This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of The Co-operators. The opinions and text are all mine.
Years ago when we bought our first homes, we knew our needs were different than they would be down the road. As the kids get older, the house seems to get smaller and all the space we once had feels like it’s closing in on us. For Lisa, on the other hand, as her children have grown and are now leaving for college, her home that once had space for everyone, now feels too big as she becomes an empty nester. Looking for a new home can feel so overwhelming — not knowing what homes are worth, how much you should offer, or what state the home you buy will be in. However, we recently learned it doesn’t have to be. Home buying can be easier than you ever imagined!
There’s an app for that!
In this day and age, there is an app for everything, so as you can imagine, there is an app to make home buying much easier and less stressful! The Home to Be app created by The Co-operators makes gathering that hard to find information a breeze! When you are thinking about buying a home for the first time or moving to a new home after many years, it can feel overwhelming and your mind runs off in a million directions. This can make it difficult to actually get started!
Our first stop was the Home Buying Tips section of the Home to Be app. It provided us with 5 great tips to get started, such as creating a wish list of our must-haves. What’s on your wish list? For Lisa and I, our needs are very different! While I want a spacious home in a child friendly neighbourhood with a good school and access to a community centre, Lisa is looking for a smaller home in the heart of the city where she can walk out for dinner or to the grocery store! It’s important to know what you are looking for as well as what you aren’t so that you pay for what you need. Then of course, it brings you back to reality reminding you to know what you can afford. Everything listed is meant to help you end up in the perfect home!
Things you must think about
Let’s talk about the things no one talks about. Insurance, legal services, and mortgage rates. Yikes! It all sounds so scary, but the truth is, once you are educated in these areas, it won’t seem so scary. The same way Home to Be provides great tips, it does the same for insurance, mortgage rates and legal services. We get it, you don’t want to walk around asking questions that will make you feel uneducated, so instead of searching the net and wondering if you are getting the right info, you can simply open up the different sections in the app to make sure you are getting all the accurate information you are looking for.
It’s all in the numbers
At the end of the day, the question that really matters is what can you afford? Of course we all have wants and needs but at some point it all comes down to the numbers. You will also want to know how much homes are in different areas you are considering. For us, checking out home values on the app was something we did even before we started house hunting! We saw what we could get in our price range or if we had to change some of the must haves on our list. First we were able to figure out how much the homes were that interested us. Then, we opened up the mortgage calculator to crunch some numbers to see what type of mortgage we could afford.
Thinking back to our first home purchase, this would have been an incredible thing to take advantage of! It would have allowed us to play with some numbers to figure out what would be best for our family. As you decide whether or not to make an offer on a home, you enter a few different offers to see how your monthly mortgage would change. That tool takes all the guess work out of the equation.
Know exactly what you are buying
When we bought our first home, we bought in a time where home inspections were unlikely. Too many people made offers on each home. Asking for a home inspection basically meant you lost the house. Had we had access to the Home to Be app, we would have been privy to information we wouldn’t have otherwise known. Using the in-app guides, you can report on the state of the home, which allows the app to give you an estimate on how much you might have to spend on hidden costs. Buying property always results in a surprise or two. It helps to do what you can to arm yourself for success! After all, buying a home is a very exciting experience, especially when you know exactly what you are in for!