We love first-time buyers! Your first home purchase is likely the biggest investment you’ll make in your life, and we are here to guide you through the process. This may seem a bit hectic but buying your first home should be an exciting experience! If you are considering purchasing your first home but feeling overwhelmed here are four initial steps to get you headed in the right direction!
A mortgage pre-approval is the most crucial item for a first time home buyer, as it will assist in understanding where you stand affordability wise. This knowledge is invaluable and will give you confidence in your planning and searching efforts.
It’s never fun to fall in love with a house that you can’t afford. Avoid the heartbreak by taking the time to analyze your financial situation before you begin the search. Start by reviewing your credit score, monitoring your debt and choosing an appropriate down payment. Meeting with a financial professional can help you get an accurate picture of your financial situation and the loans you are eligible for.
Decide what is important to you. Establish “needs” and “wants”
Once we have established affordability, a great next step would be to make a list of “must-have” items and prioritize these items, followed by the “would be nice to have” items.
A “must-have” list encourages you to write out exactly what you need in a new home and will significantly aid in narrowing down the scope of your search. This list will also foster communication on critical aspects of your new home that might not have been discussed previously, and help you identify requirements that may be in conflict with each other.
Focus your list on the high-level, pricey aspects of a home. Minor changes such as painting and smaller renovation projects can be worked on down the road, but changes that add up in time and money should be avoided (think kitchen remodels or adding another bathroom, older fixtures like a furnace, AC or roof). Narrowing down your search to homes that don’t require major changes will help ensure you choose a home that is within your budget.
If you are struggling on where to start, think about what type of home you want to live in–Detached, Townhome, Semi-detached, apartment unit and consider the type of ownership-Freehold or Condo?
- How many bathrooms and bedrooms do you need?
- Do you want a fireplace or a pool?
- What’s the minimum lot size you would be comfortable with and do you require a garage?
Keep your list short and sweet–try to keep your must-haves on the shorter side by focusing on major requirements and ranking them by importance. Prioritizing your list will help when it comes to decision-making time, as selecting a home will often require some flexibility. Your list will provide you with an easy way to determine which aspects you can compromise on and which are red flags telling you to move on.
Having this list in mind will assist in narrowing down possibilities during the selection process. Being a first time home buyer, it is also best to keep your growing needs in mind, as well as your lifestyle, commutability to work and one of the most important items to weigh in on: “will this home help me to build equity?”
Location, Location, Location!
While the importance of location is often a no-brainer, the location of your potential new home serves multiple purposes. The location will impact your daily life and happiness as well as your home’s value down the road.
When looking at location in terms of resale value, you want to look at a multitude of things: school districts, crime stats, and the neighborhood and community.
Along with the resale value, analyze the location of a home from the perspective of your wellbeing and happiness. Things such as your daily commute, surrounding noise, and community will greatly shape your experience in the home.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, working with a knowledgeable Realtor is vital! It’s also important that your realtor is experienced within the market you’re planning on purchasing in as they can advise on market trends, pricing, by-laws, pros/cons of neighbourhoods and much more.
Our main goal is to guide and educate. We will help take the stress out of the equation and assist in navigating throughout the process.
Contact our team today if you are thinking of purchasing your first home, we’d love to hear from you and help you accomplish your real estate goals!
Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails.
Explore. Dream. Discover.– Mark Twain