Buying a home in the Comox Valley
Plain and simple, owning a home can improve your quality of life, provide stability and give you a sense of control you just can't get from renting. You have a place to live when you rent, but buying is something much deeper – and better.
A real estate transaction is a complex process involving stacks of paperwork and a number of outside service providers and contractors. As an experienced buyer's agent I can guide you through this process, answering your questions and serving as your advocate. I will help you find the property that fits your needs, submit offers and counteroffers, suggest a good property inspector and other professionals, and provide all sorts of relevant advice. You'll have me on your side, looking out for your interests every step of the way.
Benefits of Home Ownership versus Renting
Financial investment: Your monthly mortgage payment creates equity for you, not your landlord.
The interest on your mortgage is a tax deduction: While this isn't a reason in itself to buy a home, it's nice to get a break at tax time.
Fixed monthly housing payment: If you opt for a fixed-rate mortgage, the monthly rate of your mortgage won't change for the length of the term.
Tax-free gain: When it's time to sell your home, you don’t pay taxes on the proceeds of the sale that are above what you paid.
If you're unfamiliar with the area where you’re moving, I can be an invaluable resource. I can offer insider knowledge on neighborhoods, schools, access to recreation and shopping districts, and the many other details on local neighborhoods and subdivisions.
It’s important to have a clear picture on the features that matter most to you in a home or location. Creating a list of “must haves” and flexible "nice-to-haves" from the start will make things a lot easier for you.
Factors to consider:
1. Size of home – square footage, number of bathrooms, rooms, etc.
2. Home features – updated fixtures/appliances, property size, garage, storage, etc.
3. Location – proximity to schools, open space, entertainment, work, etc.
4. Neighborhood – older or newer homes? Families, retirees or singles?
5. Room to grow – planning to have more children?
6. Condition – move-in ready or a less expensive home in need of improvements?
I can offer advice on the countless items you should consider according to your lifestyle, budget and particulars.
How Much House Can You Afford?
Knowing how much you can afford to pay is a crucial step in your search. Nailing down your budget early will make the overall process more focused and less stressful. Here’s a good way to figure out how much you can afford:
The 28/36 Rule
The 28/36 rule is an established benchmark used by many lenders to determine how much credit to offer you. Here's how it works:
Get preapproved for a mortgage. Your lender can approve you for a certain to loan amount prior to your home search. This gives you a solid number against which you can assess the affordability of the houses you visit. The "28" refers to the notion that no more than 28 percent of your gross monthly household income should go toward housing costs, which include mortgage principal, interest, taxes and insurance. To calculate, simply multiply your gross monthly income (amount before taxes) by .28. Use this amount as a guide for how much house you can afford.
Example: You earn an annual salary of $70,000. Divide 70,000 by 12, giving you a monthly gross income of $5,833. Multiply that by .28, and you'll find you should spend no more than $1,633 each month on total housing costs. The "36" part of the 28/36 rule refers to your overall debt, which shouldn't exceed 36 percent of your income. This is important to consider because other high monthly debt loads – such as car and credit card payments – impact the amount you can afford to spend on housing.
You can also use the Home Mortgage Calculator on my website to help giver you a better picture of what you can afford.
For first-time home buyers, the tricky part is knowing how much to budget for taxes and insurance. I can assist you with this.