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Tips for First Time Home Buyers

Buying your first house can be a daunting task. There are lots of things that you have to think about that you never had to worry about when you were a renter. There are a lot of steps, and so many decisions to make. There can also be surprises like extra costs that you might not have budgeted for.

Here are some things that you can think about and do to make the whole process of buying your first house less scary, confusing, and stressful.

Tips for making buying a house easier

  1. Long before you start to think about buying a house, start putting money away for a down payment. The down payment for a house in Canada can be as low as 5% which is still $15,000 on a $300,000 house. There are also closing fees and legal fees that have to be paid. These will add up to at least $3000 for a typical house.
  2. Find out how much you can spend. It’s difficult to shop for houses unless you know exactly how much the banks are willing to lend you. Having a pre-approved mortgage saves you the frustration of finding a house that you love, only to find out that the bank won’t lend you anywhere near enough money to buy it.
  3. Decide in advance what type of house will suit your needs. You have a lot of options – condo, townhouse, single family dwelling, three bedrooms, four bedrooms. You can save money by buying a fixer upper but be realistic – when it comes right down to it do you have the interest or ability to do the work yourself. You might end up having to hire someone to do it for you.
  4. Don’t go it alone – work with a realtor. They’ll walk you through the complicated process of buying a house.
  5. Once you’ve found a place that you want to buy, have it inspected. Just because a house might look perfect there could be problems that only a licensed home inspector will find.
  6. Start an emergency fund as soon as possible. When you were a renter, if the hot water tank started to leak you called your landlord and presto, it got fixed. Now you’re the landlord and you have to pay for expensive repairs.
  7. Maintain your house once you’ve bought it. A house is a huge investment so you want to take good care of it. Keep overall repair costs in check by making small repairs before they turn into big, expensive repairs.

Owning your own home is very satisfying but the process of buying your first house can be very intimidating. Review these tips and your first foray into home ownership will be smoother, less stressful, and there were will be fewer unpleasant surprises.

By Patrick Murray