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5 Things to Know While Owning Your First Home

on May 19, 2014

So you’ve signed the paperwork! Congratulations, you have joined the world of homeownership! Now here are 5 quick tips to help get the blissfully ignorant through the first year without as many hiccups!

1. Home Insurance: Make sure you visit (or speak) with a number of brokers before signing on the dotted line. Different companies will offer different packages that cover a variety of items. Standard policies will cover property damage from fire, wind, or storm—but what about liability? Theft? Contents? Ask about deductibles, replacement of valuables, and bundling your life, car, and home insurance together for savings. Make sure to categorize your valuables with an inventory list in case of claim!

2. Home Buyer’s Plan: Did you know that the HBP is set in place to allow you to withdraw your RRSPs to buy or build a home? You can withdraw up to a maximum of $25,000 each year without tax penalty. You will have to repay this fund within 15 years but it can be a great way to contribute to your down payment! For more info, go to Canada Revenue Agency.

3. Bills, Bills, Bills! You may have done the math and decided your mortgage is manageable with your income, but be sure to include all bills in monthly finances. This includes insurance (see above), utilities, property taxes, any outstanding loans, rentals (ex. Hot water tank), credit cards, and groceries. Crunch all the numbers before committing to a situation that may leave you house poor!

4. Become a DYI Diva (Or Dude)! You may have unlimited dreams on what you would like to do to decorate and redesign your home, you also may have a limited budget! With a little research and some elbow grease you can find out what you can do on your own, and what you may require professional help for. Save on home repairs with the magic of YouTube videos and Home Depot rental tools! Be sure to know your limit, and renovate within it!

5. Protect your investment! You have just sunk most of your savings and future earnings into your home, it is important to do what you can to protect it long term. This means keeping up with cleaning, maintenance, routine checks, and even a home security system. Install an alarm system to keep burglars out and your valuables in! There are a wide range of systems to suit most budgets from motion sensor to video monitoring, be sure to research what it is right for you!