As a 30-something Realtor®, I work with quite a few first-time home buyers. I would say about 70% of my business comes from young professionals or new families just starting out. The more time I spend with new home buyers, the more I realize there are quite a few things that people just don’t know. So I took it upon myself to compile a list of answers to the top 5 questions new home buyers ask me.
1. How Much Does it Cost to Go Through a Realtor®?
This is one of my favourite questions I get from clients. Mainly because I get to be the hero when I tell them that I get paid by the seller so the cost to them is $0! Best free service ever, am I right? There are some rare occasions that a buyer would pay a real estate agent, but that’s something for another blog. From my experience to date I’ve never collected a commission from a buyer.
2. I Know I Want to Buy Something… What’s Next?
YAY! Knowing that you want to become a homeowner is a very exciting thing. Now what? Here’s a basic list this is not exclusive, but a great place to start.
Talk to a mortgage broker/bank. You need to find out how much you are approved for. There is no point in looking for a house if you don’t know what you can afford. There are so many variables that come into play here and talking to a trained professional should be your first step.
Find a good lawyer. You want to shop around and find one that suits your needs sooner rather than later. The last thing you need is to be scrambling around to find a lawyer last minute. Don’t add more stress for yourself.
Talk to a real estate agent. In the day of digital everything, most consumers start looking for a home online.; approximately 80% of people start their search at realtor.ca. This is fine in the beginning “dream” stages, but once you are serious, you want to have someone working for you and in your best interest. A Realtor® has many tools that you don’t have access to that will help you find your home faster.
3. What Options Are Available for Me if I Don’t Have That 5% Saved Just Yet?
As a first time home buyer, there are quite a few options available to you to help you purchase a home. One of the big ones is the Home Buyers Plan which gives you the ability to take out a loan against your Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) to help pay for the down payment on your home. This program is from the government that allows you to withdraw up to $25,000 in a calendar year from your RRSPs to buy or build a qualifying home for yourself.
4. Why Is Guelph so Expensive Compared to Other Cities in This Area?
Guelph has a lot of great things to offer- I could write a whole article on what I love about Guelph… but again, that’s for another blog. Here are some key points as to what keeps our housing prices stable.
We are a university city. The University of Guelph has approximately 20,500 students, and those students have disposable income that help local businesses. Additionally, with students, comes student housing, and with student housing comes investors. We see a big demand for student housing by investors or the parents of students looking to buy.
The government of Canada found its home here in Guelph. Take a drive down Stone Road and you will see the massive campus of government buildings.
We have a strong agriculture community. We are also home to many farms and food processing plants.
Last but not least, our proximity to Toronto. Guelph is right off of the 401, so we are seeing more people leaving the big city to buy more affordable housing in Guelph.
In short, with a strong economy comes a strong real estate market.
5. What area in Guelph will I see the most return on my investment?
This is a question I get a lot, and to be honest my answer is… I don’t have a crystal ball (though I really wish I did!), so this is strictly my opinion.
Looking at Guelph over the next few years, my bet is on the East End; it has a lot of great features. You’re only 10 minutes from Downtown Guelph. You have access to a lot of great trails and parks. You’re only a 20 minute drive from Guelph Lake. Plus, if you work in Toronto, you can easily commute from the East End using Brock Road. With all of the new builds and planned amenities in the coming years, I see this area becoming a seriously popular buy.
Again, this is just my opinion. In the end, your best investment is where you see yourself being happy. There is no point in living in the East End if you prefer Downtown Guelph, or don’t love the house. So at the end of the day it’s about making sure you are buying something you will enjoy for years to come. Real estate is a pretty safe investment in Guelph, so being happy should be your number-one priority!
I hope this helps some of you first-time home buyers, or even some people who are already home owners. Check out my in-depth guide for firs-time home buyers in Guelph right here to see your next steps!