Sitting in my cozy home by the warm fire place as winter finally approaches Calgary, I decided it's time to share some informative real estate tips to first time home buyers who are thinking about investing into their first home. It isn't uncommon for people to run into obstacles because they didn't do their homework. Typically, these obstacles are a result of bad planning and bad decision making. We all learn from our mistakes, but I am here to help you learn from some of the mistakes I have made or have seen other people make as well. Here are six helpful tips to consider when looking to take the next step in purchasing your first home.
1. Don't look at houses that are not in your budget;
This can lead to the feeling of disappointment or discouragement and potentially a financial ruin. As an agent I want you to be excited about your first purchase and focus on what we can find you. Financially, whatever you are approved for, you don't have to spend or stretch your entire budget and become "house poor" which can compromise the rest of your life style. Balance is key.
2. Under the proper circumstances do not be afraid to go in with a lower offer;
There is absolutely no shame in starting low with an offer to purchase. As the classic saying goes "You don't know until you try." My dad raised me on that saying. I'll never forget when I was growing up and he said to me "You know Samantha your allowance has been the same for one year now." I looked at him puzzled thinking to myself ‘Well he makes the rules, so what does he mean by this?' My dad could see my confused face. He continued "If you don’t ask for what you want, how are you going to get it? You need to learn to set goals and expectations for yourself so I want you to think about why you deserve a bigger allowance and tell me how much you think is fair. I might agree with what you have to say, but I might not. We can talk about it when you decide what you think you deserve" That was the first time I realized exactly what that saying meant and how true it really was. The point is: you could luck out and get yourself a great deal if the circumstances are in your favor.
3. Get a home inspection;
Getting a home inspection clearly maps out where you need to invest money. This helps you budget and understand fundamental expenses that will be happening in the next 5-10 years which is crucial for your budgeting, I highly encourage home inspections to avoid any possible surprises.
4. Get the condo documents reviewed;
This is similar to the previous point on home inspections. Obviously, it's only applicable if you are writing an offer on a condo. Condominium documents keep you up to date on any key topics such as the budget, meeting minutes or bylaws, etc.
5. Don't be afraid to walk away;
Once you've had a home inspection or condominium document review and the results were not promising, whatever the issue is, don't be afraid to walk away. Emotions can sometimes take over, but it's vital to remain logical and thoroughly think your decisions through. Being cautious and getting out of a potential disaster early after spending your minimal dollars on a home inspection is better than getting hit hard in the long run. Patience is key, there are plenty of properties out there.
6. Know who is representing you;
This goes for anybody looking to sell or buy a home. I cannot stress enough to get to know your agent before signing into a contract. Are they properly licensed? Will they work in your best interest? Are they connected to the market and know what’s going on? Do you have a personal connection and feel comfortable with your agent? The list goes on and on, ask questions, look people up and go with you gut - always!
I hope there was some helpful information to anybody reading this. If you have any further questions I am always free to share advice and help with whatever I can!