13 Most Googled Questions About Real Estate in 2023

13 Most Googled Questions About Real Estate in 2023

Most of us have questions about real estate, especially if we plan on buying or selling a home. Here are some of the most Googled questions about real estate so you can get a good start finding the answers you need.

Should I buy or rent a home?

This isn't a straightforward question. Many people say that renting is burning money and you should always buy, but it's not always that cut and dry. A better rule is that you should buy if you plan on staying in the home for five or more years. Bear in mind that in Calgary, house prices are trending up.

What type of home should I buy with my budget?

It depends! You should take into account more than just the cost of your home. Buying a cheap, large home that you don't have time to enjoy because of a long commute might not work as well as a smaller home or a luxury condo in the city. The average price for all homes in the Calgary area is $528,700.

Consider your needs and determine how to fit them into your budget.

Should I buy an older home or a new build?

Old homes have character, but they can also have a higher maintenance cost and a higher risk of something wrong with them. A new home, meanwhile, is more likely to be in good condition but in a cookie-cutter development. Of course, if you have a high enough budget, you can afford to buy a home designed to fit your needs.

How can I find out about my desired location's amenities, attractions, etc?

The internet can tell you some things. Check the local Chamber of Commerce website for businesses. Your desired location might also have a tourism website, which is great for attractions, restaurants, and more.

But the best way to find out what's there is to ask your luxury real estate agent. You can also ask neighbors when you view the home.

How much down payment do I need?

Canadian law sets minimum down payments as 5% of the purchase price for homes worth $500,000 or less, 5% of the first $400,000, and 10% of the rest for homes between $500,000 and $999,999, and 20% for homes worth $1 million or more. Lenders may ask for a higher down payment, especially if you're self-employed.

However, a down payment of less than 20% means you must buy mortgage loan insurance (you may be required to get it anyway if self-employed), and the premiums may be as much as 4.5% of your mortgage amount. Paying 20% helps avoid this; the more you put down, the less you will owe.

When's the best time of year to apply for a mortgage?

This relates directly to the best time to buy a home. While you might not have the choice (say you're relocating for work), ideally, January is the best time to buy a home. Why? Fewer buyers are brave enough to come out in Calgary's winters to look at homes, so prices and competition are lower. This means you should apply for a mortgage in November to allow time for preapproval, which can take several weeks.

How can I save money on my mortgage payments?

Paying at least 20% down can typically allow you to escape the burden of mortgage loan insurance, so that's one way to save money if you can afford it.

You can lower your payments with a longer term but save money overall on a shorter term. Another way to pay it off faster and save money is to opt for more frequent payments. Bi-weekly or weekly payments are often easier to manage, and accelerated payments mean you make one extra payment a year without noticing it.

The real key is to shop around for a loan and get the best interest rate you can. A fixed interest rate will protect you from fluctuations, but some people prefer to take advantage of low rates by choosing an adjustable-rate mortgage.

How can I find the right home to buy?

These days, many people find homes by searching on real estate apps or the internet. While this is a solid way to find a home, it's not as good as engaging a buyer's agent. Real estate agents know the area and talk to each other. A buyer's agent, particularly if you have a luxury budget, may be able to find you the perfect home before it's even listed!

It's a seller's market; should I still consider buying?

Your immediate reaction is probably no. However, sometimes life may give you no choice. If you have to buy in a seller's market, you need the best buyer's agent you can find. You must also get pre-approved, increase your earnest money if possible, and minimize contingencies. If you can buy cash, then that's even better.

How can I work out my home's market value?

An easy way to estimate how much your home is worth is to look at sales listings for your neighborhood. See what comparable homes are going for. You can also appraise your home, which is a good idea before selling, or talk to a real estate agent. A real estate agent can often give a more accurate estimate than you can come up with on your own.

Can I get out of real estate contracts?

Typically, you can't get out of a sale contract without consequences. You can withdraw an offer or counter-offer after the time limit or if the other party hasn't formally accepted it. Either party can also back out if something happens that makes the sale agreement impossible to complete, such as the property being destroyed.

You can't back out of buying a new home if the price goes up, which is something to consider when ordering a new build.

How much does a real estate agent expect to be paid for the sale?

Real estate agents are paid a commission that is based on a percentage of the property, although some may take a flat fee. This money comes out of the sale price of the home and is paid by the seller.

Do I need a real estate agent?

Technically, no. You can sell or buy a house on your own. However, you should engage the services of an experienced real estate agent, especially if you're looking for a home in an unfamiliar area or purchasing a high-ticket luxury property. Real estate agents can help you get the best deal, whether buying or selling and can help you find the perfect property.

How can a luxury real estate agent help me find the right home?

If you are buying or selling high-ticket real estate, you need a real estate agent who is experienced in dealing with high-value properties and is local to your area. In Calgary, The McKelvie Group has the experience and skills you need to get the best price possible, whether buying or selling. They also have answers to any other questions you have that are not included in this post.

*Header photo courtesy of Unsplash

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