If you still haven’t purchased your first home but hope to do so in the not-too-distant future, know this: it’s a brand new world out there when it comes to real estate sales.
Just ask your parents what it was like to buy their first starter home. They’ll probably tell you about the hassles involved in finding a good agent, finding the right house, saving up for a down payment, applying for a mortgage, and other necessary, time-consuming tasks that must take place before getting the keys to a place they could call their own.
No more. Innovative entrepreneurs and cool new technology have not only streamlined the process of starter home buying, but it’s also made it easier than ever for people in their 20s and 30s with busy lives.
Let’s say you need to find a real estate agent. Maybe most or all of your friends are still renters, so you really don’t have a good way to get a referral to someone who can empathize with you or identify with your needs. That’s where Nobul can help. Led by CEO Regan McGee, Nobul has figured out a way to help homebuyers find the best real estate agents to suit their unique needs — online and at no cost to the buyer.
It’s easy, too.
Nobul analyzes millions of real estate transactions and reviews to recommend the best-performing agents for you and invites them to compete for your business. You, the potential homeowner, can compare them based on commissions, ratings, services offered and experience, and reach out to as many agents as you like at your own convenience. As newer and even younger real estate agents enter the market and register with Nobul, it will continue to be easier to pinpoint the right agent to help you find the right house. In many cases, it wasn’t all that long ago that the newer agents were in your shoes and looking for their own first homes. They’ve been there and can likely relate to your needs and concerns.
The good news is that the company has grown to such an extent that its services are now available in an expanding list of cities in North America, including Toronto, Vancouver, Ottawa, and Miami.
Another thing that’s making first-time home-buying easier is the Government of Canada’s First-Time Home Buyer Incentive, a national initiative that helps people across the nation purchase their first home by offering five or 10 percent of your home’s purchase price to put toward a down payment. The program helps you lower your mortgage carrying costs, making homeownership more affordable at a time when the financial assistance is truly appreciated by many millennials, especially those in the Toronto market.
Now, there are some qualifications. Your total annual qualifying income can’t exceed $120,000. You must be able to meet minimum down payment requirements and your total borrowing can be no more than four times your qualifying income. Also, you (or your partner) have to be a first- time home buyer and a Canadian citizen, permanent resident, or non-permanent resident authorized to work in Canada.
But what about all the houses you have to tour to find the right one, you ask? Thanks to technology, that time-consuming part of the process has been simplified as well. Many real estate agents are now creating websites that feature high-def drone and handheld video, as well as staged photos of new properties. So it’s as easy as going online and clicking on a button to be able to glide through the prospective new home of your dreams, use controls to explore the nooks and crannies and zoom in or out where needed.
Thanks to the impressive visual quality of most of today’s photography and video, you can get an accurate picture of your new house — or several new houses –from afar. Some home buyers are even using this technology to check out potential properties from their current locations before moving to new cities.
This is just the tip of the iceberg, and it’s getting easier every day. Of course, things will continue to improve, so plan to have a (hopefully!) much easier time buying your first home than was experienced by previous generations.