A First Time for Everything: Buying Your First Home – By Anna Oliver
Buying your first home can be intimidating—what if you do something wrong? What if you forget an important detail? With so much at stake, it’s not for the faint of heart.
When I bought my first house, I did all of the above and more. Not only have I lived to tell the tale, I’ve since taken every mistake that I made and turned it into knowledge and tools to help other first-time buyers avoid my pitfalls. If you’re thinking about getting into the market for the first time, these tips are for you:
Follow your instinct, but don’t be too impulsive.
When you’re buying a home, it’s important to follow your gut instinct—the house that seems perfect on paper but just doesn’t feel right, probably isn’t. Likewise, the house that’s not in the neighbourhood you like but feels like home as soon as you walk in the door, probably is.
When I bought my first home, it was almost as much of an impulse buy as the candy you see at the checkout counter. I woke up one day and decided to become a homeowner—and after seeing one house, I was ready to sign! If I’d taken my time, I may have made some decisions differently.
Have the right people in your corner, and make sure you listen to them.
You need to make sure that your team is made up of people you trust to help you make one of the biggest purchasing decisions of your life. As excited as you might be about becoming a homeowner, it’s important to accept guidance from those in the know and make sure you don’t skip any steps!
It’s hard to believe now, but when I purchased my first house I didn’t even have a home inspection. I knew so little about my house that I wasn’t even sure where the fuse box was during the first power outage! If I had followed the wisdom of many around me, I would have been much better informed about the home I now owned.
Know what you can afford, and then spend less than that.
This is actually the one thing I did do right—I found a home that was just under half of the mortgage for which I had been approved, and it allowed me to avoid being house poor, and gave me room to grow.
It can be tempting to look for the big house now because you can access the funds, and you’re planning to have all those kids someday, but why saddle yourself with a huge expense and more home than you need? The reality is that for most people, a first home isn’t a forever home, and it’s much smarter to start small and below your means, and go up from there.
As a real estate agent, it’s my job to understand how overwhelming the home buying process can be—but the reality is that I didn’t have a full appreciation of it until I was shakily signing my own name on that dotted line for the first time. Now, it’s my joy to walk buyers through this process with as little stress as possible. It can be done, just don’t make the same mistakes I did!
ANNA OLIVER sales representative at Sotheby’s International Realty Canada “Successfully helping buyers and sellers for 13 years will all of their real estate needs.” Annaoliver.ca