Laura Healey, Personal Real Estate Corporation

Top 10 Tips for First Time Home Buyers

The key issue for first-time buyers is how much they have to put down and what price point is affordable. But there are other important considerations when you’re making that all-important first home purchase. 

 I love these 10 points as it's easy to get caught up in the excitement! 

  1. Have a wish list, but be flexible “You’re not likely going to get everything you want in your starter home. It’s okay to have a few ‘must-have’ items on your list, but you may have to compromise on others.”
  2. Clear away your debt. “Before committing to a house, you should try and pay off as much other debt as possible to lighten the load.” Carrying a house while you’re paying off school loans and credit cards is a lot to take on.
  3. Surround yourself with expertsWhen it comes to figuring out your finances or deciding on a home or a community, “rely on experts like mortgage lenders, sales and real estate agents and design specialists to help you navigate your way through purchasing your first home.”
  4. Think carefully about where you want to live. “You have to carefully weigh living in an urban center with getting more house in a smaller community. Spend time exploring the different developments and see what works for you.”
  5. Familiarize yourself with potential neighborhoodsLoving the house is one thing, but you have to love the community too. “Take time to get to know your future neighborhood: the area schools, the commute to work, public transportation, nearby amenities and infrastructure — construction plans for future growth and expansion.”
  6. Look past the pretty furnishings. Well-furnished or staged homes are set up to show the house to its best advantage. “Try and see the potential in every house when you’re looking.” Don’t get caught up in small things that can easily be changed — look at the big picture.
  7. Get an inspectionThis is necessary when you’re purchasing a home that’s pre-owned, especially if it’s an older home. “Without the protection of a warranty, you’ll need an expert to look at the house and give you an assessment of what you’re buying so there won’t be surprises down the road.”
  8. Be aware of closing costs“First-time buyers often don’t know about things like land transfer tax, legal fees, home inspection costs and appraisal fees, not to mention moving, insurance, furnishing, and utility set-up costs.” Ask your team of experts to help you budget for these expenses.
  9. Be creative about furniture purchases. “Social media is great for helping you find great gently-used items to help fill your home. You can also ask around and put out the word in case friends and family can help out with hand-me-down pieces.”
  10. Give yourself time. Once you’re moved in, allow for some time to settle in and live with what you have. “Take your time to get comfortable in your home before you start making changes or adding in too many furnishings. Sometimes a little time gives you a different perspective, were rushing into things can cause you to make mistakes.”
If you are a First Time Home Buyer or haven't bought a home in a while, I would recommend taking 45 minutes, sitting down with me and going over the process. Bring a list of questions! There are no dumb questions and together we can make a plan. 

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Tips For Moving! 

We don't move every day and often we can forget some of the small items that ensure our next move will go smoothly! Whether you are home owner or tenant the following Moving Day Tips can save you time and ensure your next moving goes smoothier. 

The following items can be done in advance! I often suggest you do them approx. 2 weeks in advance. 

  • Notify utilities - transfer or discontinue. BC Hydro, Fortis Natural Gas,  Internet (Shaw Cable or Telus)  
  • Make arrangements in advance for all services at your new home so that all utilities are turned on for you on the day you are moving in.
  • Notify Post Office of change of address. Forward your mail Online with Canada Post or in person at the main post office. 
  • Update your billing address for credit card, banking and online shopping 
  • Update your Drivers License address : This can now be often done on online. Click Here 
  • Notify doctor, dentist, schools and government offices 
  • Try to avoid moving on the 1st or 15th of the month. Moving on these days can be more costly. However sometimes you can't avoid it. 
  • If you still use a regular phone, don't disconnect it until after you have moved. This way we can still reach you for any last minute items. 
  • Book a moving company or Rent a moving van 

Packing is a great time to get rid of items you haven't use in a while. Clothes in good condition can be donated to Big Brothers Big Sisters, Furniture can be Donated to Hospice or sold. Often my clients sell or give away items using Facebook Market Place - Click here. You will need a facebook account to use it. 

Helpful Packing Tips 
  •  Try to not overload draws or boxes. 
  •  Discard flammable 
  •  Take your breakables or valuable with you. 
  •  Ensure liquids in bottles are securely fastened
  •  Pack the items you need for the 1st night in your home in a separate box eg. dishes, towels
  •  Don't leave trays loose eg. in the fridge.
  •  Empty all dresser draws and tape shut 
  •  Check your cabinets, attic, crawl space prior to moving day. 
  •  Number or name all of your boxes and furniture according to the rooms 
  •  Defrost your refrigerator the day before moving
  •  Any fixtures fastened to the wall, drapery tracks, etc. should not be taken.
  •  Pack a small tool box with you for the move. i.e. hammer, screwdriver, drill, picture hooks, nails and a flashlight 
Remember the more you plan and organize in advance, the easier moving day will be! 
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