happy_ownersYou think that you might be ready to take the big leap off the diving board of renting into the pool of home ownership. Congratulations.  After the excitement wears off you’re probably asking yourself, “What should I do next?”  There are no shortage of opinions and advice out there from family, friends and co-workers about what you should and shouldn’t be doing, so many that it can be overwhelming.

Here are 5 things you should consider and reflect on before you plunge into the deep end of searching for your first home:

  1. Take a deep dive into your finances

Look at what you are earning, saving and spending each month.  Also examine where you are spending your money.  There are a number of money wasting we are all guilty of and sometimes it just takes keeping track for a few months to reign in any impulse purchases.  There are a number of Excel Spreadsheets you can download for free to get started.  Consider your work life balance and where and how you want to spend discretionary funds.  If you consider yourself a gym rat, perhaps you can forgo the monthly membership fee in favour of moving into a condo with a gym and a pool, or maybe a new location can help you save some money on transportation, but more on that later.

  1. Think of your ideal dream home…then dial it back

It would be wonderful to move into your ideal house with a pool and a hot tub and a spiral staircase that is conveniently located within walking distance of your favourite pub and work, but that isn’t usually reality.  Think about what will go on your “must have” list so you can determine any potential deal breakers in your hunt.  Do you need one parking space or two?  Do you need storage space for your snowboard equipment or is a specific location or closet space going to be a big factor in your search.  Write it down, keep copies, you’re going to need this list later.

  1. Back to the dream house

This is where you write down your “nice to haves” whether it’s onsite laundry, multiple bathrooms or even a walk in closet.  These are things that would impress you in a potential home, but not make or break any potential offers.

  1. Keep an open mind

You may end up exploring neighbourhoods you have never been to or get a chance to visit a fantastic loft when you thought you were really more of a townhouse person.  The more places you visit the better idea you’ll have of what you do want.

  1. Get ready to get learning

There are a lot of things that you are going to need to learn about. The more you focus on building this knowledge and hiring the right professionals to guide you, the more confidence you can have that you’ll end up in a place you’re proud to call home.