So you’re ready to spread your wings and fly – into the nest of homeownership?
It’s an exciting step and since it may be the biggest purchase of your life, it is also normal to feel some nerves. In fact, there’s a lot to know as the new kid on the real estate block, so we’re sharing our top Do and Don’t tips to help you through the process smoothly and successfully, as follows:
• Use a home inspector: It can be used as a contingency to negotiate or back out if major issues are discovered.
• Check windows: Feel for any draft air that may be seeping in, a sign that the windows may need to be resealed or replaced.
• Run the water: Is the pressure good? A slow drip isn’t going to cut it when you want a shower.
• Test lights and electrical outlets: This includes an examination of the electrical panel.
• Check the ventilation, particularly in the kitchen and bathrooms: You don’t need your house smelling like last week’s dinner or your bathrooms growing mildew from moisture.
• Check for storage: Is there enough space for your stuff? Look in all the closets and cupboards.
• Talk to the neighbours: If it’s a condo, get their honest thoughts on the building, and likewise for a house, ask about the street.
• Explore the neighbourhood: For both safety and nearby amenities like grocery stores, parks and restaurants.
• Buy a fixer-upper: Probably not the best idea for the first-time buyer. Save it for your second home when you are a little more comfortable with home ownership.
• Be put off by aesthetics: Remember wallpaper can be removed and bright paint colours can be covered. These are low cost fixes that can be made.
• Shop before getting a mortgage approval: If you haven’t checked what you qualify for, you could be looking at homes way out of your price range. Save yourself the time and disappointment by speaking to your lender first.
• Plan for forever: It’s called a starter home for a reason, so don’t rule out a place without a walk-in closet because things like that can be put in your long-term goals. Most people only stay in their first two homes an average of seven to 10 years.