I’m not a real estate broker or expert on buying a house. This will only be based on my experiences and ideas from my friends. – authored by Aryel Patio
TIPS TO CONSIDER BEFORE BUYING A HOUSE
1) Incomplete New House vs. Complete Package Older House
That’s our dilemma 10 years ago, that time when we are going to buy a house. We chose to buy the completed older house even it is expensive rather than the cheaper unfinished new house. That’s a good choice for us because up to now, there are no repairs or maintenance problems that we encounter. On the other hand, several chose to buy the unfinished new house and planning to complete it later. But the catch is: there are some unforeseen expenses in life that may come upon like car repairs, emergency remittance to the Philippines or unexpected vacation that might affect your planned budget for the house improvements. Until you realized, you used that budget for those undetected circumstances then the only option is to make a loan again for the house developments.
I’m not saying that this decision is applicable to all. But I suggest, instead of making a loan again in the future to finish your house why not just add it to the total price of the house if it is still in the range of your pre-approval in the bank. Monthly payments are affordable than monthly amortization plus monthly of new loans.
2) House Roof
Consider the roof age. Some said roof should be changed if more than 10 years old already. If you buy an older house and you noticed that it is already a failing roof then it’s another expense. If you are a carpenter who knows how to repair roofs, that could make the expenses light and cheaper. But if you are not a handyman like me, repair bills will be a headache.
You should inspect all the windows before buying a house. Check if there are cracks and if you need to replace it. Windows are also expensive, especially front windows.
Usually, if you are going to buy a pre-owned house some appliances are already included like fridge, oven, laundry machines, dishwasher and central air conditioning system. If the owner or broker said that those are new appliances, ask for the receipt or warranty papers. So that when the time it will be needed, you can still use the remaining warranty years.
5) Show Homes
When visiting the open house, pay attention to all the details and appliances that will be included. They might show brand new appliances to attract buyers. But when you buy the house, you will just notice that those appliances were replaced with old ones. Usually, it happens when the previous owner is at the same time buying a new house. Sneaky but they might shuffle the appliances they get from their new home to their previous house. For example, my neighbor is selling their house; the main attraction to shoppers is their beautiful, fancy and big deck. It gets a buyer so fast! But after the open house, they changed the fancy deck to a small one. After a while, the deal was canceled because the buyer noticed that big change.
6) Blueprints and House Plans
If available, don’t forget to ask for the blueprints of the house. It will be a great help if you have plans to upgrade it in the future.
Always investigate your future neighbors. You might find a good deal for a nice house but your neighbors might be some sort of a headache. By then, you might like to look for a new house again.
8) House Package
Like tip no. 1, choose house package with garage especially during winter (specifically for those in colder areas). Probably, you’ll spend $20-30k for the garage construction.
9) Inspect Again
If you can, check the appliances before buying the house if it is working properly especially the central air conditioning system and heater. Take time and think again, if you are not comfortable with everything, you can politely back out on the deal. But of course, it is still a headache for the wasted time and effort.
10) Water and Hydro Consumption
If you already bought the house, I suggest on the first day of your move, read your water and hydro consumption already. At least you have the record of your first intake and you will not pay the consumption of the previous owner.
11) Down payment
If you are going to buy a house, you still need at least 5% down payment.
12) House Bills
Most importantly, make sure you can afford already all the bills and expenses when owning a house. Many say it’s okay to buy a house rather than to rent an apartment because your rental bills are nowhere to go compared to a mortgage which soon to be an investment. That makes sense, but sometimes it is still practical when renting. An example of this comparison: When renting, the usual bill is $1K/month, all utilities included. No need to worry about house maintenance because if there are troubles and repairs, the landlord usually pays. If you are the homeowner, usually these are your bills: house mortgage, mortgage insurance or personal insurance, home insurance, property/school tax, utility bills (hydro, heater, cable, and telephone). Plus other fees like car insurance and car loan if you have a vehicle that is not yet paid. I knew lots who immediately bought a new and big house who regretted their immediate decision in the end.
It’s not my intention to discourage specially to new immigrants to buy their own house. We Filipinos have the same dreams, and that is to have our own house in Canada. But my advice is to take it slow if it doesn’t fit yet to your budget. Balance everything first to all the decisions that you are going to make. Many of us have triple jobs just to have the means to pay our bills. But remember, it is still better if you have plenty of time for your family and yourselves.
TIPS TO CONSIDER AFTER BUYING A HOUSE
First of all thanks to Pinoy-Canada.com team by publishing my first article. I’m happy and got inspired to share more on our experiences to help the new immigrants. I would like to tell those tips that we learned from our relatives and friends when we first arrive here in Canada years ago. To pay it forward, we are happy to contribute it to others. – By Aryel Patio
1) HOME INSURANCE.
Make sure that you have home insurance. It is a requirement, the mortgage broker or lawyer will not give you the house keys if you don’t have any home insurance.
Ahead of time, ask friends if they have empty boxes for you to use in packing your things. Or try to ask COSTCO, SUPERSTORE, and WALMART to give you their used empty grocery boxes.
3) RE-PAINT THE HOUSE (If you bought an Old House)
Before you move, this is the best time to change the paint colors especially if you don’t like it. Particularly if it is during summer time or you are not in a hurry moving in.
4) CARPET (If you bought an Old House)
Same thing with item#3, while you don’t have any furniture inside, this is the best time to put new carpets or hire a professional to general clean it.
5) VENT (If you bought an Old House)
Same thing with item#3&4, while you don’t have lots of things inside, this is the best time to hire professionals to clean the vents especially if you buy a pre-owned house.
If you already have access to the house, you can already start bringing your stuff one by one. So that, when the moving time comes, there will be lesser things to carry. You might find yourself not hiring a U-Haul anymore.
7) READ METERS.
Read your hydro and water meter immediately and report it to the city or your locality. Explain to them that it was your first day there and the reading is for the start of your electricity and water usage. It is better to know your first usage so that it can compare to the usage of the previous owner.
8) NEW ADDRESS.
Update your friends, company, billing companies, Service Canada and others about your new address. You can try to call Canada post to forward all your mails to your new address. Make sure that all your important bills like credit card and banks are updated. Just in case you forgot someone to update just politely ask a favor to the person living in your previous house or apartment to collect all your mails and make arrangements to them in getting your mails.
9) CABLE, TELEPHONE, TFC, and INTERNET.
Plan ahead and get a schedule for installation at least a day after you move.
10) SECURITY ALARM
If you don’t have a security house alarm, try to consider having one. It will be a great help you are going on a vacation or will be away for a long period of time. Check your local dealer for a very affordable price. If there is an existing house alarm, change immediately the key pass or password.
11) RICE AND SALT.
If you believe in superstitions like us, bring rice and salt to your new house because they said it brings luck to the family living in the house.
If possible greet your new neighbor. It will be a great help if you are in good terms with your neighbor. You can ask a favor of them to look after your house if you are not there. Like our good neighbor they lawn mowed our grass, so be a good neighbor and befriend them.
Lastly, enjoy your new house and don’t forget to invite us to your house blessings or house warming. ?
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