More than ever, first-time homebuyers are considering housing affordability. “We want consumers to be comfortable with the financial responsibilities of owning a home, so it’s important to determine what you can afford in order to maintain a reasonable lifestyle once you’ve made the leap,” says Phil Soper, president of Royal LePage Canada. As such, Soper offers these guidelines to help you assess if you’re ready for homeownership:
1. Determine your net worth. Take your assets (earnings, investments, savings, vehicles and other items you own) and subtract your liabilities (car loans, lines of credit, overdrafts and credit cards). A positive number is a good sign that you may be ready to purchase your first home.
2. Hire a real estate agent. Top agents have extensive experience and demonstrate dedication and commitment to helping their clients. Ask your family and friends for a referral, or explore real estate sites such as www.royallepage.ca to read profiles on agents, including their areas of expertise and languages spoken. A real estate agent will have knowledge of accurate, real-time market data to leverage your negotiating position, as well as access to properties often even before they are listed.
3. Make a list of your basic needs. Is it important to you to be close to transit and amenities? Do you intend to grow your family or do you have a need for extra space? Determine the factors essential to you in a home and which ones you may be able to live without. This will help you narrow your search and choose a home that is within your financial means.