May 2014,

Five Great Tips if you are Looking to Buy for the First Time:

Buying your first home can be an exciting yet stressful experience. It is imperative that you are informed along the way to ensure a smooth transition to home ownership. Here are the top five things to consider when buying your first home courtesy of an article written by Mark Weisleder, a real estate lawyer in the city of Toronto who writes articles published in the Toronto Star.


1)      What can you afford?


The first step is to sit down with a mortgage broker who can help you by looking at your credit score to determine what steps you can take to raise your score. If you plan to shop around using different mortgage brokers I would suggest pulling your own credit score from one of the online websites to eliminate having your credit pulled every time you sit down with a new broker. The mortgage broker will then look at how much you can afford. A general rule of thumb is 30% of your gross monthly income should be used to pay for your mortgage, insurance and property taxes.


2)      Narrow your Priorities


You need to determine what is the most important to you in your first home. Is it the size, or location? Condo or freehold? If a condo, are you prepared for the monthly common elements fee that is in addition to your mortgage payment? Other factors such as proximity to schools, entertainment, daycare, your job all need to be considered. It’s always a good idea to walk the neighborhoods you are interested in.


3)      Conduct a detailed home inspection


Do your research in employing the services of a professional home inspector. There are different levels of inspections available such as checking for mould, termites, infra-red scanners that can check insulation levels or moisture problems as well as inspections of the homes drainage system. Not all inspectors offer these services and the ones that do may charge more for a particular inspection. At the end of the day the extra cost may save you money in the long run as problems can be found and can be very costly, just watch an episode of “Holmes Inspection” for the proof.


4)      Ask the seller hard questions


This is where your realtor can be a huge asset. You want to ask questions like have they had any basement flooding problems, mould or roof leaks or have they had any insurance claims since they have owned the home. The sellers are required to respond truthfully and if there is any answers that seem suspicious you should discuss further and either adjust your purchase offer or simply walk away.


5)      Know your options for after-sale warranty protection


There are now many products that are available for buyers that will provide warranty protection on your homes heating, air conditioning, electrical, plumbing and major appliances. Most sellers will not give any warranty after closing so these warranty products can provide peace of mind to avoid any costly repair bills after closing.