You have decided to become a homeowner. Congratulations! Now what?

Although you really want to just start looking at homes there are a few tips to get you started before you get in the car.

1. Figure out your budget. Home ownership costs include the home, but also property taxes, condo fees (if applicable), maintenance and utilities. Have a good look at how much of your monthly income you WANT to spend.

2. Talk to a lender or mortgage broker and get pre-approved. Find out how much the banks will APPROVE you to borrow.

Your budget and your approval number can sometimes be different and figuring out a number that makes sense for you is Priority 1. It is so easy to move up in price, but understanding your numbers before you head out keeps things in perspective.

3. Find a Realtor to work with to help explain the market and your options. Go through the process of talking about how long you plan on staying in this home. Most families move multiple times as needs change so it is good to talk it out. If you are buying a condo, learn about condos and how they are managed.

4. Start looking at properties. Keep an open mind. Pink paint is easy to change and so is carpet. And those prices on HGTV for ripping down walls and rebuilding kitchens for $10,000 are not Calgary pricing. If you are considering renovations, lets get you some real local numbers. The best advice I can give is choose community/location first (within your budget) and go from there. The shine of some items can wear off quickly if your home isn’t located where you need to make your day to day more enjoyable.

5. Stay informed and ask questions throughout the process. In my experience, the more informed and prepared my clients are the more comfortable they are with asking questions and making decisions because they know what to expect. Utilize the experience of your Realtor, inspector, condo document review company and lawyer to help you close on your first home purchase.

As always, contact me anytime with your questions. Whether you are ready to start looking today or at step 1, I’m happy to assist to ensure you have everything you need to make buying your first home a great experience.