If this is your first foray into the world of real estate, you're probably a little bit wary about the whole deal. Let's be real; unless you've been through the process before, you're going to be navigating uncharted territory, and that's always a scary proposition. It's totally normal to be (at least) a bit freaked out by the idea.
But take heart, because you've got this; you'll figure it out, just like you did driving/working/renting/insert-nightmare-inducing-new-experience-here.
Based on your personal situation, investing in a home right now could be the single best decision you can make. Read on for a rundown of just a few of the reasons why you should make the jump to home ownership, plus tips that will help guarantee you land the perfect property.
It's an investment for the future.
For most of us, owning rather than renting property is a smart move. The monthly expenses are comparable when you put rent side by side mortgage payments, but all those condo fees you're paying end up coming back to you in the long-run.
You'll build equity as you pay down the principal amount of your mortgage, and you'll ultimately be left in a better financial spot than your renting compatriots.
You can make it your own.
Once you've signed on the dotted line, you've got a lot more freedom to make your new home your own. That closet organizer you've been coveting? Do it up. The pendant lighting over the kitchen island? All yours.
Of course, you do have to respect the condo's restrictions for what you can change, but your home reno projects will represent a solid investment in your future, rather than a contribution to the resale value of your landlord's place.
Home ownership = security.
As a renter, your future is never entirely predictable. Take Casey, 29, a makeup artist from the Cabbagetown area. After seven years of tenancy in the main floor of an old Victorian, she was blindsided with a notice from her landlord indicating that she had just three months to make alternative arrangements.
"I'd planned on staying there for years. My boyfriend and I talked about starting a family there. I just didn't expect it," she explains. If the building in which you live changes hands tomorrow, you could be packing boxes just a few months from now. With home ownership comes the security of knowing that your future is in your own hands.
Think you're ready to take the leap?
If you're seriously considering buying a property, here are a couple of important tips to keep in mind as you search for the perfect space.
Secure a spot in the perfect neighbourhood.
When house hunting for your new space, don't limit your specs to floor plans and fittings; choose a home in a neighbourhood that reflects the lifestyle that you want for your future. Check out school ratings if you plan to have kids, talk to the neighbours, check out WalkScore, and ask your realtor for their opinion on the neighbourhood. You need to ask yourself how long are you planning on staying. Do your research and choose a 'hood based on your needs for the present and if they will change in the next 5-10 years.
Search for the right amenities.
If you're a veteran condo-dweller, you might take for granted plush condo amenities like state-of-the-art gyms, pools, saunas, party rooms, and basketball courts. For a young family, these add-on features significantly enhance a property's value and more than make up for the sometimes tight quarters of condo living. Costs vary based on number of amenities, and you will need to consider what you want and if you’ll use it before taking the plunge.
When making the leap with a new property upgrade, consider all of the conveniences that will add quality to your life (and value to your investment). Identify must-have building amenities, and those that you can do without.