Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Avoid common mistakes when purchasing a home

Young Canadians feel that housing is still a good investment, according to the 21st Annual RBC Home Ownership Poll. Nearly nine-in-ten (86%) of those aged 25-34 believe that owning a house or condo is a very good investment, up from less than eight-in-ten (78%) in 2013. Interest in purchasing has increased in nearly every region in the country from last year. This change in buying intention bodes well for the housing market and shows a renewed confidence in young buyers.

Those potential home owners named job stability and manageable debt levels as the reasons why they would consider buying. Among those likely to buy a home within the next two years, four-in-ten will be first time homebuyers.

The old adage “Buyer Beware” however, still holds true. Most homeowners admit to making at least one mistake when they purchased their home according to the last year’s RBC Home Ownership Poll. While owning a home is a dream come true for many, it can also be stress-laden if you find you’ve made an error.

Here are 10 mistakes to watch out for when you take the leap:

  1. Property needed work – a lot of it. Even with a home inspection, new homebuyers may get into a home and find it costs more than they expected to make improvements.  Don’t rush in, sit down and plan.
  2. Not having a bigger down payment.  Having a larger down payment can lower mortgage payments, which could help with the household budget.
  3. No Home Inspection. If you skip the step you might find the repairs needed may be astronomical, especially if you purchase an older home. An inspector will look at the overall foundation and structural features of the house, the plumbing system, will look for the presence of mould or pest infestations, check the heating and air conditioning, as well as the electrical system.
  4. Not budgeting for the increased costs. Consider all the costs involved and create a realistic budget.  There are monthly mortgage payments, property taxes, and utility bills. On top of that you’ll probably want to redecorate, buy new furniture etc. Plan your budget accordingly. 
  5. Not knowing the closing costs. Closing day is coming and you get the call from the lawyer to come in and sign the papers and, oh, bring a certified cheque or bank draft for X amount of dollars. WHAT? Yes, fees and disbursements. There’s the land transfer fee, the title fee, the lawyer’s fee, etc. Don’t get caught short.
  6. Forgetting about future needs. If you’re planning on having kids, shop accordingly.  
  7. Not getting a pre-approved for a mortgage. You won’t know what price range you can afford and what a lender will give you without a pre-approval. It’s easy, it’s free and absolutely necessary. If something turns up that may prevent you from purchasing, a mortgage professional can offer you solutions.  
  8. Falling love with a house. Fall in love with each other but not with a house. You will not listen to the advice everyone is giving you. You will ignore the obvious cracks in the foundation because it has 18ft. ceilings and that great stone fireplace you’ve always wanted. Beware of buyer’s remorse.
  9.  Not checking market value of neighbourhood. This can cause some purchasers to pay too much. Especially a home that has been upgraded to the max in an area that won’t keep its value – unless you plan to live there the rest of your life.
  10.  Focusing too much on interest rates. Don’t rush in to a market because the rates are low. And don’t focus on getting the lowest rate. Focus on the mortgage loan and term that works for you and your financial situation.

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