Buying a house for the first time can be overwhelming to say the least. If you’re wondering what neighbourhood to go with, what you can afford, or even how to just get started on the process, let us take some stress off your hands! We’ve teamed up with Hopewell Residential to give you 7 tips to ensure the home you end up with is everything you dreamed of.
Hopewell Residential is a five-time Developer of the Year award winner, so their expertise is second-to-none in Calgary and beyond. Who better to learn home-buying tips from than the homebuilders themselves?
Create a checklist of needs & wants
This is a biggie. When you’re buying your very first home, you’ll want to weigh your needs vs. your wants. Ensuring you have what you love in your first home is a big, big deal.
What should you do? Easy. Set up a list of needs and a list of wants, but be pretty strict with yourself, and make sure you take your lifestyle into consideration. With the increase in remote work over the past year, it’s important to keep in mind that a home office or flex room might just be the key to maximizing at home happiness. Especially if you’re thinking you might be expanding your family later on, spare rooms and extra space is key (but more on that later!).
Or for instance, you might need a home in an area with a high walkability score, but you want to be close to certain amenities. Set yourself up with the right level of compromise and the number of homes that actually fit your ‘perfect’ idea will skyrocket.
Don’t just buy for the present
This isn’t our parent’s real estate market, folks. Housing prices across the country have been on a pretty solid upward trend, and Calgary is no exception. Yes, now’s a great time to buy, but prices continue to increase – which is good news for your home’s future value.
With that in mind, your first home can absolutely be a starter. You don’t have to break the bank or become house poor just to flex your new digs for the sake of flexing them. Instead, consider what that house will mean to you in 5, 10, or even 20 years. Is it in a location where the property value will rise and you’ll be able to treat it as an investment? Better yet, is it in a community you love that you can set roots in? With communities like Mahogany, you have the ability to set roots and move-up eventually as priorities change, all without leaving the amenities you’ve grown to love. Seriously, you can experience the full cycle of first-time buying, moving up, and downsizing, all in one lakefront community.
Planning for the future is never a bad idea, folks.
Find the right neighbourhood
This one is easy on paper but not in real life. Calgary has a lot of fantastic neighbourhoods, but there is also plenty of variety when it comes to what each one has to offer. Some places like Mahogany offer just about everything you could want in a community. With Calgary’s largest lake, 22 kms of walking trails, natural wetlands, skating rinks, an urban village, and more, Hopewell’s lakefront community of Mahogany really does have a place (and an amenity) for everyone.
Things like walkability, proximity to schools, parks, and amenities, along with just how community-oriented the current residents are, are all huge things to take into consideration.
Decide on your buying process
2020 was rough, but at least it taught us that most things can be done virtually! Seriously though, you don’t even need a realtor to buy a home. There are online platforms like Purplebricks and Bode if you want to handle the process yourself, but that means you’d have to, well, do it yourself. If you’re like us, you’d probably need a helping hand. And guess what? That’s pretty easy.
Yep, just walk into any show home and you’ll find knowledgeable staff to help you buy, build, and move into your new home. Plus, builders all have partnerships with different mortgage lenders, banks, moving companies, and more- so you don’t have to do a lot of legwork to figure all this stuff out if you’re a first-time buyer.
Shop Online (No, seriously)
Checking out real estate online is just about the easiest way for you to find out what you like, what you don’t like, and what’s actually available on the Calgary market. You can also get access to a ton of information that you wouldn’t have thought would be available online! You can actually find floor plans, features, options, and even decor on builder’s sites, so that you know exactly what you’re looking for when you talk to them in person.
Get yourself some financing solutions
So you have a budget in your mind, but do you actually know what you can afford? Buying a home is one of the biggest purchases you’ll make in your lifetime, so getting your finances in order is a major step. However, this can be a seriously tricky process to navigate on your own. If you’ve already picked out a builder, take advantage of their network of brokers and lenders.
For example, Hopewell has handy mortgage tools and a network of broker partners to help you along and take the stress out of financing a new home. You can even save thousands by working directly with your builder on financing solutions and mortgage pre-approval- after all, this is what they do for a living!
Booking your movers ahead of time
This is a sneaky one! You may have found the perfect spot, are ready to get out of your current home, and have been packing stuff up…but did you call the movers?
Oftentimes, moving companies can be booked for weeks if not months in advance. So, do yourself a favour and set up everything you need for your moving day ahead of time. And if you’re working with a builder, they often have resources readily available to help you out. Hopewell partners with Virtuo Concierge to help coordinate the logistics, timelines, and details of your move. They’ll keep your moving-day plans stress-free, and save your time and money along the way.
See? Buying your first home here in Calgary doesn’t have to be hard, but there is a lot to keep in mind! And with local companies like Hopewell developing some of the most incredible neighbourhoods you can imagine, finding the right spot in Calgary is a whole lot of fun.