Buying your first home is an exciting and scary experience. Knowing that you will have a place to call your own is enthralling, but the process can be terrifying. There are a lot of questions you need to ask yourself as a first-time homebuyer, and some of the more important ones may surprise you. Before you start your search, sit down and ask yourself the hard questions.
Decide what is most important to you.
You’ve always pictured your dream home: close to the thriving downtown core, with a big backyard for entertaining, and lots of room inside for your family to grow. Once you start searching for homes, you will quickly find that it isn’t easy to check off every box on your list. If it’s important for you to be able to walk to your favourite hotspots, you may have to sacrifice your big backyard. If you want the space for a growing family, you may have to accept a twenty-minute commute to the office. Make your list and choose a few criteria on which you are unwilling to settle, and then create a secondary list with things that would be nice to have but aren’t deal-breakers, like a two-car garage or heated bathroom floors.
Commit to your down payment.
Perhaps you have a number in your head of what you can afford for a down payment, but when you see your mortgage specialist you get a pleasant surprise: the required down payment is quite a bit less than you had anticipated! What should you do with this extra money? You might be tempted to invest it in the stock market or buy some furniture for your new home. The best thing you could do with that extra money is to include it in your down payment anyway. Investing in your down payment is the smartest thing you could do, as it minimizes risk and allows you to start your life as a homeowner with some equity. Remember that real estate will always be a good investment.
A higher price point may end up costing you less.
Seeing a house on the lower end of your budget that checks off many of your boxes is undeniably exciting. However, that old saying “you get what you pay for” should not be discredited. A lower price point may be an indicator of what’s to come in the way of renovations and repairs. Remodelling is expensive and time-consuming and doing repairs on your own can end up costing you more in the end. Paying a little more upfront often means that you are getting more for your money and will be saving time, energy, and money long-term.
Take all of this into consideration as you begin your house hunt. Work closely with your realtor and your mortgage specialist to ensure that your needs are met and that your first home will be one you fill with wonderful and long-lasting memories.
Be sure to subscribe to our newsletter for up-to-date news and events.