Buying your first home can be the single most exciting experience you've had so far, but it can also be the most nerve-racking. There are a host of factors to consider, and overlooking some of them can cause headaches down the road. Here is a list of our DON'Ts for buying your first home.
- Don’t Buy If You Can’t Stay Put
If you can’t commit to remaining in one place for at least a few years, than owning a home is probably not the best option for you right now. The transaction costs of buying and selling a home are not cheap, and if you sell too soon after buying, chances are you’re going to end up losing money. Plus, money aside, why go through the entire process of buying if you’re just going to change your mind months later?
- Don’t Buy the First House You See
When buying your first home it’s important to look at more than one option. Comparing several homes will not only help you decide what it is you really want, but it will also open the door to opportunities you would not otherwise experience. Imagine missing out on an amazing deal and the perfect home because you never took the time to properly scope the market. Keep an open eye.
There are times when the first home you see is the one, it does happen, but it’s also important to "sleep on it." Don’t rush a decision; always give it time to sink in and really consider what is at hand.
- Don’t Judge a Home By Its Décor
The décor in a home is easy to change so don’t be thrown off by awful wallpaper, smelly carpets, or horrendous paint; these are cosmetic "problems" and should be the least of your worries. The chances of you walking into a home that is painted and decorated to your exact liking are slim to none. At the same time, don’t fall in love with a place for those reasons. Use your imagination and envision what the home could be with your personal touch.
Focus on a good layout, natural light and the overall space needed to accommodate you. Ask yourself if the home is functional and efficient for your daily routine. You can always replace doors, paint walls and redesign rooms. In fact there's a program that allows you to do this and add it to your mortgage.
- Don’t Forget to Be Wise
If there is one thing most people are guilty of, it's losing perspective when something sounds really great. Be a wise buyer and learn to discern real estate phrases. For example, if an ad says “cozy,” chances are the house is likely small, whereas “as-is” means it’s probably in need of some serious TLC. By learning the lingo, you’ll keep your expectations realistic along the way.
- Don’t Get Discouraged
If you have poor credit or are a bit short on the down payment, you may still qualify for a loan. At Auxilium we have access to a variety of lenders who are willing to work with your specific situation.
It’s also important to not get upset if your first offer isn’t accepted. Don’t assume you’ll see a house, make an offer and bam, it’s yours. It’s important to not get discouraged if you lose out - there's always another house.
- Don’t Confuse Best Rate with Best Mortgage
Sometimes mortgages with the best rate may not be the best loan for your specific situation, which is why it’s so important to fully understand what you’re signing up for. Be sure to get professional help in understanding the terms and provisions that may confuse you. At Auxilium we know that it’s extremely important that the loan fits you and your needs, so we’ve made it our mission to offer nothing but the best services when it comes to your mortgage.
- Don’t Rush It
Once you have the house, it’s hard to not get excited and rush all the plans you may have for making it your own. Take on the renovations carefully and do not over extend yourself. Ensure that the improvements you're contemplating will increase the home’s value. As mentioned previously, the Purchase Plus Improvements program is available for those who are looking to do renovations, so contact us today for details.
- Don’t Be Afraid to Walk Away
It’s important to not be tempted into overstepping your budget and to stay in your comfort zone. When you've reached your limit and made the highest offer you can, don’t be afraid to walk away. Buying a home that's out of your price range isn't a smart move, and it’s better to live with a comfortable mortgage on a smaller home than to combat monthly payments on a house that you can’t even afford to furnish.
You'll need to ensure that you've got the down payment and closing costs covered. Opting to step outside your budget will put a financial strain on you, especially if you underestimate the costs of owning a home. Whether it’s a leaky pipe or a deteriorating roof, things unexpectedly go wrong and need to be repaired. Many home buyers don’t anticipate these additional costs and short change themselves.
While it's great to be optimistic when it comes time to buy a house, it's equally important to remain realistic when it comes to the home's cost and condition. That crack in the foundation will likely get bigger, and the mold won’t just disappear; neither will that raccoon family living in the attic.
If your head and heart aren't in the same place, then the home probably isn’t for you. While going with your gut may seem like a great idea, just make sure your budget is on the same page.
- Don’t Forget to Breathe
At the end of the day, buying your first home is probably going to be one of the most memorable, exciting experiences in your life so take the time to enjoy it. Yes, it’s okay to be nervous; many first time buyers are, and if you have any questions we’re here to help! As your trusted mortgage broker, our job is to help you feel comfortable throughout the process. Just remember: if you want it, work for it. It’s that simple.
The Auxilium Team believes that a home is more than a roof over your head. It's where friends gather, families are raised, and memories are made. Our experienced brokers work with you to break down the mortgage process, explain the terminology, and determine how you can get the most for your money. We offer a complimentary consultation to start your home buying process; contact us today at 250-590-6520 (toll-free 1-855-590-6520). You can also visit us at 307 Goldstream Avenue during regular business hours. We can arrange an appointment evenings or weekends to work with you.
Auxilium Mortgage Corporation is based in Victoria, BC and works with clients locally and across Canada. The Auxilium team has over 100 years of combined financial experience and access to dozens of lenders to help you meet your goals.
This post reflects the best available information at the time of writing/last update. In order to ensure that you have the most up-to-date information, contact us to confirm the details for your specific situation.
Updated March 2018
This list originally appeared as part of The 20 Do's and Dont's For Buying Your First Home. See 5 Key DOs for Buying Your First Home and 6 More DOs for Buying Your First Home.