There are few things as exciting as being handed the keys to your first home. While you may already be dreaming of that moment, there are some pretty big decisions you’ll need to make before you get there. One of the earliest (and most important) is what your home-buying criteria will be. It’s all too easy to waste time viewing properties that won’t work for you, which is why knowing what you’re looking for is so important!
Here are five things you should keep in mind during the search for your first home…
It may sound simple, but knowing how much home you can truly afford requires some thought. First off, you’ll need to figure out what the monthly after-tax income is for your household. Then, you’ll subtract all of your regularly-occurring expenses from that amount to understand how much you’ll have left to put towards your mortgage.
Keep in mind that you’ll likely take on higher maintenance and utility costs if you’re buying a bigger home, and you’ll need to factor that into your calculations. Talking to your agent can help you make a more informed decision about the price range you settle on.
Most buyers have a dream neighbourhood in mind, but moving there isn’t always realistic. Some home hunters learn that their ideal community is out of their price range, impractical for their lifestyle, or that nothing suitable is available for sale in the area.
If this happens to you, your best bet is to have a few other options in mind. Chances are, there are similar neighbourhoods in the city that will work just as well for you. From your daily commute to local schools and green spaces, think about what you want most in a community—and make the most of your agent’s area expertise!
3) The right layout
The exact dimensions of the home you buy may be closely connected to your budget. That said, there’s more to a house or condo than square footage. Layout often matters just as much, and it’s something every buyer should think about.
When you’re touring homes, carefully consider what’s going to work for your family. Is it important to be near the kids’ bedrooms at night? Will you want to keep an eye on them while you’re cooking dinner? Answering these questions will help you narrow down your search.
4) Your absolute must-haves
Being flexible and open to your agent’s suggestions is the key to finding the right home without too much frustration. That said, there are certain compromises that you shouldn’t have to make. That’s where knowing your must-have features and amenities comes in.
Maybe living too far from transit is a big “no” for you. Perhaps a big backyard for the kids is non-negotiable. Once you’re clear on what you absolutely need in a home, you’re bound to be more decisive—and that could mean less stress during your search.
5) Appropriate maintenance requirements
What type of homeowner will you be? While some buyers know they’ll have plenty of time and energy to dedicate to maintenance, others prefer a lot less hassle.
If you’re the type to take in pride in a beautifully-mowed lawn or some freshly-painted trim, a house may be right for you. If you highly value your free time and like to spend it out and about, condos may be more your thing. While it’s certainly not the only consideration, maintenance is definitely worth considering—especially when you’re a first-time buyer!
Preparing to buy a home? We know the process inside and out, and we’d love to walk you through it! Get in touch to get started!