As a first time home buyer, buying your first property is one of life’s biggest milestones and can induce a rush of excitement.

As veteran condo buyers we’ve compiled the most important tips from years of selling thousands of homes.

Top 10 First Time Home Buyers tips:

  1. Take the plunge– No doubt about it, buying a home is the biggest cost in your life. Are you ready and somewhat settled? There is a degree to permanence about buying a home. There will be unforeseen costs. Getting over the psychological hurdle is step 1.
  2. Educate yourself- Study the trends of the market and lean on your realtor for expert guidance. For some, a crash course over a lunch with a veteran realtor will teach them more than they have learned in their lifetime. Know your area. Know what sorts of developments are in place around your desired area. Study future projects that may enhance or drop your property value like a transit line or a highway.
  3. Qualify for a mortgage before you buy– You may be able to afford less or more than you thought. Speak to a mortgage expert to factor in all costs (we’ll explore more below) and shop around. A small difference in your rate can save you thousands over a lifetime.
  4. Work with the best– Hiring a real estate agent is more than finding someone to drive you around to view properties. You are bringing on a partner in your transaction that will negotiate hard for you and protect you from the interests of the other party. Don’t be scared to ask your realtor about all their qualifications as well as their buying and selling history. Starting your search on means you’re already in the hands of a great team!
  5. Know that there aren’t definitive rules around price– When you’re buying your first home you will hear anecdotal advice from people who tell you about standard discounts and underground secrets of the industry. We’ve seen all sorts of discounts off asking price and even over asking. Look at past sales and trust your realtor who will have a good sense of where the market is at.
  6. Be decisive– Don’t be afraid to jump in and make an offer when you see what you want. You will likely need to see several properties first but just like dating you can learn exactly what you don’t want. When you see what you want trust your instincts and make it offer. It’s not a lifelong commitment. Properties can be rented or sold but failing to act can be one of the most costly mistakes in a hot market.
  7. Fees Galore– As mentioned above there is much more to buying a house than a mortgage. Here are some of the costs you should be aware of that you may not have thought of: 1) Land Transfer Tax 2) Bank Appraisal Fees 3) Lawyer Fees 4) Mortgage Broker Fee 5) Tax reimbursements or Condo fee reimbursements.
  8. And a couple more– parks levy, heat pump fees, development charges, educational levy. Ask you realtor to make sure you’re financially sound and ready to go on day one.
  9. Remember the important dates– Condo fees are due on the first of every month. Property taxes are paid out in instalments which are usually at the rate of 4 per year.

Looking to buy and sell your home and have some burning questions? Get in touch with our team and check out the various tools on our site like our condo mortgage calculator or instant property valuator.