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Deciding to Buy a House
Can we tell you a secret? Buying a home is not as easy as House Hunters makes it look. There is not going to be three perfectly lovely homes that tick most of your boxes and a nice, sunset scene unfolding as you agree on one home with your partner over cocktails with your agent. The only part we can attest to be true is the needing a cocktail bit, in fairness. It just isn’t that tidy of a process!
We often work with first time buyers — heck the person writing this has been a first-time buyer themselves recently enough, and it can feel nothing short of harrowing to work super hard to get an offer together on a home, only for it to fall through. There is something so personal about buying a home, let alone your first one, and we know it also can feel super intimidating to tackle this when you haven’t done it before. From deciding where to live, what you can afford and what you even want is just the start of this all. Let us take you on a trip down house hunting reality lane so you know exactly what to expect when you go house shopping.
The Clarington Real Estate Market
Clarington has long been a favourite place to call home for young families and commuters for its peaceable, agricultural setting and cozy community feeling. While a lot has changed in our home territory over the last 10 years, there’s still plenty more families finding out how wonderful Clarington truly is – and that trend reflects in the real estate market stats, too:
|Month||Average Selling Price (Detached Home)||Average % +/- list price||Average Days on Market|
So what does that mean for you, as a buyer in Clarington? It means you can expect to shell out for a detached home across the area, and you can also expect a swift sale and to pay over list price. All of this amounts to needing to be a) quick to make decisions and b) prepared.
To get to that stage – you need to answer some serious questions though.
Consider These 4 Things First
Before we get into the nitty gritty questions and really take a walk down general info lane and get your head in the right space to really understand whether you should buy a house or not. There’s 4 things you should think about first:
- Personal Taste
- Type of Home
Are you looking for a place close to your workplace? Are you trying to remain within a school district? Do you want to be close to transit or shopping? Think about these & more, as well as whether you are looking to be in an urban, suburban, or rural area and then you can start narrowing down real locations you and your family might enjoy
Start with how much you feel comfortable spending each month on monthly mortgage payments and recall the costs of buying a home are equal to one-time costs, like the down payment, legal fees, inspection fees & taxes plus monthly costs like mortgage, utilities, insurance & property taxes.
Do you like open concept spaces? How do you feel about a bungalow versus a two-story? Do you like the idea of having a huge backyard or are you looking for no maintenance? Knowing what aspects of a home are most important to you is key to consider before setting out on your journey. Keep in mind the ‘bones’ of your potential new home – think furnaces, window location, and room sizes – things that are much harder to change than paint!
Type of Home
Are you looking for maintenance free living? What about neighbours? However, if you are thinking that cutting the lawn on Sunday mornings is not going to be your new hobby – then maybe a condominium is more suitable for you. With that will come a maintenance fee however, which can affect your pre-approval amount. Which type of home – detached, semi-detached, townhome, condominium – will depend on your needs and preferences.
What You Need to Ask Yourself Before You Buy
There is so much to consider before you make this huge (literal) move to owning a home. You don’t want to miss anything – after all, this is probably the most expensive thing you will ever buy AND it has a ton of responsibility packed onto it.
In order to most efficiently come to a conclusion on whether home ownership is for you or not, or even just for now or for later, we have come up with 9 questions that you should answer before you head into homeownership.
So grab a pen, your partner (if they are also involved) and get your thinking hat on. We also suggest grabbing your bank records, bills, and other expenses for the past few months so you can get a better idea of what you’ve actually spent versus what you feel you’ve spent – trust us when we say those can be two very different things.
9 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Buying a House
So, what else exactly do you need to ask yourself before you buy a house?
Well, let’s get into it –
- Do I have a significant savings base I can draw from for my minimum 5% down payment?
- Do I have a solid pattern of savings?
- Am I confident in my financial knowledge? If I am not, am I willing to ask questions/do the work required to understand? For example, do I understand the how the CMHC rules work for down payments under 20%
- Am I ready to make a significant financial commitment for the next 3 years min (less if condo/apt)?
- Have I been working in my job for at least 3 months?
- Do I need to make any large purchases, like a car?
- Can I manage my current monthly obligations, as well as what a home would cost?
- Can I handle the maintenance that might come with a home, and if not, am I okay with living in a condominium or townhouse or hiring a professional to handle the maintenance?
- Do I have money already set aside for one time expenses, as well as for things like a deposit and furniture?
If you can confidently answer yes to most or all of these questions, you are seriously one step closer to making an informed decision about whether you should buy a home or not. If the answers to most of these are no, especially questions 1, 2 and 3. These are the most important questions you need to answer because they determine your financial footing which, arguably, is the most key aspect of homebuying of all.
Once you get through this list, it’s time to do some more research, and to contact us! We are experienced in handling all the questions, concerns and confusion that comes with buying a home for the first time and know the Clarington and Durham markets like the back of our hand!
Wondering what’s next? We have a ton of resources right on here on the Blog, and we also have a list of other calculators, guides and informative posts for you to check out below: