Buying a home for the first time can be a intimidating experience...the questions abound. The first step is to find out how much the bank or mortgage broker(sometimes a better option for first time buyers) deems is the maximum affordable mortgage available. Then, determine what is an affordable down-payment; 5%, 10%, 15%, 20%...or more. The Canadian Housing Corporation requires mortgage payment insurance on down-payments less than 20%, therefore, depending on the price of the home and the down-payment, determines the additional cost to the monthly payments(usually rolled into the mortgage payment).
Next step is to determine where is a suitable place to live and whether a condominium or freehold(apartment, townhouse, loft, semi-detached, link or detached).
Condominiums have maintenance fees attached and they vary greatly. Some condominiums take care of all exterior maintenance(Windows, doors, roof fences etc.) and may even, in the case of some apartments, include heat, hydro and cable T.V.. Building insurance is usually covered by the maintenance fees and if there are more amenities(pool, fitness room, sauna etc.) the fees are generally higher to maintain and repair. The age of the building, townhouse or stacked unit can have a great effect on the fees as time and usage prolongs, thus, the more money that is required to service the common elements used by the owners. When the purchase agreement(offer) has been accepted by the seller, the buyer's lawyer will review the condominium corporations 'Status Certificate'(determines usage, rights and available finances and future expected expenses for the purchased property) and if the certificate is acceptable meaning the buyer is not facing a large increase in the future(or a 'Special Assessment to pay for work done because there is a lack of funds in the corporation), then the deal can be ratified. Lawyer's fees maybe slightly more for a review of a 'Status Certificate' but budget up to $2000.00 for legal service(shop or ask for rates).
A freehold home is outright ownership (maybe a fee for a common/private road), and the owner is required to maintain the property and endure all expenses. It is most advisable to seek the aid of a qualified home inspector and a few options should be readily provided by the Realtor®but again, enquire for a well respected inspector. With both condominiums and freehold, a home inspector can same money and future grief and may not burden the buyer with future problems. A good Realtor® should advise and guide concerning the houses structure, furnace, air-conditioning, windows, wiring, insulation, roof, soffits, fascia and the neighbourhood where the house situated.
The neighbourhood can be a great determination of price and for first-time buyers with limited budgets, seek an afffordable neighbourhood that can serve the present and financial needs and restrictions. Oakville, Burlington, Hamilton. Mississauga and Toronto offer many options to the first-time buyer. Toronto has a plethora of apartments, stacked and loft-stlye condominiums and Mississauga, Oakville and Burlington delivers in town homes and semi-datched freehold and condominiums where Hamilton has many affordable freehold, detached homes. Toronto and Hamilton were built-up in a time when Oakville, Burlington and Mississauga were small communities. House prices in Toronto have been well documented but in Hamilton, a well maintained, well built and updated freehold home can be pirchased for $250,000 and under. Therefore, with mortgage payments less than $1300 per month, the affordability and pride of ownership can be an attainable assest and more appealing to invest and develope equity than to pay a landlord.
Decent, quality and affordable ownership is available in the communities that flank the QEW. Hamilton, Burlington, Oakville, Mississauga and Toronto present many options to the first-time buyer, size, style, neighbourhood, condominium or freehold present many options for consideration. It is most important to find the right Realtor® to research, guide, advise and represent the interests of the buyer to realize the full potential of ownership. At CENTURY 21 Miller www.century21.ca/millerrealestate, we have the training, support, resources, professionalism and knowledge of systems and neighbourhoods to find the home to suit the needs, budget and create a long lasting realtionship in what is most likely, the largest first investment.
Budget: Lawyers Fees(closing costs from previous taxes paid etc.), Mortgage Insurance(down-payments less than 20%), Home Inspector, Municiple Taxes, Condominium Fees(where applicable), Land Transfer Taxes(first time home buyer's rebate, double tax for City Of Toronto), Moving Costs, renovation to purchase price for future improvements.