First time homeownership brings with it a daunting list of fears and what-ifs that are accompanied by an equally emotional list of joys and rewards.
Much of our anxieties as first timers stem from a lack of knowledge and understanding. While you know you want a semi-detached home over a condo, your grasp of mortgages, closing costs and realtor sales commissions may be a little lacking.
Unless your parents are in the real estate business, don’t look to them for advice. Chances are they haven’t purchased real estate in many, many years. Try studying your local real estate market online or attend a free seminar for first-time home buyers.
On the plus side, home ownership gives you independence; it sets you on the path to your dream home and helps you build equity. If you have a green thumb or a decorator’s eye, you’ll find hours of pleasure and pride working on your house and garden.
Here are a few tips that might allay some of those first-time buyer fears:
Buyer’s Remorse – Prepare a list of the must-haves you require and stick with it. Stay within your price range and be sure to sleep on your decision before putting in an offer no matter how much you love the house. Try to view it a second time before placing an offer as the property will either come more into focus or go out of focus.
Devalued Property – Even Warren Buffett can’t predict how the real estate market will fare. If you can afford it, buy in an established neighbourhood where homes are well maintained and lived in by their owners.
Too High Maintenance Costs – To avoid getting saddled with a money pit buy a home that is well maintained or one that has recently underwent new upgrades such as a new roof, new furnace or new electrical wiring. You may want to buy a new home to avoid unexpected costs, though that’s not always a guarantee. Always get your home inspected before buying. While there are no guarantees, a good home inspector can ferret out problems you would likely oversee.
To help you on your journey of first time homeownership, be sure to use the help of a licensed realtor.