork together —“There’s a lot of paperwork. It may take time to gather everything you need,” Rodney says. As more people go paperless, finding all your documentation can take even longer. Start early so you can handle any last-minute hurdles.
- Get pre-approved — “Pre-approval is good for 90 days,” Rodney says, so it’s a good idea to get approved before your start your house hunt. That way you know your budget and comfort levels if you find “the one.”