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Whoops…top mistakes of first timers

08 March 2013
Wilson Sisters

Buying a home for the first time can be exciting and a little scary. Take the scary out of the equation by getting informed. Having a Realtor on your side helps. We’ve worked with a lot of first timers and are happy to hand hold through the entire process. ;)

  1. Not knowing how much you can afford. Not just how much you qualify for but how much you’ll be comfortable paying, factoring in property taxes, utilities, maintenance, insurance etc. Many first timers spend a lot of time researching homes but not enough time researching their financing options. The first thing buyers should do is sit down with a mortgage specialist to get pre-approved for a mortgage, and actually go over the numbers. Without first figuring out how much house you can afford, you risk falling in love with one you can’t.
  2. Failing to find a good buyer’s agent. Interview a few realtors – ask about their experience, whether they’ve worked with first timers, whether they’re a full time agent, are they familiar with the area you want to buy in, what kind of service you’ll get from them, whether they work on a team and what kind of attention you can expect, and how many clients they’re currently working with. Find someone you’re comfortable with, trust your gut, and ask for referrals from their past clients.
  3. Underestimating the costs of owning a home. Whether it’s a plumbing issue or a leaky roof things go wrong and need to be fixed. Many homebuyers don’t anticipate the additional costs for repair and maintenance. Consider the age of the home, how old the mechanics are (find out during your home inspection) and be prepared to set aside a small percentage (1% at most) of the home’s purchase price annually for repairs and upkeep.
  4. Assuming your first offer will get accepted. Competition when buying property is pretty standard here in Toronto. You can’t assume that the first offer you submit will be accepted. Try not to get discouraged if you lose out on the first – or second – house you make an offer on. The right one will work out.
  5. Skipping an inspection. Make offer conditional on home inspection or do the inspection before the offer date if in competition.
  6. Doing too much, too fast. Some buyers want to make the house their own right away. They overextend themselves on credit to do it and assume all improvements will pay for themselves by increasing the homes value. It’s not always the case. Take some time, get to know the house, how you live in it and what works. It’s not a race, make changes over time.