Guide to buying your very first home

March 23, 2016

There are so many advantages to owning a home. But if you're a first-time home buyer figuring out what you want can be confusing. Here's some practical advice to help you find a cozy place to call your own.

Guide to buying your very first home

Whether you’re a single young professional, a devoted couple or a mid-lifer tired of renting, buying a first home can be one of life's most exciting — and stressful — milestones. Although there’s a lot to consider, the benefits of home ownership abound. No matter what your reason for wanting to own a home, here is a checklist of things to think about before making that very special purchase.

Getting started: figure out what you want

It’s difficult to buy a house if you don’t know what you’re looking for. A good place to start is by asking some key questions about the overall condition of the home, if it has an appealing layout, lots of natural lighting, and if there is enough storage space – to name but a few.

It's also important to sit down to discuss your wish list and your must-have list with your partner, friend or a family member. Some things to consider include:

At the end of it all, when it comes to buying your first home, you may have to compromise between what you want, what you need, and what you can afford.

Follow the money: nailing down a budget

Once you’ve narrowed it down to the type of dwelling and the location, the next step is to determine your budget and if you are financially prepared to go out and see what’s on the market.

  • You will probably need to make sure you have a good credit report, find out about getting a mortgage, and ideally, be pre-approved for one before you go house hunting.
  • Think about any additional costs you may incur over and above the purchase price such as insurance, inspection and legal fees, and municipal and school taxes, to name a few.

Decide if you want a real estate agent and start looking

Now that you’ve taken the right steps to make sure you can afford a house, the fun begins; finding that perfect dwelling with your personality written all over  it. You could begin by going to open houses in the neighbourhoods you wish to live. Or you can go with a professional.

  •  Many people find the process of finding and buying a house to be complicated, especially when they actually find a house they wish to buy. That’s when the expertise of a real estate agent can help.
  • Other people prefer to handle the transaction themselves and proceed to buy a property without a broker or agent.
  • Whether you decide to use a real estate agent or do it on your own, before making any decisions, it's vital to know the answers to such important questions as what the property is worth and is it in good condition.

Make a bid

At last you've found a home that you like. What comes next?  First you need to put in an offer to purchase. Do you bid really low or come close to what you're willing to spend on a first home — what is the negotiation process?

When your offer is accepted, but you haven't yet signed a contract, there are a few other details you should ensure have been addressed before buying a first home:

  • This includes hiring a qualified home inspector, preferably someone who has been recommend to you, to make sure there are no surprises down the road such as hidden defects or problems with the roof, foundation or plumbing.
  • Once your mortgage application is officially approved, you’ll have the deed transfer done by a notary or lawyer. This is the contract signing that will seal the deal and confirm you as the new owner of the property

And now it's a fait accompli! You've done it. You've bought your first home. Time  to break out the champagne glasses, make a toast and start planning the move into your new home.

The material on this website is provided for entertainment, informational and educational purposes only and should never act as a substitute to the advice of an applicable professional. Use of this website is subject to our terms of use and privacy policy.
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