Written by: Wolf Willow
Home Buying 101: Questions a First Time Home Buyer Should Ask
Purchasing your first home is a significant milestone—and it’s one of the biggest purchases you’ll ever make in your life. With that comes all the feels; it’s exciting, scary, and maybe even intimidating, but with the right knowledge and guidance, it can be a smooth and rewarding experience. As a first-time home buyer, it’s crucial to ask the right questions to ensure you make informed decisions throughout your homebuying journey. In this blog, we’ll cover the essential questions you should ask when buying your first home.
Benefits of homeownership
Before we dive in, homeownership comes with numerous benefits that make it the right choice for many lifestyles. First and foremost, owning a home provides stability. Unlike renting, where you may have to move frequently or suddenly, owning a home allows you to establish roots. Not only that, but homeownership offers you the freedom to personalize your living space according to your preferences so it can truly feel like your home.
Buying in a new community can help create a sense of belonging as you build your life alongside your neighbours. Additionally, owning a home is an investment in your future. As you make mortgage payments, you build equity, which can later be used for other purposes such as helping pay for your children’s education, the ability to move up into a larger home, or by investing in your future for retirement.
Common questions first time home buyers should ask
Now that we’ve covered some of the benefits of homeownership, let’s dive into some common questions first time home buyers should consider before taking any other steps toward homeownership.
1. What is my budget?
Determining your budget is the crucial first step in the home buying process, which will help you answer other questions later. Consider your current financial situation, including your income, expenses, and any existing debts. This will help you determine a realistic price range for your new home.
In addition to your mortgage payments, there are various other costs associated with owning a home. These include property taxes, insurance, maintenance, and utilities. It’s important to factor in these costs when determining your budget.
The Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) has an excellent guide on how to determine whether you may be financially ready to own a home before you meet with a broker or home lender. You can check that out here.
2. How do I choose the right neighborhood?
Researching and visiting different neighborhoods is essential to find the right fit for you. Take into consideration factors such as your lifestyle (or the lifestyle you want to have), the community’s proximity to amenities, nearby schools, and your daily commute to work.
For example, Wolf Willow is perfect for those who want a perfect blend of urban life while still being close to nature. The area surrounding our community is known for its natural beauty, diverse fish, wildlife and plant communities and its many outdoor recreational opportunities, thanks to it being steps away from Fish Creek Park and the Bow River! Wolf Willow is also a quick hop away from Stoney Trail, Calgary’s newly completed ring road, giving you convenient access to any quadrant of the city.
Check out the top 5 reasons to buy a home in Wolf Willow here.
3. What are my needs and wants in a home?
One of the more fun questions when considering buying a home is to ask yourself, what are my needs/wants for a home? Make a list of the features and amenities that are important to you. “Needs” are something you can’t live without and don’t want to compromise on, whereas “wants” are optional features that you could potentially add it later but wouldn’t be considered a deal breaker.
Some practical factors to consider are the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, square footage, the size of the yard, proximity to schools and amenities, etc. These are things that can typically only be solved by moving or renovating. Fun considerations would be a new home or a fixer-upper, attached or detached garage, a pool, a fireplace, a west facing view if you’re in Calgary (hello Rocky Mountains), etc.
4. Should I work with a real estate agent?
While it’s not mandatory, working with a real estate agent can greatly simplify the home buying process. They have the knowledge and experience to guide you through the various steps, negotiate terms on your behalf, and ensure you make informed decisions. They can help you find properties that match your wish list and budget, arrange viewings, and ensure all necessary paperwork and home inspections are completed correctly.
When choosing a real estate agent, look for someone with a solid reputation, excellent communication skills, and a thorough understanding of the communities where you’re interested in buying.
Quick tips for first time home buyers
Buying a home can be a lengthy process, so the more prepared you are in the beginning, the easier it will be to narrow your search. These are some quick suggestions that can help you in the long run:
1. Get pre-approved for a mortgage
Before you start house hunting, it’s recommended to get pre-approved for a mortgage. This will give you a clear understanding of your budget and make you a more attractive buyer to sellers. Learn everything you need to know about getting a mortgage in Calgary here.
2. Research the market
Take the time to research the real estate market in Calgary. Understand the trends, property values, and any upcoming developments that may impact your decision on where to live.
3. Attend open houses
Open houses provide an excellent opportunity to explore different home styles and get a feel for what’s available in your desired area, or what style of home might fit your lifestyle best. Don’t be afraid to take notes, ask questions, and compare different properties to make an informed decision.
4. Don’t rush
Buying a home is a significant investment, so take your time and don’t rush into a decision! It’s okay to be patient and wait for the right property that meets your needs and fits your budget, rather than buy a home that ultimately doesn’t fit your lifestyle.
Factors to consider when choosing a home
While buying your first home, there are several factors you should keep top of mind. First, evaluate the location. Is it close to work, schools, parks, shopping centers, or other amenities that are important to you? If you aren’t building a new home, assess the condition of the property. Will it require any major repairs or renovations, or is it turn-key?
Next, think about the size of the home you want. Does it meet your current and/or future needs? Consider the number of bedrooms, bathrooms, and overall living space.
Finally, consider the overall value of the home. Research recent sales in the area to ensure you’re making a sound investment. Thinking ahead can save you from having to move again in the near future.
Pick Your Perfect Home in Wolf Willow
In the Wolf Willow, you’ll find a variety of housing options to suit different lifestyles and preferences, including condos, townhomes, laned homes, duplexes, and front garage move ups. Read on to see which home styles might best fit your needs.
Condos are an attractive option for individuals looking for a more affordable entry into homeownership or a “lock-and-leave” lifestyle. Condos are also an excellent choice for those looking to downsize, minimize the amount of stairs in their home, or would rather spend their time adventuring away from the home than keeping up on home maintenance.
Townhomes are an excellent choice for those seeking a low-maintenance lifestyle with shared amenities such as landscaping and snow removal. Townhomes are typically a bit larger than condos and have multiple floors, giving you a bit more room and separation than a condo.
Duplexes provide the benefits of a laned home while being one of the more affordable choices. They have a similar amount of square footage as a laned home, as well as a private backyard option to build a detached garage, but you can save on material costs and utility bills with your neighbour.
Laned homes are single family, detached homes that come with the option to build a detached garage in the backyard. Laned homes come with a private yard, which is great option for those who want an outdoor space for their pets or enjoy activities like gardening or entertaining outdoors.
Front Garage Homes
Front garage homes are an excellent choice for larger families or those who want to maximize the space in their backyard by having the garage in the front of the home. They typically come with ample storage space, open floorplans, and plenty of room for you and your family to grow or entertain.
And with that, congratulations on embarking on the journey of becoming a homeowner! Remember to ask the right questions, consider your needs and wants, and take your time to make informed decisions. Owning a home offers numerous benefits, and with the right guidance and support, you can find the perfect home that meets your needs and fits your budget. Utilize the resources available to you, such as real estate agents and financing options, to navigate the home buying process with confidence.
If you’re ready to begin your home buying journey in Wolf Willow, check out the community here.
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