Four tips to guide your first home purchase

question markWhen buying your first home, you are sure to be filled with many important questions. How much can you afford? How much will it all cost? Where do you really want to live, and can you afford the area? And, finally, what type of property do you want your first home to be? The answers are very individual, and they depend on the amount of your down payment, where you work, whether you have kids and other personal circumstances.For your enjoyment while you live in your first home, as well as for future resale potential, proximity to transportation, shopping, schools and other amenities is among the key determinants that affect your property’s appeal, and ultimately its 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 may not be your dream home, and your needs and desires are sure to change throughout the various stages of homeownership.So, while the answers to the above questions are 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 and insurance. 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 a commute you want and whether your 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 good news is, home builders today are in sync with customer preferences for location and amenities, and with market realities with regard to pricing and needs for energy efficiency, so the options for your first home have never been better.  

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