There are many different factors to think about when it comes to finding the house of your dreams in British Columbia. The province has some of the most desirable real estate in the country, whether you’re looking for a rural property surrounded by towering mountain peaks and vast open space, a seaside home, or maybe one of the Vancouver homes for sale that will put you in the heart of a thriving city.
You probably have an idea as to what your “perfect” home might look like, but before you start searching, take the time to know precisely what it must have, what you’d like to have, and where it should be located. Prioritize what’s most important.
You need to know what you can afford before you start looking for that dream home. While there are plenty of calculators that can give you a rough idea, getting pre-approved for a mortgage will tell you definitively. You don’t want to waste time by looking at properties above your budget. It also shows sellers that you’re a serious homebuyer who can secure a mortgage, something more important than ever in a hot sellers’ market.
Be sure to check your credit rating before applying for preapproval. The lower your score, the higher your interest rate, which means the more you’ll have to pay to borrow money. If it’s too low, you may not be approved for a loan at all. In Canada, credit scores range from 300 to 900.
A score above 650 is considered good, but that’s generally the minimum for approval. According to NerdWallet, a credit score above 700 is optimal for the best rate.
One of the most important considerations is location. If you don’t work remotely, where you’ll work and your commute time, opportunities to socialize, take part in outdoor activities, access to healthcare, dining, and shopping, are all things to consider.
Do you want to be near trendy restaurants and clubs? Or do you prefer a more quiet setting? If you have children, good schools are important, and for anyone, safety should be high on the list.
If your dream home isn’t one that’s on a secluded property with lots of acreage but a more urban setting or in the suburbs, the right neighborhood is essential too. Keep in mind that a good neighborhood can significantly increase the resale value of the home if you decide to sell in the future.
Factors like noise, traffic, and friendly neighbors (or unfriendly as the case may be) can all impact the quality of your life too.
With so many neighborhoods to choose from, the Internet is your friend when it comes to finding the best. Sites like WalkScore provide information about walkability to parks, restaurants, and other places of interest. You should also read through neighborhood-specific sites like Nextdoor and scan Facebook forums and groups related to the community to get a feel for the vibe.
Find the Right Real Estate Agent
Having the right real estate agent is key to finding your dream house in British Columbia. You’ll want someone who knows the market inside and out with plenty of years of experience. A good personality fit is important too, as you’ll be spending a lot of time together touring homes.
The agent should be professional yet friendly, have good communication skills that include listening to understand what you want so they can find it for you. Responsiveness is vital as you don’t want to chase them down to get answers. They should be quick to respond and be eager to help you throughout the entire process.