First-timers: Are you ready to buy?

While interest rates remain low, there have been a few changes in recent months and some even bigger changes in recent years that have made purchasing a home tougher for first-time buyers. Prices across most of the country are on the rise and housing stock is low in many areas, creating a fast-paced, red-hot real estate market that is leaving some in the dust.

Here are three things you should consider before you start the hunt for your first home:

Can you afford it? Without a doubt, this is the most important question of all when planning the largest purchase of your life. In addition to mortgage payments, be sure to factor in all the added costs that homeowners face. Closing costs, property tax, monthly utility bills, home maintenance and repairs will add up quickly and with the new mortgage rules that went into effect last fall, getting pre-approved is tougher.

Is your down payment sufficient? While it’s ideal to put down 20 percent (to avoid paying mortgage insurance, which can tack an extra $50 to $100 per month onto your debt load) the law in Canada requires purchasers to pay, up front, at least five percent of the purchase price. If you’re having trouble coming up with this amount, talk to your lender or a financial planner for suggestions on saving money faster.

Is home ownership right for you, right now? This is a valid question for Millennials who are considering taking the leap into owning real estate. Buying a home is a major life event and, while owning real estate is always a wise investment, if you have a career that could include a transfer a year down the road or there’s a chance you may return to school to further your education, the timing might not be right. Location is another factor to consider. Do you foresee yourself in this town or city for a number of years? Buying and selling a home and moving are costly steps, so be sure you’ve found the right location to set down your roots.

With some thoughtful consideration, you will make the right choice. Having a trusted realtor on your side will always be a benefit, so take some time to find the professional who’s right for you!

Kimmé Myles
Matching her knowledge of Toronto's eclectic mix of downtown neighbourhoods and impassioned by her diverse mix of buyers and sellers, Kimmé is naturally motivated to create a positive and professional experience. Kimmé does her homework and knows her inventory. She is genuine, honest and a straight shooter. Nor is she afraid to think "outside the box" as she employs creative strategies to make dreams become reality. Born and raised in Toronto and coming from a successful fashion background in design and management, Kimmé could not have met a better match for her entrepreneurial skills than by working in Real Estate. Inspired by her father, well known Toronto clothier "Lou Myles", she learned from a very young age to work hard and strive for excellence. In a competitive industry where customer service is paramount, she has received numerous sales awards over a relatively short time in the business. Entrusted with the life choices of her clients, Kimmé is truly honoured to have the opportunity to serve and assist others. Licensed as a full time Sales Representative since 2005 with Royal Lepage Real Estate Services, Ltd., she is proud to be affiliated with the Johnston & Daniel (J&D) Division of Royal Lepage, Toronto's highly respected boutique brokerage and by far Royal Lepage's # 1 producing brokerage across the country.

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