Home buying in Edmonton has become a lot more challenging over the past 18 months or so. The combination of the change in our economy as well as rising interest rates and federal guideline changes to mortgages have caused many house hunters in Edmonton to reconsider the type of home they are purchasing. Whether it is a small apartment for revenue income, a first-time home purchase for a young couple or family, or a retirement property with low maintenance, home buyers are looking at their purchase differently today. However, there are some things that stay true in the home-buying process no matter what the market is or the situation of the buyer.
There are three timeless tips that will help you buy smarter today and in the future.
1. Make sure that your purchase makes sense both today and in the future.
Now let's not be naive, nobody knows where they're going to be in 5 or 10 or 20 years from now. But doing some mid-range planning for the future can really help dictate the type of property that you will need to buy. I always suggest that you should be comfortable with the size of the home and the area for a minimum of three to five years as well as today. If it works out for a longer period of time than that, great. You don't want to run into a situation where 12 or 15 months down the road you feel the desire to move again. Not only would this mean packing up and doing the move again but you could potentially lose thousands or tens of thousands of dollars because the market has remained status quo or worse, decreased slightly.
2. Make sure that you use an experienced, qualified mortgage broker.
I can't stress this one enough! Small changes and rates, repayment options, or buyer penalties can cost you thousands of dollars. Having an independent mortgage broker, and not the mortgage broker at your local branch, will allow you to have access to a greater number of possible mortgage products. They work to find a product that fits your situation better than what you would have got with your singular product at your local branch. And you know what? If it turns out that your local branch has the best rating terms then your independent mortgage broker will let you know that and you've lost nothing because they do not charge buyers for their services.
3. Buy well below your means.
Most people will go in and ask for what they are qualified for financially based on their down payment, their income, and their debt servicing ratio. But there's a lot more common sense approach to doing it as well. When we talk about purchasing a property, we're talking about hundreds of thousands of dollars, and the size of the purchase can be overwhelming. I always say that you should have a monthly payment that you are comfortable with. This payment should include taxes, interest and principal but should not include maintenance or upgrades to the home. Those can be done in a separate budget line.
One more thing...
Being educated is the most important aspect to being comfortable with the home you decide to buy. So whether it's a new downtown Edmonton condo near Ice District or a home in Summerside or Allard, make sure you have the right information to make your decision!