Hi Glitter Babes!
It’s probably been noticeable lately that I haven’t been posting as much and being as active on social media. Well, that’s because I’ve been finalizing the details on the purchase of my first home! It’s been a long and stressful few months of putting in offers on houses and almost getting one but the deal fell through.. but now all of that is finally behind me! I’ve learned so much from this journey and wanted to share my experiences and tips to anyone who is beginning this journey themselves. Here are my top tips for saving up & buying your first house!
- Save as early as you can and as much as you can: As a beauty blogger, it’s been really hard to save any kind of money. But if you can put anything aside, and it doesn’t matter how big or little it is, do it. Thinking back on when I started thinking about buying a house, it would have been a good idea to open up a Tax-Free Savings Account and add whatever I could from my paychecks to it. As long as you have a spot to put that money where you won’t be able to touch it will really help you out in the long run.
- Pay off as much as you can as soon as you can: Don’t be afraid of looking at your bank account. Whatever harsh wake up call is in there to greet you needs to be faced at some point if you’re serious about buying a house. I’ve lived through not being able to face the reality of my finances and wish I would’ve tried sooner to pay things off instead of waiting until I did.
- Look into the First Home Buyer’s Plan & RRSP’s: The first-time home buyer’s plan helped us immensely in helping us with a down payment. If you’re a first-time buyer, find out if your employment is providing you with an RRSP plan and see how much has accumulated towards it. A new home owner can contribute up to $25000 from the RRSP’s to their down payment and a combined total of $50000 if your spouse has that amount in their RRSP’s as well.
- Get the scoop on your financial background: Before you approach a bank or mortgage broker, find out what your credit is looking like first. There’s no point in looking into getting pre-approved if your credit is in bad shape. Just follow tip #2 and keep putting down as much as you can on your debts (above the minimum payment required is best) and then get an update a few months later so the changes will be reflected in your credit score.
- Getting a Mortgage through the bank or a broker?: Based on my experiences, I prefer working with a mortgage broker. It was only last year that I found out about them. They are more candid with you and will give you the scoop on your chances of getting pre-approved, how your finances are looking and what mortgage would work best for you and what you’re looking for. Browse around and do some research and find out who would work best for getting you the mortgage you’re looking for.
- Look around for incentives: I’m not repping this company or anything, but I decided to give Zoocasa a shot after hearing about their rebate offer if you buy a house through one of their recommended agents. I connected with one of the agents I found on there and found the house I bought through her and am looking forward to receiving the rebate, which will ultimately go to some kind of house expense, of course. But it’s things like that that will greatly help you out financially, especially if this is your first home, since you won’t know what to fully expect at first. Anything helps right?!
- Don’t get your hopes up: The market is very competitive so prepare yourself for the strong possibility that you might lose out on a house you were hoping to get. When your buying agent asks you what your best offer is, make sure it is a strong offer but also one you’re comfortable with. Don’t go above and beyond what you can afford just because you really love the house and all of the extras it comes with. If your best doesn’t get chosen, then it wasn’t meant to be. I’ve felt hopeless at times during the search that the perfect first house for us would take forever to come around but, believe me, it will and you will forget about everything before it!
- Prepare for the unexpected: As first home buyers, Mike and I weren’t super knowledgeable of what to expect once the offer on our first house was accepted. We had quite a frantic week locking down the deposit required to “reserve” the house and making sure all other expenses were available during that 5-day conditional sale period. My best advice if you’re in the same boat and not sure of what to expect is, #1 make sure you have money in your account and #2 whatever resources you’re taking funds from are immediately accessible. We learned this the hard way by having no choice but to open up a short-term loan until our RRSP withdrawal came through. Things don’t happen as quickly as they’re made out to be so make sure you stay ahead of all of it and be prepared for any possible issues.
I hope this has helped any of you guys who are planning on buying a house soon or thinking about it! All of my tips are based on my experience with it but if you have any close friends who have a financial advising background, then I suggest you definitely have a chat with them as well. I’ve started packing up things since we get the keys to our house on May 15th but, fortunately have a month and a half to get the new house prepped, all of our stuff moved over and organized. I can’t wait to share pictures as well as my tips for a productive and efficient move!
Do you have any big plans coming up?! Share yours in the comments below!