Buying a home is a big deal. If you’re a first-time homebuyer, there are so many things to learn about homeownership that it can seem daunting. Rest assured, there are ways to buy a home without any issues. Before you start looking at properties in search of your dream house, there are five things you should know to make your home shopping experience a smart one. 

  1. Don’t settle on the first house you see:

    If the first home you visit on your house shopping tour seems like a dream, it may be too good to be true. No matter how beautiful the property is or how great the neighbourhood is, you should look at other homes before you commit. The home may seem like it’s in order but could end up being a fixer-upper. Homes like that cost more money than they’re worth and you’re looking to buy a house, not fix one up.

  2. Keep your debt at a manageable level:

    We all have credit cards and car payments but it’s best to keep revolving debt and loans at a level you can manage while you’re looking for a house. Right before you make a big purchase like a home, do not buy another vehicle or take on an extra credit card. You may become overwhelmed with debt and can increase your debt-to-income ratio. This is the percentage of your income that goes towards paying debt and lenders look at this when determining if you are a good candidate for a mortgage.

  3. Stay at the office:

    No matter how much you may dislike your job, you will need to put off the hunt for a new employer while you’re looking to buy a house. Lenders look for stability and require pay stubs and letters from your employer to show that you have income coming in to afford your mortgage. You don’t have to stay at a job you dislike forever just to buy a house but you should wait until after you’ve purchased your home and been approved for a mortgage.

  4. Remember the extras:

    Home buying comes with many extra costs that you will need to budget for. Besides your down payment, there’s closing costs, lawyer fees, land transfer tax (if applicable), etc. These costs can add up pretty quickly if you’re not careful, so make sure you have the funds available to take care of these extras.

  5. Meet with a mortgage broker:

    Unless you are royalty, you will need a mortgage to purchase your dream home. You can secure financing from your bank; however, this may not be the ideal product for you. Mortgage brokers will make sure you get the best mortgage rate and lending package because they know the ins and outs of the market. They also work with more than one type of lender and will match you with a lender that best understands your needs.

Follow these five keys to smart home shopping and you’ll find yourself signing the papers to your dream house in no time.