Are you ready? Be sure
Few joys can match the pride of owning the roof over your head, but you will have to make some sacrifices. There's the obvious financial responsibility, but your home will also require constant care. That's what real pride of ownership is all about.
Is your bank account ready? Check it twice
Your first home will be the biggest financial obligation you’ve ever faced. You should ideally have saved up some money for a down payment and are managing any debts like car loans or credit cards. Determine how much you can afford.
Is right now a good time to buy?
Markets go up, markets go down and even the smartest experts can't accurately predict when a market will peak or bottom out. If you're buying a home as a long-term investment (and for long-term enjoyment), you should be protected from short-term changes in the market. Pick a home that meets the needs of you and your family. Then you'll enjoy living in your investment as it grows in value.
Nowadays, there are many different types of homes to choose from. And there are pros and cons to each. Take a minute to reflect on your lifestyle and based on that, decide what best fits you.
Think about where you want to live:
Urban - the big city. Sure the prices are generally higher, but you can walk to a restaurant, maybe even to work. You'll also have a wider range of housing options.
Suburban - bigger yards, bigger homes, more space. No wonder so many people love the suburbs. But often you’ll need a car to get to schools and shopping.
Smaller Cities and Towns - Canada is dotted with thousands of wonderful self-contained communities, and compared to the big city, you can save a bundle.
Rural - If you like the idea of owning land, how about a few acres all to yourself? Seclusion is not for everybody, but for some, it's heaven.
Also consider what type of home you want:
By now, you probably have a good idea of what type of home is right for you. Familiarize yourself with the terminology:
Single-family detached: As the name implies, the home is not attached to the home next door. There is a multitude of styles to choose from.
Duplex: A single building that is divided into two “properties”. They can be side by side, back to back, or one above the other. You can also get triplexes and fourplexes. Usually less money than a fully detached home
Town house: Also known as terrace or row housing. Several homes with a common style and joined in a row. They usually share walls on both sides. There may also be a “strata” fee, in addition to your mortgage, which helps to pay for common areas such as driveways, roofs and the cost of garbage removal etc. Be sure to look into the townhouse complex’s strata council and their financial information before you proceed.
Condos: You'll own 100% of your unit, and a share of the common areas. Common areas include the necessary plumbing, electrical systems, hallways and elevators. They may also include fun stuff like a private gym, pool, Sauna, or party room.
However, membership has privileges and costs - On top of your mortgage and property taxes, condo owners also pay a monthly fee (usually called the strata fee) to operate and maintain the common areas. Be sure to look into the condo financials, and how well they're managed, before signing anything.
Consider a new property or resale?
Resale. Previously loved. Many people love the charm and character of an older home. As a bonus, the previous owner may have made improvements and upgrades and you get them with the house, usually for less than the cost of putting them in yourself. However, some may have a little too much 'character', like a leaky roof. Be sure to make full investigations (building inspections etc) and know what you're getting into.
The new house. If you're having a new home built from the bottom up, or if you are buying a brand new home that has not yet been lived in, carefully examine the property, the blueprints and visit other homes built by the same company. Have your REALTOR® and/or lawyer review everything before you sign. While your home is being built, stay on top of the process. And remember, you have a legal right to make a full inspection of the house before you accept it as complete.
Whatever your wants and needs are – talk to me. Give me a call, send me an email or text. I am always very happy to answer questions and provide information and guidance.
Attached is a useful guide by the Real Estate Council of British Columbia - Buying a Home in BC: