Making the jump from renting to home ownership can be daunting, but the benefits of home ownership will follow you through the rest of your life and beyond. Not only will your new home be a valuable asset and a place to make your own, it’s also a legacy to leave for your family. When scoping out homes for sale in your area, here are four essential tips to make the experience painless.
1. Thorough Market Research
Everyone knows the most basic rule of real estate is that location is everything, but a discerning buyer knows that to truly know a location you must be thorough. Not only should you check the prices and values of a wide variety of homes in a given area, you should also look at long term trends. For example, even if the home you have your eye on is less expensive than homes for sale nearby, the entire area market could be experiencing a negative value trend. Taking a deep dive into the data for your area is key to avoiding problems like negative equity or overpaying for your home. If you are seeking more information, you will be able to appreciate the resources at the Calgary Homes website.
2. Inspect Everything
A basic home inspection tends to be a requirement for a mortgage, but making the most of your inspection can help you avoid nasty surprises later on. Insist on examining any maintenance records for the home, such as when the roof was last replaced or how long the warranty on the water heater will last. Ask about the water connection and how old the well pump or municipal pipes are. The last thing you need is to be one year in your new home and have an expensive issue come up that your inspection overlooked.
3. Make Your Down Payment Count
Every dollar you pay down will save you significant amounts of money on your mortgage over time. It may seem appealing to have small down payment and roll the remaining costs into the mortgage, but you may be setting yourself up for disaster. Not only will you be contending with interest charges, you may also find yourself less insulated financially if the value of your home drops. A larger down payment will lower your mortgage costs and immediately increase your home equity, which you can use as a cushion in an emergency or if the real estate market collapses.
4. Keep an Eye on Local and Provincial Government
While taxes are a part of life, actual tax rates vary from place to place. Before buying your first home, take some time to familiarize yourself with the issues facing the local and provincial government. What economic development is happening that could increase home values and prices? Is there a budget shortfall that could lead to higher taxes? As a rule, tax rates tend to rise over time, and it’s important to know the issues that could drive your long term costs.
Buying your first home is never easy, but following these four key tips will help you navigate the process and make the right decisions. Always remember that no matter how daunting things may seem, real estate is one of the most reliable investments you can make.