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Five things you need to do if you're trying to buy your first home

Buying a home for the first time isn't easy. There are so many things to know and so many different places to start. Real Estate expert Simon Tham has the answers so you don't need to worry about making any big mistakes. 

Get a pre-approval

Start by talking with your bank or mortgage broker. Make sure you have your employment and salary info, since they’re going to pull credit reports. Having all the paper work done ahead of time will save you time and energy. 

Set budget and run numbers

Make sure you’re aware of all costs involved. Namely - the land transfer cost which is due on closing in addition to your down payment since it can’t be rolled into your mortgage. It's also good to know that first time buyers do get a rebate on the land transfer tax. You can also get a number of great  mortgage apps for your phone. They'll allow you to plug all the relevant numbers into a purchase scenario so you can see how much your monthly costs will be.

Create a wish list

Think about what you want out of your next home and where you might want to be. If you’re a couple, perhaps create separate lists and then compare and talk about compromises. Knowing what you want before you start looking will help the search go way easier, and quicker. 

Hire a Real Estate Agent

Go to your real estate agent with your wish list and talk to them about what is realistic within your budget. They'll  be able to bring you up to speed on what the market is like for buyers in the areas you’re looking at, make some suggestions on various options, and perhaps be able to point out some things you haven’t thought about yet.

Prioritize your criteria

The goal is to get as much of your wish list as possible but often there are a few things you will need to compromise on. As you start to become more familiar with how your budget matches up with the market in your area, think about which of your criteria are the most important to you and which can fall lower on the list. As you get out and see houses in person, the idea is that can decide what you value the most and you can narrow your search down.