• First Time Home Buyer Tips

Helpful hints for buying your first home

As a first time home buyer, it is not unusual to be overwhelmed with emotions. It is an exciting part of growing up and the process will result with the biggest purchase you have made yet in your life. It is crucial that you keep your emotions in check as much as possible, and to ease your anxiety follow these tips to make your experience as painless as possible. Don’t forget to visit our Frequently Asked Questions page for additional information.

1.
Get a pre-approval for your mortgage which is usually good for 90 days and understand your mortgage options

To help determine what you can afford talk to a mortgage specialist/broker who will be able to determine whether you pre-qualify. A pre-approved mortgage is a  home loan that has been tentatively agreed upon by a lender, outlining how much money you would receive for specific terms and a certain interest rate. This will set the maximum amount you can afford before you start looking at homes. Once you’ve found the one, understanding all the options of different mortgage solutions is important. More than simply just about the interest rates, the type of mortgage (fixed or variable), terms and flexibility are all equally as important and combined will have a major impact on the overall cost of owning your home. While we recommend a mortgage professional, you should also do your own research. That’s what Google is for!

2.
Determine what you can afford

Before you really begin your house hunting journey, the first thing you should do is take a step back and review exactly what you can afford overall. Ideally everyone wants to be able to find their dream home and move in and live happily ever after, but realistically that dream home may not be in your budget right now. Things that you should look over include your down payment options, current debt, your approximate monthly housing-related costs, closing costs, household income (especially if you’re not the only one purchasing the home) and of course your monthly non-housing related expenditures (like a pair of shoes or six, because we know those add up!) Consult a mortgage professional – that’s what they’re there for! A mortgage calculator may also help! Do remember, just because you are qualified to buy a $400,000 home doesn’t mean you should extend yourself to the upper limit, try and go below that to ensure you are able to afford all the costs including the associated bills that home ownership includes.

3.
Create your wishlist

Some people have an exact image of what they would like their home to be like, while others need to shop several showhomes to get a better idea. Regardless of which category you find yourself in, almost everyone has an idea of certain things they need in their home in order for them to purchase it. Again, depending on your budget, certain things may not be realistic to demand in your home and you need to determine just what features are need-to-have and which are nice-to-have (like 3 bedrooms vs a getting ready/makeup room..which would be awesome, but unnecessary..I guess.)

4.
Establish a down payment amount

There are several down payment options when purchasing a home which should be considered beforehand. Figure out what amount you’d be able to afford and more importantly what you’re comfortable with paying. The best thing to do is to understand the options that are available to you.

5.
Anticipate unforeseen expenses

The cost of buying a home is not simply just the cost of the home itself. Items such as lawyer fees, land transfer taxes and moving costs need to be considered as well. And even after you move in, property tax, insurance, condo fees (if applicable), heating, electricity, water, internet, and even food, cleaning supplies and basic everyday necessities are all part of the overall costs of buying a new home. And we haven’t even discussed décor! It is important to consider all these additional costs that go beyond the cost of your home and budget accordingly, if only to save yourself from the impending heart attack once you realize all the extra costs that you didn’t know about! So plan your budget – I’m sure there’s an app for that =)

6.
Make arrangements to complete a purchase agreement

When you’re ready to complete your purchase agreement, make sure you leave your emotions at the door. Be patient, make sure you’ve seen several houses, and it should reflect current market conditions. Other factors to consider are the seller’s needs, such as the closing date, and your budget.