Over the past year or so we have seen a surplus of first-time homebuyers in the Greater Toronto Area, especially in Oakville and Burlington. While buying your first home can be an extremely exciting experience, we’ve noticed that a lot of buyers are often unsure of what they are getting into, what exactly they are looking for, or the entire process of buying a home. Making this exciting experience often overwhelming instead.
Rather than feeling nervous or overloaded with the process, we’ve decided to break down our 7 most important questions that first-time homebuyers should ask to feel more confident in their purchasing decision, as well as the purchasing process as a whole.
The Following Are 7 Questions Every First Time Home Owner Should Ask
1. What is my total budget?
When it comes to buying your first home, you really need to have a clear understanding of how much you can afford. While you may be pre-approved for a mortgage of a certain amount, you still need to be cognizant of how much you spend, monthly, on other living expenses.
We recommend that you get pre-approved for a mortgage first, making it easier and less stressful to go forth when it’s time to put an offer in on a home. Once you have your pre-approval, take a moment to understand how much your mortgage payments will be monthly, and see if you’re able to afford it along with all your other monthly expenses.
2. What are my closing costs?
This question is incredibly important! When put in touch with your lawyers it is important to ask how much your closing costs are once the sale is finalized. This will help you understand how much you’ll have to pay and save for legal and closing fees so that you are not caught off guard at the end.
To note: first time home buyers are eligible for the First Time Home Buyers Tax Credit, however closing costs can still range from $4,500 - $7,500.
3. What are the related monthly costs?
When you purchase a home, you’re not only taking on the monthly payments of your mortgage. There may also be condo fees associated with the property, along with parking, water and hydro, gas, as well as other expenses such as wifi and cable. It’s important to make and understand the additional expenses that are associated with purchasing each particular home.
This should also be calculated along with your mortgage and additional living expenses to help you understand in entirety, what your new monthly expenses will look like.
4. Why are the sellers moving?
Many may think that the sellers are moving to enjoy bigger and better things, however, this may not always be the case. There may be certain issues or problems such as ongoing noise or neighbourhood concerns that you’ll want to know about, especially when making your decision to buy. Have your realtor ask the seller’s realtor for the reason as to why they are moving to truly understand and get a feel as to what it is like to live in that area.
5. Does the home have Kitec plumbing?
Kitec plumbing is an older form of plumbing that is still currently found in many condo buildings, especially in Oakville and Burlington. The reason you’ll want to make note of this is that:
- Some insurance companies will not insure your home if this plumbing is available.
- Some condo corporations may be phasing this plumbing out, which means you may have to pay to have it updated, or pay a surplus in your condo fees for a few months to cover the cost of the condo board having it done.
If you find a home with Kitec plumbing that you love, ask the seller to have it updated, or set aside some additional funds as you may have to upgrade it yourself.
6. What is included in the sale?
When purchasing a home, you need to know exactly what is included in the sale. Does the home come with all of the appliances? Are any appliances getting updated? Are the curtains included? It’s good to make note and fully understand what it is you are paying for and what you are getting when you sign on that dotted line.
7. What is the neighbourhood like?
You want to make sure that your future home is up to your expectations, but you also want to ensure that the neighbourhood fits your lifestyle, wants, and needs as well. When visiting the home, be sure to spend some time driving around the neighbourhood and speaking to some of the neighbours if you can, to get a real sense as to what it is like living there.
We also suggest that you ask your realtor for a breakdown of the demographics of the area, to help paint a picture of who your future neighbours will be. The last thing you want is to live in your dream home in an area that isn’t up to your standards, so make sure to ask.
We understand that buying your first home is a mix of many feelings, both positive and overwhelming. However, with these 7 questions, you’ll be able to get a real sense of what you are getting yourself into, helping to prevent any surprises from arising down the road. Of course, if you have more questions or need more information, feel free to download our Home Buyer’s Guide for a more detailed and comprehensive overview. Other than that, be sure to enjoy this new experience, and we wish you the best in your journey. Happy home hunting!