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Hooray for guest posts! Today’s post is by local Realtor Teri Conrad. Teri is a Licensed Realtor in Langley, BC, a social media fanatic, a  regular blogger at her own TLCHOME Rants and Raves . In this post, Teri talks about taking the first steps in buying your first home.  It’s not as hard or as scary as you think!  Read on!

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toe-in-the-waterYou know buying your first home can be a little daunting.  How much cash upfront do you need?  What are the hidden expenses?  How do I know what I qualify for?  Where do I even start???

Fear and overwhelming anxiety coupled with a little shame over appearing uninformed has hindered many a buyer.  But let me assure you – THIS is where we all start!  You don’t know something – until you know it!  So let’s DIVE IN!

So here’s the deal:  You probably qualify for a heck of a lot more than you think you do!  YAY!

Even with the new Mortgage requirements announced this week by the Federal Government?  Yes!

You may have heard Finance Minister Flaherty has made a few adjustments in regards to qualifying for a mortgage but the bottom line is you basically need 5% down and will have to qualify at the 5 year fixed rate -(If I’m talking over your head it simply means that the banks want to ensure that your income can manage a rate increase so they’ll qualify you at the highest rate locked for 5 years).

Honestly – if you couldn’t qualify at this level it’s entirely possible that you would be putting yourself in a precarious financial position.  Trust me – owning your own home is the dream – but being mortgage poor to do it isn’t worth it!

So what do I do?

First thing to do is make a call to a mortgage lender.  Why a lender and not a bank?  Simple:  The lenders have access to all the product out there whereas a bank has only one product to sell!  It’s honestly in your interest to find a lender you trust and work with them! They get paid by the loaning institution so they work to get you the best possible rate and its all completely free to you!  Ask your Realtor for a referral if you if you need help in locating a good lender.

Second – find out what you qualify for so you can narrow your home search.  You will be able to search with confidence when your lender has preapproved you!  Once you know what you can afford, your Realtor can begin gathering listings to fit your criteria and you can begin shopping!  And who doesn’t love shopping?!

(Make sure to leave a little wiggle room for any upgrades like new flooring/ paint or minor repairs when you’re securing your mortgage. )

Most Realtors LOVE working with first-time-home-buyers! Always eager to learn and so excited about getting into the market, I say DIVE IN!

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Teri Conrad  is active on Twitter.  You can follow Teri on Twitter @TLCHOME or check out her website at TLCHOME.

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Cate Morgan-Harlow

Cate Morgan-Harlow is an all arounder, writing about how-to, DIY, and design with gusto. She is a shadowy figure with a mysterious past.