When you decide to buy your first property, you may want to move quickly. However, it is absolutely necessary to avoid certain mistakes, so as not to regret your choice later. Here are the five most important mistakes to avoid.
Visiting only one property
Almost every real estate agent will tell you that you don't decide to buy a property until you've visited at least three of them. It is recommended you do so even if the first one ticks all the boxes and fits perfectly with your criteria!
Having the opportunity to compare properties means being able to objectively identify the strengths and weaknesses of your "favorite" property. This will confirm your choice or, on the contrary, encourage you to be cautious (or even cause you to change your mind)!
Our advice? In your list of properties to visit, include at least one property for which you will not seriously consider as a potential – your reference. This will help you develop your critical thinking skills and/or see if your criteria are likely to change or not.
In addition, always bring a friend or relative with you on your visits. An outside eye helps to make good decisions, and to spot what is, or is not going well in an apartment or house.
Make only one visit before making an offer to purchase
This is arguably the biggest mistake made by many first-time homebuyers. A property should be visited more than once:
Your first visit should help you get acquainted with the place. It allows you to discover each room, the organization of the property, its qualities and defects. It is the one that should trigger, or not, the desire to position oneself as a potential buyer for the apartment or a house.
The second visit should be made at a different time, and on another day of the week, in order to see the property from a new perspective (on weekends for example, or in the evening). During this visit, look for the work that must be done, what you don't like about the decore, the organization of the accommodation, etc. This moment should also allow you to imagine yourself living in this property.
The third tour is more down to earth. It will essentially consist of confirming your crush on the property. Consider elements such as energy consumption, any charges or fees, the potential of the property and cost of renovations, etc. This is also the time to think about how it would look with your possessions, and to imagine your furniture in the place. And, by the way, negotiate the price!
Good to know
Not everyone is a handyman. If the property you want to buy has some work to do, make sure you are accompanied by a craftsman. It will help you calculate the cost of the planned renovations, and will tell you what you can and cannot do on your own.
Not considering the environment of the property
An apartment can be perfect, meet all your criteria, but be a real hell in terms of daily life. Before making an offer to purchase, study the environment of the property:
Who are the neighbors? Families with children, seniors, couples, students? The answer to this question will help you determine if your pace of life is amenable with those who are in the same building or neighborhood.
Where are the public transport and/or main roads? A first property is a home that is accessible, for both oneself as well as for those who wish to visit you.
What are the major projects in the neighbourhood? Go to the town hall to find out more about the future of the streets around the property you are interested in. The urban planning department must be able to show you any future construction plans.
If applicable; what is the condition of the condominium? Is it necessary to plan major work, such as a refurbishment of the common areas or a restoration of the façade?
Don't think about the budget after the real estate transaction
There are many costs involved in signing the final deed of sale: notary fees, moving, buying new furniture, etc. And after that, it's not (really) over as your new life will generate different, even additional expenses, with the payment of condominium fees, in the case of an apartment, for example. Not to mention the need to build up security savings, which can be used in the event of some hard luck (a washing machine to be changed, a window to be replaced, etc.)
Before you even make a proposal, get out your calculator. And check if the planned purchase (and the monthly mortgage payments that come with it) leaves you with enough money to live on so that you don't look at your bank account every morning with a lump in your stomach.
Not considering the resale value
Seven years is, on average, the length of time a first property is kept before a resale. It is important to think about the resale of your future home, even before you own it! So ask yourself the following questions:
Will I be able to resell it at least the same price?
Does it have any defects that will need to be corrected before it can be put back on the market?
Can it appeal to many people, or is it a so-called "unique" property?
Here’s a tip: Find out when the property you are going to buy was put on the real estate market. If, for example, it has been waiting seven months to find a buyer, consider that it will take you that long to resell it. Is this a length of time you are willing to accept?