Watch out for rookie mistakes! 🏡
Calling all first-time buyers! Buying your first home is a big deal and with the property market in Canada as hot as ever, it can be hard to know where to start.
Jordan Bieri, an award-winning residential real estate broker, chatted with Narcity about the things every first-time homebuyer should know before they start viewing properties and putting their savings on the line.
From having realistic expectations to understanding your budget, there are a number of essential things to keep in mind.
Make a wish list
According to Bieri, first-time buyers should consider making a wish list before they do pretty much anything else.
He says getting all of your must-haves down on paper can help guide you towards the type of property you want and keep you focused when house-hunting.
"It is important to understand that your wish list should have a column of must haves and wants," he told Narcity.
"This will filter out many of the properties that you may have visited had you not created this list."
While he said it is "of course ideal to find a property that meets all the points on the list," it is more than likely that you'll need to make some compromises.
"You will need to accept not checking off each box, however, you will at least be better prepared to visit houses that check off the majority of the items," he said.
Know your budget
Whether you're good with numbers or require a calculator for all math, Bieri says getting a grip on your finances is absolutely essential.
"We cannot stress this enough," he told Narcity. "Meeting with a mortgage specialist before your property search is the most important step in knowing what you can afford."
In fact, he says failing to do this is the most common mistake that first-time buyers make.
"This typically results in them falling in love with a property only to find out they cannot afford it."
Knowing your numbers will also work to your advantage, by filtering properties and locations that are simply too pricey.
"Understanding your buying power will also help you filter into the neighbourhood that meets your budget," said Bieri.
Ok, so you've made your list and crunched the numbers. Now it's time to keep your expectations in check.
Bieri said that unless a buyer has literally won the lottery, it is unlikely that anyone will find a property with no compromises.
"The 'perfect home' does not exist," he told Narcity, explaining that first-time buyers will almost always have to make some kind of compromise.
Perhaps the bathroom will need updating or a kitchen will need some work, but try to look at it as an opportunity rather than a challenge!
Don't try and predict the market
If it's time, it's time! Which is to say that you shouldn't hang around if a golden opportunity comes up.
"You are buying a home, not a business," Bieri explained.
He went on to say that trying to predict the market as a first-time buyer is risky as you might end up missing out.
"Some people have been waiting since 2003 to get a deal," he said. "Prices have gone north big time since then."
Inspections are important
One of the biggest pieces of wisdom Bieri shared is the importance of getting an inspection before you go all-in on a property.
He said many first-time buyers forgo one due to bidding wars or outside pressure, which is potentially a huge mistake.
"An inspection is crucial, especially for a first-time homebuyer, to understand the state of the property," he explained.
"Knowing that funds may be limited as a first-time buyer, the last thing you want to do is to find yourself with a property that has major hidden issues which will cost thousands to rectify simply because you wanted to win a bidding war or wanted to save the cost of inspection."
In fact, he even said it's "smarter to lose the property altogether than buy it blindly without knowing its actual state."
Don't give up
It is unarguably difficult for most first-time buyers to navigate the property market in Canada right now, particularly as prices in many regions are sky-high.
However, Bieri says that you shouldn't give up or even count yourself out before you've even started by thinking you cannot afford a home and renting indefinitely.
"The downfall to assuming buying capacity or lack thereof runs the risk of missing out on an opportunity that would’ve been within reach."
"Consulting a real estate broker who can put you in touch with a mortgage specialist is free and will in many cases surprise you with the possibilities available to you," he said.
This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.
This article's cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.
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