Buying Your First Home? Four tips to help guide your decision


When you're buying your first home, one of the key questions you will have is what type of home to buy. The answer is very individual: it really depends on your situation - from the amount of your down payments to where you work to whether you have kids to other personal circumstances.

sure, many of us would love a large house on an expansive property on a quiet cul-de-sac in the best neighbourhood. But that's not always possible.

For your own enjoyment while you live in your home as well as for future resale potential, proximity to transportation, shopping, schools and other amenities is among the key determinants that affect the property's appeal, and ultimately it's value.  After all, those are the qualities potential buyers look for when searching for a home; the more of them your house has when you go to sell, the more it will be attractive to a greater number of people.

While experts suggest you take a long-term view when buying a home, it's also important to not look too far down the road.

Let's be honest, your first home is not likely to be your dream home, and your needs and desires are bound to change throughout the various stages of home ownership.

So, while the answer to the question - what type of home sould you buy? - is specific to circumstances, there are also some common guidelines you can follow.

1 How much can you afford? Experts agree it is never a good idea to make yourself house-poor, and it is a very common mistake, particularly of first-time buyers, to buy more home than you can really afford. Meeting with a mortgage broker or your banker will help determine your full financial picture, assessing everything from your credit rating to how much you have saved for a down payment.  Experts also suggest you "stress-test your plan to see how well you could cope with higher mortgage payments brought on by rising interest rates.

2 How much will it really cost? Another common homebuyer mistake is not being prepared for all the closing costs involved: lawyer fees, land transfer taxes, utilities, insurance, and home inspection and appraisal fees. All of these costs add up, and ultimately should factor into your overall home-shopping budget.

3 Where do you want to live? This question is becoming more important for a number of reasons, though influenced primarily by where you work, how much of commute you want and whether you transportation options include mass transit or only driving. Indeed, especially with gas prices on the rise, proximity to mass transit is something more and more people are looking for in their new home location. It may not be as simple as choosing to live in the city, suburbs, or a small town.

4 What type of home do you want? Once you have determined your options for cost and location, you can then assess what types of homes are available in your price range and desired neighbourhood: Single-family detached, semi-detached, townhome, duplex or condo?

Some many questions, so many choices. The perfect home is out there, whether it's a fixer-upper or a recently renovated show-home. In a hot market there are still lots of great opportunities for first time homebuyers to get into the market.

-- By Wayne Karl

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Kathleen Xie

Kathleen Xie

CENTURY 21 Leading Edge Realty Inc., Brokerage*
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