5 Helpful Tips For First Time Home Buyers

First time home buyers have a lot on their plate; so much so that they may not know where to begin.

It can be a huge investment, both emotionally and financially so doing it right is imperative to avoid the consequences of jumping in with your eyes closed.

1. Have a firm grasp of your budget. There are a lot of factors that will determine your home buying budget. Unless you’re paying with cash you will be asking the bank or mortgage broker what your total home budget (including the down payment) will be. From there you will need to sit down and map out monthly and yearly expenses such as:

  • Monthly utility costs
  • Property taxes
  • Mortgage payment
  • Lawyer’s fees (this is due at the purchase of your home)
  • Home inspection fee (this will be a one-time fee)
  • Homeowners’ Association fees
  • Miscellaneous costs (repairs, new purchases etc.)

You will also need to make sure that you have a reliable income to cover all of these costs after the purchase is complete.

2. Be realistic! When you start house hunting, compare your budget to your ideals. Do the houses in your desired neighborhood generally sell in the range you are looking in? Will your budget cover the cost of a three-bedroom with a finished basement? Do your research and figure out what your cash will buy in the current market before you go house hunting to avoid disappointment.

3. Make a list of needs versus wants. Put pen to paper and figure out what you can and can’t live without. An en-suite with a Jacuzzi might be nice, but can you live without the Jacuzzi if the house meets your needs in every other way? Remember, you can always upgrade or renovate later (just make sure you add that to your budget).

4. Ask for full disclosure from the current occupant or seller. Legally when they are asked, they have to tell you about all problems they are aware of with the structure and property. Past water damage, a bad drainage system, mold, etc. We always recommend a property inspection as well so the professionals can have a look and let you know exactly what you’re buying.

5. Think long-term if possible. If you are looking at staying in your first house for more than a few years, think about what may happen in your life, or what your plans are. Will you need a house by public transit? A school? It’s hard to predict what will happen in the future, but if you have some ideas it’s great to keep them in mind when you’re looking for your home.

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McGlashan & Company is a full-service law firm serving Edmonton, Alberta and surrounding areas.

If you or someone you know is in need of legal counsel with real estate in Alberta, get in touch with one of our real estate lawyers to discuss your situation in confidentiality today.

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