Guide to Buying Your First Home — Part II

Our last post gave some advice for buying your first home. Here are even more ways to make the whole process less confusing and more rewarding in the end:

Make a List of Your Wants and Needs

Your needs should typically come first when buying your first home. You have a smaller chance of making mistakes when you focus on the practical aspects of what a home can offer. Keeping your needs in mind prevents that incredible four-person jacuzzi from blinding you into buying a home nowhere near the transit lines.

Make sure to include aspects such as:

  • Maintenance requirements like lawn size and number of trees
  • Number of bedrooms
  • Overall square footage
  • Proximity to school, businesses or public transit
  • Student-friendly neighborhood
  • Number of stairs
  • Features beneficial to pets, such as fenced-in yard or distance from major roads
  • Eventual resale value based on structure, property and neighborhood

Start Saving Up

Long before you make your first home offer, you should begin saving every nickel and dime to get ready for your home purchase. You will need enough money to cover 18-20 percent of your down payment, along with cash for closing costs, maintenance and an emergency reserve for mortgage payments. Remember that living paycheck to paycheck while paying off a mortgage makes for an extremely precarious situation.

Keep in Mind How You Would Use the Home

Often, a home with very practical or attractive features would still offer little or no benefit to your particular lifestyle. For instance, a home with an incredible kitchen may be useless if you never have the time to cook. A home with a gorgeous garden could quickly turn into a home with a wilted flower bed as you spend all your time studying.

Be particularly wary of high-maintenance aspects like pools, big lawns or unfinished basements. Try to look past the glitz of staging or your high-rolling dreams and hone in on features that offer real benefits to you.

Do Not Skip the Home Inspection

Home inspections can be a literal life-saver sometimes. Most of the time, they prevent you from buying a home that could be a serious money drain.

Haunting problems like leaks and structural damage can be painted or patched over before buyers come viewing. Hire a true expert to examine every crevice of your potential home-to-be before committing to buy. You will have the opportunity to get the home owner to resolve issues or to walk away from the sale entirely based on what the inspector finds.

Holding to these guidelines will help narrow your field of choices and prevent you from making the most common mistakes. An expert real estate agent can also assist you with finding a home without incurring too much financial or personal risk. To begin finding the perfect home near the school you are attending, take a look at our Canadian university real estate listings.

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