For many Canadians, home ownership is an unquenchable dream that feels like it's an essential step on the road to adulthood, security and happiness. Whatever your personal reasons for wanting to buy a house, the process of purchasing a property can be filled with highs and lows and a great deal of hand-wringing and headaches. Here are five tips that will help you find your dream home.
Make a Budget and Stick to It
Even the shrewdest penny-pinchers can fall prey to the excitement of house shopping and be tempted to bid tens of thousands of dollars beyond their means when faced with a potential perfect find. That's why it's good to work out a strict budget beforehand and have that number firmly in your head when house hunting. It's easy to get swept up in the fantasy of home ownership and talk yourself into spending more than you should, only to end up spending decades paying off a mortgage that leaves you house poor.
Get a Home Inspection
Sure, you may love your new potential property, and everything may indeed "feel" right, but intuition is no substitute for an attic-to-basement thorough home inspection. It's easy for major issues like plumping leaks, not-up-to-code electrical wiring, mould and more to be well hidden from the naked eye, whereas an inspector has the tools and training to uncover many potential hazards. A house is likely to be the most expensive purchase you ever make, so it's critical to take the time and care to ensure your potential new home has nothing to hide.
Build an Emergency Fund
Ideally, along with your down payment, you'll also have been putting aside money for a home emergency fund. Home ownership is a wonderful experience, but it also has its shares of unpleasant surprises like an unexpected basement flood or a need to update your electrical wiring.
Budget for Yearly Home Maintenance
A home maintenance fund? But we already have an emergency fund! The unfortunate truth is that beyond the obvious things like mortgage payments, there are a plethora of costs associated with a property's basic upkeep. When making a budget for how much to spend on a home, many enthusiastic homeowners-to-be forget to factor in the yearly costs of maintaining a property. One possible rule of thumb is to budget approximately 3 to 5 percent of your home's overall value for yearly upkeep.
Hire a Professional Real Estate Agent
Because buying a home can feel like an overwhelming financial free fall, it can be tempting to cut corners where possible. For first-time homebuyers, it's especially important to have a real estate professional in your corner who will ensure all necessary steps are taken to protect your purchase and that all documents are legal and valid. They can also make excellent, experienced sounding boards and hand-holders.
General information not about PC Financial products is provided for your reference and interest only. The above content is intended only to provide a summary and general overview on matters of interest and is not a substitute for, and should not be construed as the advice of an experienced professional. PC Financial does not guarantee the currency, accuracy, applicability or completeness of this content.