Buying Your First Home: Things I Wish I Had Known

Buying Your First Home

Buying your first home is likely the biggest purchase you’ll ever make. It’s an exciting time but occasionally may feel a little overwhelming. You’ll have questions - lots of them - and that’s okay.

We asked our team to share some of their home buying experiences.

“We built our current home and there were issues with the builder’s schedule of completion and what was required by CMHC’s schedule of completion. So what ended up happening was CMHC would only advance a portion of what the builder required. We actually had to leave a portion unpaid to the builder and then had to pay interest because of the two conflicting schedules.

We had to go through the lawyer who talked to the builder about reducing the interest that needed to be paid. Originally, they wanted 7.5% interest for the outstanding balance since the time it was built but we were able to get it down to 4%.

You will always have expenses come up that you won't be aware of. If you have savings set aside ahead of time, you might be able to cover some of those costs – depending, of course, on how much extra is needed.”

- Neva at Grant Park

“I was lucky to have a very good agent. That helped a lot. I’ve heard of people who tried to buy a place but didn’t ask the right questions or didn’t do a home inspection and then ran into problems later. My agent was very knowledgeable and helped me figure out what I wanted and then asked the right questions.

A piece of advice I would give is this: don’t rush. Be prepared. If you’re unprepared, you might be tempted to get into unnecessary bidding wars and you'll end up paying more than you actually have to. Do your homework before you buy - know the market: what is a reasonable price for the area? How much can you get approved for? What kind of house can you get that fits your budget? If you do a little research first, you’ll know what your money can buy.”

- Cyan at Achieva

“Once we decided to build our first home, we started setting aside money regularly. We knew how much we would need and in 2010 finally built our home. One expense we hadn’t considered, however, was the land transfer tax. Luckily, we still had enough to cover the extra cost. If I could go back, I’d make sure to be prepared for that one additional expense as well.”

- Amila at McPhillips

“We built our home in 2004. It was our first home so there were probably a lot of things we could have done differently. Looking back, I probably would have made a bigger walk in closet in the master bedroom, a bigger en suite bathroom with a soaker tub and a large shower, and a larger back yard. The direction your house is facing is also important - especially with new homes and their large windows and vaulted ceilings. You want to make sure your house is facing the right direction so it’s not getting too much sun through the windows all day. That can make your home really hot.”

- Rita at St. James

If you’re considering buying your first home, your financial institution is a great resource to get you started. Meet with an advisor to assess your current situation and to discuss home buying strategies.

Thinking about buying your first home? Check out Tips For First Time Home Buyers!