With the spring home buying season approaching, I am often asked how young people can get started buying a Windsor property. In my last blog I posted tips on saving money, but really, for those first time buyers who want to position themselves into buying a home in the near future, I have some suggestions that they should start as soon as possible.
1. Maintain Good Credit:
Once you get a credit card, use it responsibility. Make your payments on time every month. If you are paying rent and utility bills, make sure they are in your name and again, paid before the due date. If you have problems with credit, there are some good credit counseling services available that can assist you, however, research the companies well as some can do more harm than good.
2. Start Saving:
The down payment and closing costs are what many first time homebuyers struggle with. Since the housing crisis, banks are watching carefully whom they loan money to, so having a good down payment is essential. Start an automatic savings plan, watch your lifestyle, eliminate any costs that you no longer need and you will soon be surprised at how much money you can truly save without sacrificing too much. We all waste money now and then, but establish a budget and stick to it.
3. Get Informed:
Take some time and research financial management and the process of buying a home. Take notes, write down questions and understand what is expected of a buyer when looking for a property. There are so many websites that can walk you through the process.
Where do you want to live? Do you want a condo? Townhouse? Older home? New Construction? Do you want to live in the middle of the city next to entertainment and shopping? Or would you prefer the suburbs? Do you have children or will you want a family one day? The goal is to find a home that you can be happy in for at least three to five years. That’s about the amount of time you can expect to recoup your closing costs. By going online, looking at neighbourhoods and homes, you can gather all kinds of information about housing costs and homeownership opportunities.
5. Talk To A Real Estate Agent:
Sitting down and talking with a real estate agent is a good way to understand and gather information about housing, costs, neighbourhoods, towns and communities. Don’t be shy or embarrassed when asking questions. We were all newbies at some point, and agents like to see a buyer come in with a list of questions, even if you won’t be ready to buy a home for some time.
6. Meet With A Banker:
How much house can you afford? How much do you need to save? How much of a down-payment is necessary? These are questions you can ask your banker. They will sit down with you, go over your financial history, your current debt, your employment and give you an idea on what you can afford. Once you have this piece of information, you know exactly how much money will be required when you finally start house hunting. Once you have these figures, it makes the goal of saving a worthy sacrifice.
Once you have researched homes, having a savings plan in place and a dollar amount you can spend on a property, keep at it faithfully. Don’t be sidetracked and discouraged if you think it will take too long to save for a home. It is doable as first time homebuyers walk into our office every day. Many started with nothing and today, are homeowners.
One other piece of advice from an experienced real estate agent with over 20 years of working with clients: When you start the home buying process and spend your free time looking at homes, take your time and buy a home that you can be happy with. Many get very caught up in the process of buying a home without doing the research. While saving for your down payment, make a list of what you want in a home and stick to the list as much as possible when searching for your home.