Buying Your First Home
For some, the prospect of buying one’s first home can seem daunting. Fortunately, real estate professionals are here to help and guide you through the process. Some things to consider when going down the road to homeownership are as follows.
Finances. While one can buy a home with as little as 5% down, 20% is preferred. This is to avoid having to get an insured mortgage through the Canada and Mortgage and Housing Corporation. In addition to the deposit money, one will need additional monies set aside for closing and moving costs that can easily exceed $20,000, given the entry-level prices in the more sought-after areas of Toronto. There are a number of online tools for estimating closing costs, land transfer taxes etc.
Location. Urban or suburban? Urban living is generally associated with large cities and metropolitan centres. This choice will offer the broadest choices of housing types but usually with higher prices. Suburban living is typically made up of newer developments, shopping centres etc. Prices may or may not be lower than those of urban dwellers, but one often gets more living space for money spent.
Needs… What are your housing requirements? ie. Number of bedrooms, bathrooms, parking etc. Do you need to be close to transit and so on? These considerations, combined with your budget, will determine your direction in terms of the type of property that you seek. For example… If you are a single professional and a first-time home buyer, you may want to consider a condominium. The entry-level pricing is generally lower with a lifestyle that is conducive to busy young professionals. For couples and families, semi-detached, townhomes and detached are all considerations.
Wants… Somewhat less critical than needs are one’s wants. Do you want amenities? Do you want a pool or a gym? Do you want a garden or a detached garage to use as a workshop? Do you want everything on one level or are you happy to walk up and down stairs? Again, all of these things will combine with your needs and budget to direct you to the appropriate housing type.
Maintenance. One consideration that our clients have mentioned is their willingness to maintain their home. Condominiums require the least maintenance, followed by newer homes and, lastly, old homes. Given the latter choice, homeowners are forced to either learn quickly or have a good handyman at the ready. That said, many great books have been written on do-it-yourself home maintenance. Some jobs can be learned quickly and are relatively straightforward, while others should always be left to the professionals. Either way, home ownership is a rewarding experience.
While Erika and I are Real Estate Sales Representatives, we have taken on a number of construction projects in the past. This experience comes from the challenges of home ownership. When I bought my first house in Leaside in the late nineties, I had no skills whatsoever. My house needed work, and I rose to the challenge. I hired professionals to remove a load-bearing wall and install pot lights but took on the challenge of installing a new kitchen and bathroom. Did I make some mistakes….yes. Did I create the nicest kitchen in the city….no. But, was I proud of my creation, and I was building “sweat equity” in my home. Fast forward twenty years, and Erika and I have done numerous kitchens, bathrooms, additions and new builds.
“Every challenge you face today makes you stronger tomorrow. The challenge of life is intended to make you better, not bitter.”
Roy T. Bennet
Please reach out if you have any questions. We’d love to hear from you.