Buying your first home can be scary, so I created this First Home Buyer Guide to help you determine if you are ready to buy a home and what your first steps should be. This post provides a quick summary, click on each step for more information.
Owning a home can be a great experience and fill you with pride and joy, or it can be your worst nightmare, a source of stress and disappointment. Owning a home is not for everyone – and I believe it is really important to make sure you are truly ready and able to own the home you are considering buying for the foreseeable future.
1) Finances, Finances, Finances: When it comes to buying a home, the very first thing I think anyone should do is an honest and thorough financial review. You need to know how much you can comfortably afford to spend on a home (it’s likely less than the lenders will lend you), and ensure that you qualify for that mortgage. You don’t want to waste your time or anyone else’s shopping in a price range that you simply don’t qualify for and equally you’ll never be able to ‘love where you live’ if your money is too tight.
2) Stability: Look at how stable the various aspects of your life are: your job, your relationships and your family. Some of the most common reasons for selling a house are a change in job, a change in your relationship status or a change in your family situation. If one or in particular if a number of these aspects are uncertain for you right now – it may not be the right time to buy a home. You can lose a big chunk of the equity by selling a house in the first few years of owning it.
Once you have dissected your finances and examined your personal and professional stability (I know that part is no fun – but it’s really important). And assuming everything is great, the next step is Location, Location, Location.
3) Where: Toronto is a ‘city of neighbourhoods’ and according to Wikipedia, there are upwards of 240 distinct neighbourhoods within its boundaries. Searching for a home will be easiest if you narrow down your search area to a few of the neighbourhoods that you love the best. Some easy ways to narrow it down – think about commute times, whether walkability or bikeability (a word I created) are important to you and what kinds of amenities and activities you want close by. You’re not just buying a home, you are buying a ‘lifestyle’ and the lifestyle is really affected by LOCATION.
4) What: What kind of home do you want to live in? Do you want a condo or a house? Now for some, this may be decided for you based on your budget and where you want to live, a condo may be the only option. But if your budget is larger – you will have to decide what housing option suits you best. Do you have time for home maintenance, is a garden important to you, what architectural styles are you drawn to? Again, it comes down to the lifestyle you seek. And finally;
5) Who: It takes a team to buy a home – you are going to need a Mortgage Broker, a Real Estate Agent and a Lawyer at a minimum. There are an absolute ton of them out there and it seems like they all promise the exact same things, so how do you choose? For a mortgage, I suggest shopping around for the best price and terms. For a Lawyer, I look for experience and reputation. For a Real Estate Agent, I think you need to use your bs meter and go with your gut.
It’s great to read the First Home Buyer Guide and do some soul searching, but it may also help to sit down with someone and talk it out. If you’d like an honest, no bs opinion – let’s grab a coffee. I value people over commission and promise to give it to you straight. Click here to contact me or feel free to give me a call or text.