Buying a home is one of the biggest decisions you’ll ever make. Especially when it’s your first home. At StreetSide, we appreciate how important this milestone event is, and hope to make the process as smooth as possible for you.

While our Sales Team is always happy to answer questions, we’ve also listed out a checklist below that will help you get started on your home-buying journey.

STEP 1: Do you want your own home?

Did you answer with a resounding, YES? That’s a great start.

STEP 2: Take stock of your financial situation

Owning a home is a financial commitment that must be approached realistically. Questions to ask yourself include: Do I have enough savings for a down payment? Can I afford mortgage payments? Do I have enough saved / earn enough for other costs associated with buying and maintaining a home (closing costs, property taxes, strata fees, etc)? How can I save more money for a down payment? What is my current debt load?

Speak with a financial advisor at your bank or other institution who can explain your financial landscape and help you plan for a home. If you don’t already have a down payment saved, you may need to tweak your spending habits to save faster.

Make a spreadsheet of your income and expenses or download a money managing app or software to help you keep track.

STEP 3: What can you afford?

This step goes hand-in-hand with the last. Consider your ideal neighbourhood and determine the kind of home you can afford to buy. Or switch those two around: imagine your ideal home and which neighbourhood you can afford. This is an exciting stage, when you can dream of what’s possible. You may be surprised at what your well-earned down payment will grant you. You could also discover a beautiful new community that’s perfect for you.

STEP 4: See what’s out there

Once you’ve assessed your finances and your goals, take a peek at the market. You can easily do an initial glimpse without a realtor – the internet makes everything easy. Even if you’ve determined you need a bit more time to save, it’s a great idea to keep an eye on the current state of the marketplace.

STEP 5: Financing

This is a big step. Now that you’re ready to dive in to homeownership, you need to discuss your financing options with a mortgage lender and determine if you’re eligible for pre-approval.

Read what Mortgage Advisor Rebecca Awram has to say about mortgages in 2018.

STEP 6: Find your home

It’s time to start the search! Once you’ve received the go-ahead from a mortgage professional, you can seriously hunt for your new home. Things to consider: neighbourhood, lifestyle, size requirements, and the features you can’t live without. Always think about the near future, as well as what you need right now. Other questions to ask: Will you likely need a larger home in the next year or two? Do you need to commute to work? If so, will you take transit or drive?

Register for new projects or meet with realtors. Discover what works best for you.

STEP 7: Make an offer

Congratulations! You’ve found a home that fits your criteria. While your realtor or lawyer will help to walk you through the offer document, be sure to pay attention to the closing date and any conditions that must be met.

STEP 8: You’re a homeowner

Another reason to celebrate! Whether it’s your first, second, or third home, it’s special to hold a new set of keys in hand. Now the really fun part: decorating.

CMHC has put together a fantastic in-depth document that outlines home-buying costs, mortgage language, the offering process, etc.