Housing prices have been steadily rising, with the housing market making a slow but steady comeback. The Canadian Real Estate Agency has pointed to an average home price increase of 4.8% as proof that the market is regaining its foothold. But things are yet to get back to normal, and if you’re in the market for a new house, now is probably the time to seal the deal.
The first step to finding yourself in your dream home is to visit a loan officer. You can stop by your bank or speak to your real estate agent for recommendations, but the whole purpose of speaking to a lender right off the bat is to find out what you can actually afford. If you’re struggling financially, consider looking into a quick loan through a provider like wonga.ca to get you back on track and seriously consider whether now is the right time to move. New homes come with all kinds of hidden costs and almost always end up costing more than you budget for. So take the time to figure out whether buying a house is a real possibility.
Once your lender has given you a price range that you can realistically afford, sit down and brainstorm exactly what you want out of your house. You’re probably planning on spending a good chunk of time in your new place so don’t commit to something that doesn’t have everything you need (or at least the option of adding it on later). While new appliances can be added at any time, an addition to the garage may not be feasible.
Prioritize what you can and can’t live without. While we’d all love to live in mansions with tennis courts and swimming pools, the fact of the matter is that you’re probably not going to get everything you want at a cheap price. That doesn’t mean you should stop looking, because it’s certainly been done before. But be prepared to make sacrifices to find something within your price range. Don’t fail to see the possibility for the future in a house, either. The backyard may not be exactly what you’re looking for; but if you can hang in there until tax time, you can invest in some sod and a new deck. These things can easily be fixed over time.
And don’t forget to budget for an increase in everyday costs. Will your cable bill go up because you need connections in three rooms instead of one? How much will electricity cost you now that you have to cool an entire house instead of your studio apartment? There are all sorts of costs that pop up once you’re a homeowner that you didn’t have to worry about before. Remember to add costs like homeowner’s association fees and trash removal to your budget so you don’t find yourself in over your head.
If you choose the right real estate agent, they should be able to guide you through the process rather painlessly. But be aware that they make money off of getting you into a house; ultimately, choosing the right one will be up to you.