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(FIRST PUBLISHED IN “Resale Home and Condo Guide” — May18-June 15, 2013)

Your first home purchase is a lot like buying your first car. Grant it, unless your first home is on wheels, you are not likely to wreck it on your possession date, but the decision process is very similar.

In the 80’s my friends wanted the new powerful 5.0 Litre Mustang, or the Knigh Rider car. Some just had to get the stylish Honda Prelude. Sure Crockett zipped around on our TV screens in a hot black Ferrari, but I didn’t see any of my friends pull into the lot in one of those at my high school. The typical first time home buyer should start with an entry level model… excuse me … home first. Once you get a feel for the lifestyle you want to lead, and the cost of carrying the first home, not to mention how well your career is going, like your first car, you will soon be ready to trade up.

Test Drive: Small family, just you, or starting out a relationship, it is almost impossible to know how your lifestyle will change from one year to the next. Keep it simple until you know where you are going. See how the real estate market is doing, and if you really need a more expensive, larger property, think of it as a first home test drive. Once you get the feel for it, you may find it suits your purpose, or if your life takes a sudden turn, you can quickly find another first time home buyer to buy it from you. But it need not be the home of your dreams right out of the gate.

Fantasy vs. Reality: Since Knight Rider days, I dreamed of my ideal car to drive. What did I get to drive as soon as I got my license? My dad’s Pontiac Parisian. Guess what? Not too sexy, but had lots of power, lots of room for my friends, and gas prices were low enough for me to get downtown and back. You may want the 1,500 square foot loft overlooking the lake, but there is nothing wrong with taking baby steps.

What are you trying to prove? Fancy sports cars are not like fancy homes. You can take any simple entry level property and turn it into a fashion statement. Size, location, and price point, may not matter to your friends as much as you think. Like a lower entry car that you can “pimp out”, your entry level home can be the ideal hangout pad, if you put some thought to it.

In for a good time, not a long time. Like a car lease, think of your first home and mortgage as a temporary commitment, until you can either afford another, or are forced to move. Statistically, over the last couple of decades or so, Canadians have moved, or at least refinanced their homes in less their 5 years from date of purchase. You could think of your home as a lease with an option to buy. You may not opt to lease a car with all the accessories just to pay a much larger bill each month, if you were planning to return it at end of lease anyway.

Once you do get into your new home, here are quick MUSTS that I always urge my clients to do immediately.

Replace all the toilet seats. Change shower heads to suit your required water pressure and spray style. Replace all air and water filters. Steam clean carpets, and if necessary, get your ducts and eaves cleaned right away. Re-key all your locks. This involves a locksmith taking out the cylinder of your lock, changing the key pins and cutting new keys for the family.

Have more suggestions for a new home buyer? Please leave your comments below.

Sold by Yan 1

Office: P. 416.441.2888; F. 416.441.9926; 2145 Avenue Road, Toronto, Ontario M5M 4B2

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