As a real estate newbie, I've been doing a lot of reading, and, of course, watching HGTV's Property Virgins, to try to learn as much as I can about the process of buying a home. I don't want to be like some of those Virgins who aren't prepared with downpayment funds and aren't aware of the costs of homes or closing costs. So, in honour of my home hunt, I thought I'd share some of the things I've found valuable!
For starters, the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation has a lot of great resources for home buyers (as well as sellers and renovators, but that's less helpful for me!). From step by step home buying guides to a mortgage calculator and other useful goodies, it's definitely a good place to start.
And, of course, Yourhome.ca has been a big help. Not only do I read it every day as part of my job, but it also keeps me up to date on the latest happenings in the market and gives me lots of reno and decor inspiration for my future home, from how to modernize a small city home to loftier ideas from Colin and Justin. Website promoting aside, anyone thinking about buying or selling really should be keeping up with their local media to stay on top of market conditions, which will help inform your decisions and expectations.
My realtor, @RealEstateSimon, is another great resource for answering my questions, especially those related to certain homes and neighbourhoods. Going to see properties with him has given me some hands on education, which all that reading (and TV watching) just hadn't taught me.
I've also just finished reading Realty Check, by Property Virgins host Sandra Rinomato. With useful checklists, real life examples and some no-nonsense advice to keep newbies from getting in over their heads, I'd recommend this as a very basic primer to those getting ready to venture into home ownership. Toronto and area-based examples are also a nice perk for those of us starting our home hunt in the city.
Where do you go for real estate advice? What resources would you recommend for first time buyers?