The time has come, you are ready to enter the exciting world of home ownership. You’ve saved, you’ve imagined and now you are ready to put a deposit on the home of your dreams (when you find it, of course).
Buying your first home can be exhilarating and overwhelming all at the same time. Take a deep breath and follow these tips to make your first experience a great one.
- Consider all your costs: There's more to consider then just the mortgage and moving costs when it comes to home ownership. There are taxes, utilities, legal fees, insurance and maintenance costs involved as well. Expect to pay about 1% or more of the purchase price on home maintenance each year. This can involve anything from a new furnace to carpet cleaning and that’s not even counting the unexpected (hint: furnace blows in the middle of winter).
- Make sure you have money left over: A home isn’t really a home until you make it your own right? Don’t max out on the house purchase. Leave enough financial wiggle room for renovations to personalize your space and make it functional for your needs. Even in new builds there are costs: installing air conditioning or central vac, deck, landscaping and fences or finishing the basement.
- Do more than research the neighborhood, check out your neighbors: You finally find your perfect home in the perfect neighborhood! Great! So what if the neighbor’s lawn looks like a jungle or that there is garbage piling up in the gutters? Remember you can always improve your own home but you have no control over your neighbors and what they do. This can have a negative impact on your home’s value.
- Leave your emotions out of it: It's hard not to feel the heart strings tug when you find a wonderful property but getting too attached can cause you to ignore red flags or unsuitable aspects or even get caught up into a bidding war paying way more then you planned on. A realtor can help keep you objective by reminding you of your wants and needs and outlining possible pitfalls. Trying to stay logical will go a long way to eliminating any buyer’s remorse.
- Get all your tax breaks: Explore all your options for maximizing your tax breaks as a first-time home buyer including a First Time Home Buyer’s Tax Credit & The Home Buyer’s Plan and any other provincial tax breaks on land transfer tax. You only get one chance with your first home purchase, so make sure you take full advantage of these programs.