Everyone needs a place to live and for many people, having a place of their own is very high on their list of priorities.
For the first fifteen to twenty years of our lives, most of us don’t have to give much thought to housing, rent or mortgage payments, property taxes, utility bills or the condition of the water heater, “What are those things?” Then we are off to college, trade school or university and even then for many, mom and dad are still taking care of the business of providing a roof over our heads, and we may have started buying some of our groceries and preparing our meals.
Eventually though we probably start to think of renting “Our own place” even if it is just a small apartment which we share with a sibling or maybe a friend or two, housing has finally become a personal issue and will most likely be one of our top concerns for the rest of our lives. While renting will probably be the most logical housing for the short term, undoubtedly many will dream of owning their home.
So what options do we have, apartments, condos, townhouses, duplexes, single family dwellings, high rise, low rise, urban, suburban or rural? Should we continue to rent or purchase? What is the deposit are we required to provide and how much will the mortgage payments be, do we even qualify for a mortgage?
Do I want to rent or buy?
As appealing as it may seem to own your home, are you ready for it? You may be able to rent an apartment, townhouse or even a single family dwelling in an area that appeals to you. Can you afford to own the same property? You may dream of owning a million dollar house with all the amenities, but your budget may only allow a small percentage of that. Have you researched the housing market in your area and are you ready to commit to purchasing a home?
How much will it cost?
There is no shortage of advertising available in the real estate industry. there are kiosks in every mall and boards in every realtor’s window. Countless pages of ads fill newspapers and magazines. There even more online including private offers on sites like Kijiji and Angie’s list. Do your homework! Unfortunately, what most of us want and what we can comfortably afford are not the same. Now might be the time to think about the actual meaning of “compromise.”
How much can I afford to pay?
If you are prepared to buy a home soon, your next step should be to see how much money you can accumulate for the purchase. It is unlikely that you will be able to buy without a down payment. The less you put down, the more you will pay in costs, in higher interest rates or high ratio insurance, or both. Do your due diligence and try to get pre-approved for a specific amount of funding. There are rules which govern exactly what your qualification limits are. Now may be a good time to seek the services of a mortgage broker, they may turn out to be your new BFF. There are many variables to consider.
What can I realistically afford?
There is a difference between the legal limit allowed by law and what you can afford to for housing each month. If you have been renting , you had a set amount of liability and could budget for it. Unless you are purchasing a “new” property, and even that has its caveats, you need to prepare for unexpected surprises. The furnace or water heater could need repairs or worse yet, replacement. Your cute little fixer upper may surprise you with a leaky roof or plumbing issues.
Extending yourself to your financial limit may come back to haunt you and turn the joy of home ownership into a nightmare. If you have the self-discipline and the skills to make the repairs, perhaps you can extend yourself a little further and reap the rewards.
Maybe a little compromise now will pay big rewards in your quality of life in the future. Perhaps trading up in a few years will be the most rewarding route to follow. Owning your own place should be an enjoyable experience!
What would I like to have?
If you grew up in a city and lived in an apartment and think you want to buy a single family dwelling in suburbia but have never lived in one, try renting a house. If you grew up on a ranch and are positive that a high-rise in the city is your ideal new home you might want try it for a while before you buy. Rent before you buy and consider the pros and cons of the various styles of housing.
Even if you know that you want to live in a suburban neighborhood with meticulously manicured lawns and gardens, what style of a house do you want? Once you make the commitment to buy, you are likely to be there for a while. If you choose a fixer upper can you do the work? If not, will you need professionals, at considerable cost to do the work in the future? Do you want a rancher, a split level, a two storey or a bungalow? If you are buying with plans to add on or do major renovations, can you do it? Do local bylaws allow it? Find out before you buy not after.
Where can I find out what to do?
At SavvyChick.com® we will help you with information and advice from professionals in the related fields.