Are you finally ready to buy your first home? Have you started browsing real estate websites to find the hidden gem?

You have been dreaming about your perfect home: a newly renovated property located downtown with four bedrooms and a spacious backyard, walking distance to all commodities including great schools. All of that for a really good price!

Unfortunately, in today’s market, it’s just not the reality! Why are you wondering? Interest rates are up and the new mortgage laws make it even more difficult for first-time buyers to take on home ownership. Finding a home that fits your specific criteria is just not as easy as it seems. Believe me, I have experienced it with some of my clients.

As a first-time home buyer, you must be willing to compromise. Let’s get back to that 4-bedroom paradise you were dreaming about. Well, what if I told you that for the price you were willing to pay, you can only find a two-bedroom condo with no backyard, located at the outskirts of the city. And on top of that, it needs some repairs!

Now you understand why people choose to leave the city and move to the suburbs, an hour away from downtown, in order to get their beautifully renovated house with five bedrooms, a backyard with a pool and a school where their kids could walk to every day. Compromise!

It is life-changing for first-time home buyers when they realize this, because most of the time they have already started the home-buying process.

If you are currently on the market to buy your first home, you will be faced with many tough decisions. This is why, I have prepared a list of tips to help you make the right ones for you:

#1 Tour the area

If you are looking to move to a new neighborhood, take some time to tour the area. Are there parks nearby, schools, daycare centers, medical clinics, grocery and specialty stores? Does the city or borough organize special activities? Does it feel safe for the kids? What about public transportation? And, most importantly, can you picture yourself living there?

Deciding to move to the suburbs when you have lived downtown all your life, can be quite a change! And the opposite is true.

#2 Get a sense of space

If you have children but you want to live near the action – in the city center, well, I advise you to rent an AIRB&B space in the area you are targeting for a couple nights. You can find one of about 730 square foot in order to give you an idea if you could live in that kind of space or not. Does this space fit with your lifestyle and your long-term projects? You also need to ask yourself whether your kids could share a room or not.

#3 Renovation costs

Whether you choose to buy a newly renovated home or a less modern property, you must consider future renovation costs. Does the kitchen need work? Does the bathroom need some upgrades? Always remember to budget for these costs when buying your first home.

#4 Commuting time

This is a big one. Take the time to drive or ride the metro (or bus), or whatever means of transportation you plan on using to go to work, at least once in the morning and once in the evening. This will give you a good idea of how much traffic to except on your way to work and back every day.

#5 Take your time

Be patient. Don’t rush into buying your first home. Take your time to weight all of your options and make sure that you are well accompanied in this process! Your real estate broker can help you figure out which property best suits your needs.

If you have any questions about the home-buying process or if you need a professional to guide you through your first-time acquisition, I’ll be glad to counsel you.


Until next time, take care!

Claudia Lefebvre