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10 WORST FIRST-TIME HOMEBUYER MISTAKES
10 WORST FIRST-TIME HOMEBUYER MISTAKES Are you gearing up to buy your first place? Arm yourself with these tips to get the most out of your purchase and avoid making 10 of the most costly mistakes that could put a hold on that sold sign. 1. Not Knowing What You Can Afford As we’ve all learned from the subprime mortgage mess, what the banks says you can afford and what you know you can afford or are comfortable with paying are not necessarily the same. If you don’t already have a budget, make a list of all your monthly expenses (excluding rent). Subtract this total from your take-home pay and you’ll know how much you can spend on your new home each month. 2. Skipping Mortgage Qualification What you think you can afford and what the bank is willing to lend you may not match up, so make sure to talk to your mortgage broker and get pre-approved for a loan before placing an offer on a home. Beware that even if you have been pre-approved for a mortgage, your loan can fall through at the last minute if you do something to alter your credit score, like finance a car purchase. 3. Failing to Consider Additional Expenses Once you’re a homeowner, you’ll have additional expenses on top of your monthly payment. You’ll be responsible for paying property taxes, insuring your home against disasters and making any repairs the house needs. If you’re purchasing a condo, you’ll have to pay maintenance costs monthly regardless of whether anything needs fixing because you’ll be part of a building strata. 4. Being Too Picky Go ahead and put everything you can think of on your new home wish list, but don’t be so inflexible that you end up continuing to rent for significantly longer than you really want to. First-time homebuyers often have to compromise on something because their funds are limited. 5. Lacking Vision Even if you can’t afford to replace the hideous wallpaper in the bathroom now, it might be worth it to live with the ugliness for a while in exchange for getting into a house you can afford. If the home meets your needs in terms of the big things that are difficult to change, such as location and size, don’t let physical imperfections turn you away. 6. Being Swept Away Minor upgrades and cosmetic fixes are inexpensive tricks that are a seller’s dream for playing on your emotions and eliciting a much higher price tag. If you’re on a budget, look for homes whose full potential have yet to be realized. First-time homebuyers should always look for a house they can add value to, as this ensures a bump in equity to help you up the property ladder. 7. Compromising on the Important Things Don’t get a two-bedroom home when you know you’re planning to have kids and will want three bedrooms. Don’t make a compromise that will be a major strain. 8. Neglecting to Inspect Before you close on the sale, you need to know what kind of shape the house is in. You don’t want to get stuck with a money pit or with the headache of performing a lot of unexpected repairs. 9. Not Choosing to Hire an Agent or Using the Seller's Agent Once you're seriously shopping for a home, don't walk into an open house without having an agent. Agents are held to the ethical rule that they must act in both the seller and the buyer parties' best interests. 10. Not Thinking About the Future It's impossible to perfectly predict the future of your chosen neighbourhood, but paying attention to the information that is available to you now can help you avoid unpleasant surprises down the road.
Canadian home sales edge down from December to January
According to statistics released today by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA), national home sales were down slightly in January 2017 on a month-over-month basis.
- National home sales declined 1.3% from December 2016 to January 2017
- Actual (not seasonally adjusted) activity in January was up 1.9% from a year earlier
- The number of newly listed homes dropped 6.7% from December 2016 to January 2017
- The MLSHome Price Index (HPI) in January was up 15.0% year-over-year (y-o-y)
- The national average sale price was little changed (+0.2%) y-o-y in January
Sales activity was down from the previous month in about half of all local markets, led by three of Canadas largest urban centres: the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), Greater Vancouver, and Montreal.
Actual (not seasonally adjusted) sales activity was up 1.9% compared to the same month last year. While sales were up from year-ago levels in about two-thirds of all local housing markets including in the GTA, Calgary, Edmonton, London and St Thomas, and Montreal, they were down significantly in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia.
The number of newly listed homes dropped 6.7% in January 2017, the second consecutive monthly decline. New listings were down in about two-thirds of all local markets, led by the GTA and environs across Vancouver Island.
With the monthly decline in new listings surpassing the decline in sales, the national sales-to-new listings ratio jumped to 67.7% in January compared to 64.0% in December and 60.2% in November.
The ratio was above 60% in about half of all local housing markets in January, the vast majority of which are located in British Columbia, in and around the GTA and across southwestern Ontario. A monthly decline in newly listed homes further tightened housing markets that were already in sellers market territory.
There were 4.6 months of inventory on a national basis at the end of January 2017 unchanged from December 2016 and a six-year low for the measure.
The imbalance between limited housing supply and robust demand in Ontarios Greater Golden Horseshoe region is without precedent (the region includes the GTA, Hamilton-Burlington, Oakville-Milton, Guelph, Kitchener-Waterloo, Cambridge, Brantford, the Niagara Region, Barrie and nearby cottage country). The number of months of inventory in January 2017 stood at or below one month in the GTA, Hamilton-Burlington, Oakville-Milton, Kitchener-Waterloo, Cambridge, Brantford and Guelph.
In the Fraser Valley and Greater Vancouver, prices have receded from their peaks posted in August 2016. That said, home prices in these regions nonetheless remain well above year-ago levels (+24.9% and +15.6% respectively).
Meanwhile, benchmark prices continue to climb in Victoria and elsewhere on Vancouver Island together with Greater Toronto, Oakville-Milton and Guelph. Year-over-year price gains in these five markets ranged from about 18% to 26% in January.
By comparison, home prices were down 2.9% y-o-y in Calgary and by 1.0% y-o-y in Saskatoon. Prices in these two markets now stand 5.9% and 4.3% below their respective peaks reached in 2015.
Home prices were up modestly from year-ago levels in Regina (+3.8%), Ottawa (+3.7%) and Greater Montreal (+3.1%). In Greater Moncton, home prices for the market overall held steady (-0.2%), reflecting an increase in townhouse row units prices (5.8%) that was offset by a decline in prices for one-storey single family homes (-1.0%).
The actual (not seasonally adjusted) national average price for homes sold in January 2017 was $470,253, almost unchanged (+0.2%) from where it stood one year earlier.
The national average price continues to be pulled upward by sales activity in Greater Vancouver and Greater Toronto, which remain two of Canadas tightest, most active and expensive housing markets.
That said, Greater Vancouvers share of national sales activity has diminished considerably over the past year, giving it less upward influence on the national average price. The average price is reduced by almost $120,000 to $351,998 if Greater Vancouver and Greater Toronto sales are excluded from calculations.
Canadian Housing Starts Trend Increased in January
The trend measure of housing starts in Canada was 199,834 units in January compared to 197,881 in December, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). The trend is a six-month moving average of the monthly seasonally adjusted annual rates (SAAR) of housing starts.
CMHC uses the trend measure as a complement to the monthly SAAR of housing starts to account for considerable swings in monthly estimates and obtain a more complete picture of the state of Canadas housing market. In some situations analyzing only SAAR data can be misleading, as they are largely driven by the multi-unit segment of the market which can vary significantly from one month to the next.
The standalone monthly SAAR for all areas in Canada was 207,408 units in January, up from 206,305 units in December. The SAAR of urban starts increased by 1.0per cent in January to 189,688 units. Multiple urban starts increased by 4.2per cent to 125,886 units in January and single-detached urban starts decreased by 4.6 per cent, to 63,802 units.
In January, the seasonally adjusted annual rate of urban starts increased in Ontario and Atlantic Canada, but decreased in British Columbia, the Prairies and Quebec.
Rural starts were estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 17,720 units.