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Growth & Jobs | First-time homeowners: Be practical

Published:Tuesday | November 30, 2021 | 12:07 AM

JUDY BENJAMIN of Benjamin’s Realty Services is advising newcomers to the property market that they may not be able to purchase their dream home the very first time. She noted that first-time homebuyers should instead concentrate on purchasing a house that is practical and within their budget.

“The average homebuyer may not be able to afford to move into what they consider the perfect neighbourhood that first time, so they will have to start where their money can take them,” she said. “I’m suggesting that homebuyers don’t get so stuck on the thought of buying a dream home, but, instead, they should look at buying a practical property.”

Benjamin, who was addressing the JN Bank ‘Own Sweet Home’ web series, which is aired on YouTube, also advised that there are several steps prospective homebuyers can take when seeking the property that’s right for them.

These include:

Get pre-approved to determine what you can afford: Search for houses within your budget. There’s nothing worse than falling in love with a property, only to find out you can’t afford it.

Decide where you would like to live: Check the home’s proximity to work and school, as well as the practicality of the public transport routes. This is based on your needs, whether you want to live close to your children’s school or your place of work. You may also want to consider how easy it is to get public transport from this location.

Decide on the type of property you want: Do you want to live in a town house, apartment or single-family home? “This also depends on your needs. For example, let us say that you’re a first-time buyer, but you have an elderly parent living with you, then it wouldn’t be practical to get a three-storey town house, because of your parent’s mobility issues.”

Choose a property that will be easy to sell: If you buy a home with a good resale value, it should be easy to sell when that time comes.The most important factor in good resale value is location, so choose a home in a desirable location to increase your pool of future buyers. Other factors which influence resale value include the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, and family space.

Consider a fixer-upper: A fixer-upper is a great idea, because this way you can find a property with good bones in a location you like. You can take your time and refurbish the most important areas, such as the kitchen and bathrooms. If the roofing, plumbing and electrical wiring are in good condition, then this is a structure you can work with, because this means that you can invest in it and, over time, make it what you really want.