From House to Home – First Time Buyers

Tips for first time home buyers

Turning a house into a home is a dream most young couples place close to the top of their bucket lists. But the romantic idea of a brand new set of keys clinking in a lock can quickly turn into a stressful situation to go through with a significant other, especially for first time home buyers.

Many new buyers focus their time on scouring the realtor pages in their spare time and walking through perfectly staged homes in their desired neighbourhoods on the weekends. While it’s always fun to collect swatches and sketch out the kitchen reno you’ve always wanted, here are a few steps to take first.

Before you get to the bank

Are you saving feverishly for a down payment or doing all you can to scrape together as much as possible before you go in to get your mortgage? Before you go, ask yourself if this is the right time for you to be buying a house. As a first time buyer, you’ll likely be committing to the next five to ten years in your first four walls so make sure you’re ready both emotionally as well as financially.

Breakdowns and backups

Saving for a down payment is key to getting the process of buying a home started, but as a first time buyer, you should know the breakdown of their credit score too. It’s always a good idea to have a back-up lender, as an approval for a loan doesn’t automatically guarantee one. There are many tools online that can help first time buyers work out a prequalification amount for new mortgages and it’s important to note that a cash down-payment will always significantly enhance the allowance too.

Hiring The Right Realtor

Who have you got on your team? Hiring the right Realtor is an important part of the process. We always recommend “shopping” for the right fit. Ask questions- Are they solo? If so, how do they handle coverage when things get busy? If they have a team- how do they communicate and divide up the duties on their end so that it’s a smooth ride on your end? How do you (and they) prefer to communicate? Do they understand your needs/wants and know the areas you’re considering? Do you like them and feel comfortable around them? This one’s important- you’re going to be spending a lot of time together while on the hunt for your next home. A professional Realtor won’t be scared to take your calls and answer your questions, so take your time and ask away!

Conditions, inspections and contracts

Once your dream home has found its way into your heart, the real work with your agent will begin with working out all the fine details that will hopefully lead to the acquisition of your dream home.

Always check the conditions and make sure you’ll be able to meet them. Nobody benefits from going through a negotiation only to realize you can’t complete the deal.

Take the time to read through the details of the conditions and entrust a lawyer, or third party, to read over the contracts as well as advise on the inspection process. As a first time buyer, bringing in both a home inspection specialist is highly recommended. Unexpected surprises and expenses after closing is not the way you want to start off this new chapter of calling your new house your home.

Utilities and other unexpected expenses

As a first time buyer in Ontario, you’ll be happy to know that the government offers an incentive for eligible buyers with a minimum down-payment and an insured mortgage. This tax credit can be a huge benefit to buying your first home, but there’s a host of other expenses you should be sure to consider before signing. Lawyer fees, agent commission and land transfer tax are just some additional charges you may incur during the purchase of the home. Other expenses that often take first time home buyer by surprise are the utility fees of a new home, water heater rentals, gas variances, as well as additional expenses like paying the moving company and unexpected upgrades, repairs or small renovations.

Benefits of being a first- time home buyer

Your decision to invest in property for the first time may feel like a dream that’s quickly turned into a daunting task. But don’t worry, we’ve got you. With the right agent at your side and the knowledge of what to expect as a first-time buyer, the experience of buying for the first time can be an experience you’ll look back on with pride. Trust us, the perfect house is out there waiting just for you to turn it into a home.