Deciding when is the right time to purchase a home requires some time for reflection and some planning. Historically, the Metro Van market has followed a cyclical cycle with high periods around spring and fall and low periods during the holidays and summer periods. Although timing can play a part in getting the best price possible, it is becoming more and more challenging to determine when the high and low periods will actually begin, if at all.
The truth is, no one can predict the future and no one knows for sure what will happen to the real estate market. What you should do is look towards what your needs are. If you need more space for your growing family, taking certain action today is almost always better than waiting for a hypothetical tomorrow. If you can’t afford the rising property taxes for your home today, then talking to an agent about your downsizing options now could possibly save you thousands over the next few years. You need to do what is right for you and your unique situation.
Here are some questions you should ask yourself and your family.
What is the reason you are thinking of buying a home?
The reasons for this vary widely from the needs of a growing family to investment opportunities and revenue generation. Brainstorm the reasons behind your choice and write them down.
Where should you buy?
Again, this depends on what your goals are for home ownership. Do you need a family oriented neighborhood with good schools and easy access to outdoor space? Do you need a small home for yourself which is close to work and major transit lines? Are you looking to add to your investment portfolio by purchasing real estate? After you have a good idea of the infrastructure and amenities you need to be close to, you can start thinking about what areas will provide you the best combination.
What can you afford?
From my experience, people tend to underestimate the cost of home ownership. Unlike renting, the expenses are not limited to your monthly rent and utility bills. Speaking to a mortgage specialist and getting pre-approved BEFORE you start looking at homes can be a great help. In addition to getting pre-approved, consider the following:
- If you need financing, how much of a down payment can you afford?
- Do you have any additional debt such as a car loan or student loans?
- Are you planning on making any other significant purchases that will affect your credit rating?
- If you are buying a strata home, have you considered the maintenance fee and the possibility of an increase in the future?
- Can you afford the yearly property tax for the type of home you’d like to purchase?
- Have you factored-in up-keep and home improvements? This is less of an issue with a strata home, but detached homes have to be maintained depending on the age and condition of the home. Roof, plumbing, electrical, landscaping and windows need to be considered.
How long do you expect to own the home?
This is an important consideration that is sometimes overlooked. If you plan to hold onto the home for only a couple of years, you may end up losing money due to Realtor fees and the simple fact that the home hasn’t had sufficient time to appreciate in value.
What type of home do you need?
This clearly depends on your individual or family needs. If you are buying because your family needs more space, then a townhouse, duplex or single family home might be the right choice for you. If you are looking for rental income and appreciation, then depending on your budget, having a multi-suite single family home might be the best route.
These are some of the important things you need to think about. The next step is to contact me and arrange for a no-obligation meeting. I have developed an exclusive Buyer Needs Assessment that will help me pinpoint the exact types of properties you are looking for.