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FIRST TIME BUYER GUIDE

So you’re ready to buy your first home. Congratulations, you’re about to start on one of the most exciting journeys of your life! Since this is probably one of the biggest purchases of your life, it’s always good to have some help along the way, which is why we created this guide.

Read on for some helpful tips for buying your first home!

1. Decide What Kind of Home Is Right For You

Single-Family vs. Multi-Family - In Calgary right now, there are so many options to choose from. Within these options are two kinds of homes, single-family and multi-family. A multi-family home is described as a property that has more than one unit/family living in it (condo, apartment, etc). A single-family home is only one unit and thus has only one family living in it.

You can buy a single-family home with the benefits of a yard, a bit of privacy, and room to expand at a later date. Multi-family homes are some of the fastest growing category of homes in Calgary, especially for first-time home buyers. They provide the advantage of lower a cost-of-entry, convenient locations, and a compact community with activity centers, playgrounds, workout rooms, and more.

New vs. Used – Used homes provide you the advantage of a quick move-in, a well-established community and a known neighborhood. New homes also have numerous advantages: you have a new home. Everything is new, which helps you avoid the repairs and maintenance that usually come with a previously-owned home. Also, you can customize your home from the beginning and watch your home being built - a very exciting process! You’ll also get a warranty, which gives you that new home-buying peace of mind.

Keep in mind that there are legal costs added to the cost of a used home that are included in a new home. This can typically be about 1.5% of the price of your home.
Quick possession vs. building from the ground up – Typically when buying a new home, the process involves building from the ground up, which can take at least 7-9 months, but there are alternatives. Some builders, Truman included, offer “quick possession” homes, which can provide near-immediate move-in. Truman has an industry-leading selection of quick possession homes available in 30 – 90 days.

Location – The recent trend towards condos have provided many location options previously unavailable to homebuyers. Urban living has become trendy again, with close proximity to work, and downtown amenities.

If urban living is not your cup of tea, consider a more suburban environment, with greenbelts, recreation centres, and proximity to the mountains.
Carefully consider the price differences, as there can be wide price ranges depending on the neighborhood you choose.

2. Get Your Finances Ready

Make sure you have enough cash to make at least a 5% down payment (see our unique method for saving for your down payment here). You also want to get pre-approved to buy a home with a reputable mortgage company. There’s nothing like a mortgage commitment letter that can give you the confidence to make an offer on-the-spot when you find the ideal home.

You must also consider mortgage insurance, which can run you from 0.5% to 3.5% of the mortgage value in premiums, however, if you have a 20% down payment, mortgage insurance is not required.

Finally, take into consideration various non-mortgage fees, such as the appraisal fee and the home inspection fee. Usually, the cost of an appraisal ranges from $250 to $350. Some lenders will pay for the appraisal fees to get the business.

Other fees to consider: the Estoppel certificate fee, land transfer tax, and possible other legal fees.

3. The Home Offer

You found the house of your dreams, and now it’s time to make the offer.
Prepare for Canada lists out six steps for making an offer. These include:

  • Property details
  • Transaction details
  • The closing date
  • A statement of transfer of insurance date
  • Additional terms
  • Conditions.

To get all the details on what is entailed in your home offer check out the complete article here.

4. The Mortgage Negotiation Process

Ok, you made the offer on your home and it’s time to negotiate the mortgage. There are many things to consider when negotiating your mortgage other than just negotiating the lowest rate.

In the Globe and Mail’s article: The ultimate mortgage checklist: How to get the best possible deal, they lay out 63 steps to navigating the best deal. Here are a few stand out items:

  • Did you get the best possible rate? Will they hold the rate for you while you exhaust all other possibilities? How long will they hold the rate for you?
  • If you want to pay extra to bring the payment time down from 30 years to something like 20 or 15 years, can you pay them without penalty? How much can you increase your ongoing payments each year?
  • Will there be any penalties if you break your mortgage? Can you port your mortgage to a new property to avoid penalties?
  • Are there any restrictions to refinancing? Can you extend your mortgage term any time without penalty, and at fully discounted rates?

To get the whole list, click here.

5. Move In To Your New Home

Congratulations, you’ve just bought your first home! Now it’s time to move in. See the handy Truman Moving Guide & Checklist to help you with the moving process.

Now you’re ready to invite all your friends and family over for a house-warming party!
So if you’re ready to start looking for your new home, consider looking to Truman and our commitment to exceptional quality and craftsmanship!

Click here to get started!

Live Truman. Live better.