Canada's Condominium Magazine
Recent real estate trends, taxes, and regulations have caused potential buyers to become increasingly wary, and many people have begun to fear they may never achieve their dream of owning their own home. While it is certainly difficult in today’s market, it is not impossible. If you are determined to take that next step sooner rather than later, then read on to discover some helpful tips.
Preparing for the Purchase
Before crunching numbers and viewing properties, it is important to identify the things that are most important to you and your family when considering a new home. Do you need a fully-equipped kitchen and large dining area for entertaining friends and family? Are you willing to sacrifice space throughout the rest of your home to obtain that?
How many children do you have, and do they need their own rooms? Do you need an extra room for an office? Does the home need to be within walking distance of school and work so that you can get everyone where they need to go on time? Discussing your needs and determining what you can and cannot sacrifice from the list is the first and most important step when starting down the path to purchasing your own home. The hottest, most affordable home in the world will not do you any good if there is not enough space for everyone.
It is also beneficial to discuss amenities and other details when considering purchasing a condo unit. What amenities do you want, and which can you live without? What rules can you live with, and which ones are deal breakers? Is public transit necessary? If so, you will need a condo in a prime location with plenty of transit options. Do you have your own car, but it’s electric? You will need to make sure that you have a charging station. Be sure to think everything over so that you are ready for anything that comes your way. It will make the process go more quickly and smoothly, while allowing you to search only the properties that meet your needs.
After determining your family’s needs and areas of compromise, begin researching. Find local properties with your listed features and gauge their selling prices. Recording data can be extremely helpful when trying to budget because it lets you see everything at all times. Try recording various properties that interest you and sort them by number of rooms and how many features they match. Set up a spreadsheet or table that looks something like this:
In the instance above, you would rule out property A if you have pets, despite the extra rooms. This may mean scratching that home office off your list, but you get to keep your cuddly canine. You would also add an extra slot to each remaining property and record the sale price for those properties. Which properties match the most features, and what is the price range for them? This will help you to get a better idea of what the final price will likely be for your home.
Once you have calculated the possible price range, the next move should be to determine how affordable that is and how long it might take you to save up the down payment plus first and last months’ rent. Once you know how long it will take, you can better determine when the official search needs to begin.
The Down Payment
The biggest hurdle for most buyers is the down payment requirement. Even if you find a home within your price range, you are required to spend two to three times the monthly mortgage payment just to move in. Fortunately, there are a few tips and tricks to help potential buyers secure their down payment so that their dream of owning a home can become a reality.
One option for buyers is down payment assistance. According to The Mortgage Reports, such assistance is widely available, though it is largely unknown to homebuyers. “Down payment grants are designed to help eligible buyers bridge the gap between their savings and the required down payment for a mortgage. This money doesn’t usually have to be repaid.”
In the meantime, save what you can. Hoard pennies and other loose change and make cut backs where you can. While most things such as bills are handled through automated systems, others can be paid with cash. Use cash as often as possible and save the change you get back. A little here and there can add up to big savings over time.
Another money-saving option includes obtaining a savings account. If you already have one, make sure that it offers the best rates and incentives out there. If not, then shop around to find the best deals. Some banks offer incredible interest rates, while others may offer cash incentives for opening an account with them and maintaining a set balance.
Set up an automatic transfer from your checking account to your savings account. This will automatically deposit funds into savings with every paycheck. It helps you to save money without feeling like you are missing it because you are not having to physically take the money out. The bank does it for you. Just set it and forget it. Before long, you will be surprised at how much can accumulate in your savings account. Going the extra mile by transferring bonuses and raises to savings can also make a significant impact.
Following these and other money-saving tips will go a long way in helping you to save up for the home you want, without having to make huge sacrifices or pound the pavement for years. Even in a troubled real estate market, purchasing a home is possible under the right conditions. It will certainly be harder, but it can be done.