A common question among many is, “How do I know if I am ready to get into the market?” The first and most obvious answer is, when you are financially ready. So how do you determine if you are financially ready or not? CMHC recommends that your monthly housing costs should be no more than 32% of your average gross (pre-tax) monthly income. Keep in mind, on top of your mortgage payments, you will also have insurance, property taxes, and utility bills. Additionally, you will also need a down payment. A down payment is the amount of money that you put towards the purchase of a home. You’ll want to plan on saving about 5%-20% of the purchase price. For example, if you’re buying a home for $450,000, you’ll need to save up 5% which is $22,500. If you’re buying a home for $700,000, you’ll calculate 5% for the first $500,000, and 10% of the remaining balance to find that you’ll need to save $45,000.
Once you have figured out that you are financially ready, find out when the right time is. Some factors that may have you looking for a home sooner than later could be that your rental lease is up, job relocation, or an addition to your family. If you are in no rush, a deciding factor may be the market, interest rates, or simply waiting for the right home to come up.
If you're waiting for the right time in the market, Winter may be the time for you. There tends to be a lower average list price and less competition. However, there aren't as many options as there are in the Spring. So it really depends on if you’re looking for a fair deal or your dream home.
Finally, are you ready for the responsibilities that come with owning a home? You may not have the same financial freedoms as you did before. Not only will you have larger monthly expenses but you will also need to have a reserve fund. If a “big ticket item” needs to be replaced, it could cost you a lot. For example, if your roof needs to be replaced, it can cost anywhere from $10,000 to $40,000. Seasonal responsibilities may include cleaning out your gutters, lawn mowing, and repairs.
Here is a great site for more information on homeowner responsibilities: https://www.incharge.org/housing/homebuyer-education/homeownership-guide/responsibilities-of-a-new-homeowner/
If you’re thinking about getting into the market for the first time, reach out and I will send you a copy of my Home Buyer’s Guide: firstname.lastname@example.org