We’ve all heard it before: buying a home is the biggest purchase most of us will ever make. And because that’s the case, it’s important to really think things through to make sure you’re taking the right step at the right time.
Planning is critical. Much like painting a house, a successful outcome is all in the preparation. With that in mind, here are what I feel are the top 5 things to keep in mind when buying your first home.
1. 💰 Can you afford it?
The first thing you need to do is determine your financial health. Can you even afford to buy a home? Ideally, you’ve been saving for a down payment for some time. Many first-timers start thinking about saving too late in the process, but the more you can put down, the more flexibility — or purchasing power — you’ll have.
It’s also highly advisable to get mortgage pre-approval before you start house hunting. If you know how much you qualify for, you don’t be disappointed in finding out you can’t afford the home you’ve just fallen in love with.
Remember, too, that the financial side of things doesn’t stop with the purchase price. There are all kinds of fees attached to buying a home, like closing costs, taxes and moving costs, that can’t be lumped in with your mortgage payment. Then, once you’ve moved in, there are all the carrying costs associated with home ownership, everything from your monthly utility bills to tucking funds away for any repairs that crop up over time.
2. 📍 It’s all about the location
The other thing we hear all the time in real estate is location, location, location. You can change just about anything about a home except where it is located. Give plenty of thought to where you want to live and why. Are you someone who will be happy living in a downtown condo or are you more of a suburban type needing a spacious backyard?
Think, too, about what’s nearby. A home located next to train tracks or a hydro corridor may seem enticing because it’s not as expensive as another home, but it might also be more difficult to sell when the time comes. Or a neighbourhood that’s up-and-coming may mean living through the transition, but can lead to a much higher property value.
3. 🕰 Don’t think too short term
Yes, you want a home that will meet your needs today, but Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. (CMHC) also recommends you think 5 to 10 years down the road and consider buying a home that can grow and change with you. That’s some good advice. The home you choose today will have an impact on your finances and your lifestyle for years to come, which means you need to think about what your lifestyle is likely to be. And if it’s not your forever home, you need to keep resale in mind.
4. 🌐 Size and layout
Along with the broader consideration of how long you expect to be in the home, does the space and the layout work for you, both now and in the next few years? Is it big enough? Can it grow with you and your family, should you have or start one? Yes, you can always renovate or add on, but that’s time-consuming, disruptive and expensive.
Something else to consider is the potential for rental income. If this is an option that’s potentially appealing to you, looking for a home that can or does include a rental suite can go a long way towards offsetting the costs of owning a home.
5. 👔 Work with the right pros
Finally, it’s crucial to work with the right team and that starts with your Realtor. Finding the right agent will start you on your way to a successful and rewarding buying experience. You want a Realtor you feel comfortable with so that the lines of communication will be strong.
Ask your potential agent lots of questions: about their process, about their market knowledge, about the area you want to look in, about their marketing plans and how they handle things like multiple offers.
You also want to have a good lawyer and a good, qualified home inspector ready to go.
With all that in mind, when you’re ready to start looking at real estate for sale in Vancouver BC, give us a call!