Everybody remembers the exact details of their first home purchase as well as the mixed emotions of excitement and fear that were part of the decision-making process.
During the hot summer of 1988, my wife and I scraped together the deposit on our first home. Thinking back to that purchase, my total research strategy consisted of looking in the newspaper, finding builders with homes in my price range, and then driving all over the GTA to add another brochure to the stack in the back seat.
Today’s first-time buyers are a different breed. They are research-savvy and have multiple tools at their disposal to drill down on the home of their dreams before they jump in the car to check it out.
If you can try to imagine the home-buying process without the Internet, it consisted of Saturdays and Sundays driving to sales offices only to find out that the price or product was simply not suitable to your taste or budget. Today, buyers have the luxury of doing their legwork online, via real estate search engines, builder websites and various real estate blogs.
This rich information environment is particularly helpful when it comes to mortgage financing as most major financial institutions post their rates and features while organizations like Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation or Genworth Financial offer home-buying guides and mortgage calculators that help you determine how much you can afford before you get your heart set on the wrong home.
Homebuyers have never had it so good in terms of resources and information available. But the final stage of the process always involves a visit to the sales office, and that’s where a lot of impulsive decisions can be made. It’s natural to get really excited when you think you have found the home of your dreams, but be sure you’ve asked all the right questions, garnered all the details and that you’re comparing apples with apples between different builders.
Don’t let analysis lead to paralysis, but by the same token, don’t buy the first home or condo you see unless you have satisfied yourself through advance research that you are getting great value.
You’ll likely know the house of your dreams when you see it, and once you sign on the dotted line, you will never look back!
– Stephen Dupuis is president and CEO of the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD). He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.