First Time Buyers

First Time Buyers

When you've never bought a property before, it's easy to let your emotions take over. This quick list can help you keep a level head while you look and ensure that you don't end up with buyer's remorse down the road.

DO a drive-by. Check out the exterior, the road and the general neighbourhood. If you can, stop by during the day and in the evening to get a sense of what the area is like at different times. See if there are any good shops and restaurants that are close enough for your needs, and if it's a place where you feel comfortable walking around. Most people moving to Muskoka are big on mother nature but if you are looking for something really close to amenities check on walkability scores of different neighbourhoods here .

DO come prepared. Show up to showings and open houses armed with a list of questions. Write down all the things you love, items that require repair or renovation, elements you're not so keen on. When you're looking at multiple cottages, condos or homes, it's easy to get confused so maintaining detailed notes of each visit will help you keep track.

DO look at properties in your price range. It's easy to fall in love with a place you can't afford. Don't bother looking at the ones that are priced out of reach in hopes that sellers might negotiate down to what you can afford. You will be setting yourself up for disappointment and make yourself feel like you're settling for less than you deserve.

DON'T forget to take stock of storage. There's nothing like moving in and realizing there's nowhere to store anything. Look at closets, basement storage, attic space, boathouses and outdoor sheds. Where will you keep your vacuum cleaner? Your spare linens and towels? Sports equipment and off season clothes?

DON'T sweat the small stuff. That harvest gold fridge and the stained basement carpet can both be replaced at a relatively low cost. The scary turquoise dining room can easily be repainted. Instead, watch out for high cost fixes like outdated electrical or bathrooms that require a complete overhaul.

DO check the water pressure. Run the taps and flush the toilets separately and at the same time. See if the shower head blasts water or just gives off an unsatisfying drizzle. And don't forget to check how fast the water heats up. If it's really slow, there could be issues with the heater.

DON'T forget to check the exterior. Look for damp or buckled spots on the siding, peeling paint, loose shingles, cracks in the foundation. A quick look can save you thousands of dollars in the long run.

DON'T overestimate your DIY capabilities. Fixing that leaky faucet? Sure, almost anyone can do that. But renovating the kitchen? Ripping out drywall? Putting in new plumbing? Before you make an offer on a place that's not move in ready, make sure you're not getting too enthusiastic about what you can actually accomplish. If you think you can do it yourself, then realize you need outside help, you'll be facing some serious costs you didn't factor into the purchase price.

DON'T be afraid to move on. So many buyers get stuck on the idea that another property as perfect as this one will never come along. That's simply not true. New listings come on the market regularly, so never assume that there's nothing as good as, or better, out there. Be patient.

Finding a property you love is exciting, but it's a little like falling in love with a person. That initial glow can make you overlook faults that will drive you around the bend a few years down the road. Keeping emotions in check and the long term future in mind can help you make a smarter buying decision.