Tips for first time homebuyers to heed

The outlook for western Canada’s economy is still showing signs of growth for many years to come, especially in Alberta and Saskatchewan, and with interest rates as low as they are what an opportunity for those first time buyers to buy their first home.

For the past couple of years, first time buyers have been basically running at free will snapping up homes as they’ve saved up their down payments and have been able to get into the housing market and obtain super low interest rates to buy them.

So the reasons are quite obvious as to why the housing market is super attractive to first time home buyers, especially here in Alberta where we have strong income, employment and migration gains – the three staples to a strong and steady economy all due to demand from our oil and gas sector.

Even though we’ve been talking about how strong the economy is going to be, it’s difficult to pinpoint where exactly we are at in the cycle. One way economists view cycles in the housing market is by the number of listings on the MLS in a particular market.

So for Central Alberta right now listings are down drastically, when you compare to any month in the past three years, which may mean a change of market from buyer’s market to balanced market which is great for both the buyer and the seller.

Even with a perfectly timed purchase, there are a few things that first time buyers need to heed:

1- Be prepared, educate yourself by using the professionals involved, mortgage professionals and realtors are free to buyers, use their knowledge – as Donald Trump says “Just make sure you get a good one”

2 – Write down your wants vs. needs and factor in future requirements as well. Where will you be in three years? Five years? Ten years?

3 – Get a mortgage pre-approval, you need to figure out what you can afford. Mortgage professionals can shop the banks for you and likely even get you a better rate at your own bank for you than you could yourself.

4 – Buy logically, keep your emotions under control.

5 – Get a home inspection.

We as Canadians have been fortunate with home values staying buoyant, and especially here in Alberta where our home values have gone up in value. Tie this in with super low interest rates, an increasing population base in Alberta with a strong labour market and it makes this season a great time to get into your new home.

Jean-Guy Turcotte is an Accredited Mortgage Professional with Dominion Lending Centres-Regional Mortgage Group.