October 30, 2023

First-Time Homebuyers: 8 Common Mistakes to Avoid

Buying your first home can be a stressful experience... especially since there are pitfalls to avoid. Fortunately, this can easily be done. Read on to discover 8 common mistakes first-time homebuyers often make, as well as some valuable advice.

1. Not knowing your credit score

To obtain a mortgage, you need to know the state of your finances as well as your credit history. If your situation does not meet basic criteria, your financial institution may refuse your request for financing. After all, when it comes to a good credit score, there’s nothing worse than regularly maxing out your credit card limit or being unable to pay off the monthly balance. 

2. Not having a pre-approved mortgage

The mortgage pre-approval process helps you to work out the maximum amount you can borrow as well as the price you can afford to pay for a house. You will then be issued proof stating the amount for which you qualify, including the interest rate and down payment. However, think carefully before using the maximum amount of the loan: first-time homebuyers frequently underestimate the sacrifices that homeownership requires.

3. Not knowing about financial aid offered to first-time homebuyers

The governments of Canada and Quebec – as well as many cities and municipalities – offer first-time homebuyers various forms of financial aid, such as the First-Time Home Buyer Incentive. Do some research: these grants and tax credits could give you that extra help you need to carry out your real estate project.  

4. Buying the first property you visit

Were you thrilled with the house? Do you already see yourself raising your children in the neighbourhood? If so, take a step back. By visiting several homes with a real estate broker and asking questions, you will be able to objectively compare all your options to find the best match. 

5. Not having the property inspected

Neglecting a pre-purchase inspection is at the buyer’s risk! By entrusting this task to a qualified building inspector, you will know the true condition of the property, including potential problems and any work to be done. As a bonus: you will obtain some additional leverage when negotiating the selling price or purchase conditions.  

6. Underestimating the scope of the work

Few properties will match your personal preferences in every way. First-time homebuyers often tend to minimize the extent of necessary renovations: roofing, doors and windows, flooring, painting, etc. Whether you plan to do these yourself or call on a specialist, assess whether it is worth the effort before making an offer to purchase.

7. Not calculating closing costs

Buying a first home doesn’t just involve the down payment; you also have to take several other expenses into consideration. Moving expenses, new furniture, notary fees, transfer taxes, property taxes, school taxes: include all these other expenses in your budget before embarking on your adventure. 

8. Not seeking help from professionals

The real estate market is complex, especially for first-time homebuyers. A word of advice: use the services of experts throughout the process. They will be able to inform you about trends, types of construction, negotiation techniques and legal aspects.

To reduce risks and avoid costly mistakes, team up with a real estate broker. The knowledge and expertise of a broker will help you become a homeowner in the best possible conditions. 

See also :

How to calculate your debt-to-income ratio

How to make an offer on a home

How to choose the best mortgage

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