7 Things You Wished Someone Told You Before Buying Your First Home


7 Things You Wished Someone Told You Before Buying Your First Home

Many of us have been carrying a picture around in our minds of the perfect dream home. We can imagine down to the minutest detail exactly what our future house will look like. When we actually reach the point of buying our first home, however, we tend to let our romantic notions of owning a house cloud our judgement. If you’re in the process of looking for your first home, you’ll be happy Calgary House Finder shared with you these seven pearls of wisdom:


#1: Shop Around for the Right Mortgage 

Before you even think about browsing through Calgary house listings, you owe it to yourself to find the right mortgage that suits your budget, meets your needs, and gives you flexibility. Finding a mortgage lender on the first try who understands what you’re looking for and can get you an affordable rate is not usually how it works. Don’t trust that the first person you talk to is going to give you the best deal. You’ll be happy you spent a lot of time finding the perfect broker who can not only get you the lowest rate, but who can also manage your expectations by giving you an idea of how much you can afford.


#2: Factor in Closing Costs

 As the biggest purchase of your life, you can’t expect to get away without paying all those one-off fees that appear in the fine print. The house may be the biggest cost, but there are plenty more fees you will have to pay before you can technically call yourself a homeowner. It’s a good idea to factor in these closing costs when saving for your down payment because these amounts really add up. Here is just an example of average closing costs in Calgary: 

  • Title Insurance: $100–$300
  • Home Inspection costs: $500–$750
  • GST: 5% of the purchase price of a brand-new home
  • Real Estate Lawyer Fees: ~ $1,500
  • Default Mortgage Insurance: 4% of mortgage amount


#3: Take Your Home Inspection Seriously

 Even houses built in the last 10 years will have issues. Don’t believe the homeowner when they say there’s nothing wrong with their house. A home inspection will likely prove them wrong. A licensed inspector will take a thorough look at the house to determine its overall condition. The main areas that could potentially cost the most money to fix are the roof, plumbing, electrical wiring and panelling, and the furnace. Depending on the condition of these four things, you can lower your asking price, ask the owner to fix the issue as part of the condition of the sale, or—if you suspect the house is a money pit—walk away entirely.

The home inspection report can be a great bargaining chip if you use it right.


#4: Realize There Is No Such Thing as a Dream Home

 Remember that image of the perfect dream home you’ve carried in your mind all those years? Unfortunately, it doesn’t exist. You may get very close, but it’s very unlikely that you’ll find a house that checks everything off your list. It’s important to manage your expectations and to not be put off by superficial things, like paint colour, choice of countertops, and landscaping. These are all things that can be modified to your liking. As long as a home gets almost everything right, you can easily upgrade it later so that it becomes the home of your dreams. This is something many house hunters forget, and they spend more time than they should searching for their heart’s desire.


#5: Start Your House Fund Immediately

 Speaking of modifications, you will have to face the fact that once you own a home, you will be spending money on it for as long as it’s in your possession. Like a living, breathing thing, a house requires regular maintenance, updates, and emergency repairs. Because you never know when you’ll need to repair a leak or fix a busted pipe, you should start your house fund the day you move in. You’ll eventually need to replace your roof and maybe your windows. Rather than take out a line of credit or a loan to make these repairs, setting a little bit aside each month for home repairs will ease the financial burden and leave you prepared for any unexpected costs.


#6: Owning a House Is a Lot of Work

 There are no more landlords to call when something breaks down and no more parents to fix the problems. When you own a home, you are responsible for it. From the very edge of your driveway to the tip of your backyard, everything within that perimeter is relying on you for maintenance. Just the outside work will take hours from your weekend. In summers, you’ll be cutting the grass, watering plants, and trimming the hedges; in fall, there’s raking, cleaning out gutters, and digging up flower bulbs to save for next spring; in winter, you’ll have to shovel, salt, and sand your walkways and driveway; in spring, you’ll be outside cleaning up the mess that winter left behind. And those are just your yard duties.

 Inside, there are many more things that require your constant attention and care. The more square footage you have, the more time you’ll spend cleaning, dusting, arranging, and fixing. The burden of all these little daily chores falls on your (and your spouse’s) shoulders. Of course, if you have the money, you could hire a cleaning company.

 Owning your own property is awesome. But you have to be willing and able to care for it.


#7: Decide What You Want Out of Life

 Which brings us to our last point. Does the idea of owning a house even appeal to you? Can you see yourself being tied to a specific place for years? Would you rather spend your money on trips than on a mortgage? Also, consider the houses you’ve looked at. Does living in the country really make sense for your lifestyle, or is it just a place you’d want to visit on occasion? Is moving to the outskirts of town worth the extra commuting time? If so, are you ready for a more secluded lifestyle? These are some of the questions you need to seriously ask yourself (and your spouse) before looking for homes. Discover what kind of life you want to live, and never buy a home because you think you ought to based on your parents’ experience or society’s norms.

 Start Your Search with Calgary House Finder

 CalgaryHouseFinder.ca has all the tools you need to find the home you want. Start your advanced search, or contact our team today!

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