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First-Time Homebuyer Tips

with Guelph Realtor Jaden Steele

It’s not as impossible as you think. Buying your first home is a realistic goal, you just might have to get a little bit creative.

It’s not easy. It takes planning, saving and if you’re like me, some unconventional methods. Although there are many wonderful government incentives and plans you can discuss with your realtor or mortgage specialist, I’m going to focus on the unconventional for this post. These are first-time homebuyer tips that have helped myself and past clients attain the coveted homeowner status, they may not be realistic for everyone.

My partner and I decided we wanted to move out at 21. At that point, buying a home wasn’t an option for us, so we decided to rent. We lucked out in finding an amazing basement apartment, downtown Guelph. The landlords were lovely and the apartment itself was a bargain. Renting is something I always wanted to avoid, but I do not regret our decision. It taught us a lot about saving, budgeting and, in a sense, homeownership. After a year, the landlords decided to sell the home that our apartment was in, and we decided it was time to move on. We had the opportunity to move into my grandfather’s basement for a year, which is what really put us ahead of the game.

Before the unconventional, let’s talk about simple tips and tricks that could assist in ultimately buying your first home.

There’s no shame in living with your parents (or family)! If it’s a safe and healthy environment, stay for as long as they’re willing to keep you. It is a great way to save money and plan. Of course, this is a privilege, don’t take advantage and help out where you can.

Put money away! It’s as simple as taking a small percentage of each paycheque and putting it into a separate account. Try cutting down on life’s many luxuries, coffee and take-out add up quickly (trust me).

Ask for help! Many parents (and relatives) dream of helping their children with homeownership. If you’re fortunate enough, sometimes that comes in the form of monetary value, but it can come in many other forms of support, such as going on title to help with the mortgage process.

Okay, now on to the unconventional.

Don’t be too picky. This is something I had to remind myself of several times. As a first-time homebuyer, you may benefit from opening your search.

Location. Location. Location. It’s something you may want to expand if you’re thinking about purchasing your first home. Is a 30-minute commute worth saving thousands on a home? It could be the difference between buying a townhouse in one city and a detached in another.

Are you able to take on a fixer-upper? I am very fortunate to have a contractor as a partner, and many handy people around me. It was a relief knowing we’d be able to take on a project and add value almost immediately.

Take a closer look at the homes that have been sitting on the market for a while. iPhone photos, lack of photos, clutter or even a bad paint job are all things that can negatively affect a listing. The longer a home sits, the larger the stigma around it becomes. People will assume something could be wrong with the property, when really it just wasn’t shown or marketed to its full potential.

You’re not the only one looking for a change of scenery, have you considered a roommate?

Could you go in on a house with someone else? I did, and it’s what gave us the ability to own a home without sacrificing our lifestyle. Make sure you choose wisely. This is a huge investment, it’s important to find someone who shares similar personal and business values; especially if you’ll be living together. It could be a little more complex for some, but in the end, you can buy one another out, sell together or keep the home as an investment property.

Look for homes with separate unit capabilities. Pay attention to the basement, upper level or main floor area. Is there already a legal apartment? Is there potential to create one? This will depend on the municipality, it’s important to check with your governing body and do your due diligence. A legal unit will generate the most revenue.

If you are able to find the right home, and just want some extra income, a roommate is always a great option. Again, choose wisely as you’ll have to share your living space.

Have you considered temporary rental opportunities? Similar to a separate unit or roommate, platforms like Airbnb, VRBO and booking.com allow you to offer your space for a shorter period of time. There are options for both separate units and room rentals, where you can set house rules and often generate a higher revenue than some long-term rental alternatives. Stay tuned for my next blog post about my new Airbnb!

For any type of tenant or roommate, it’s important to do extensive background research. Perform an interview period for any potential prospects. Ask for a credit check, references (past landlord and employers), source of income, etc. It’s also beneficial and sometimes mandatory to have a formal lease in place outlining what is expected of all parties (speak to your lawyer or real estate professional for advice). Let me know if you have any questions about tenant screening!

From the obvious to the unconventional, there are always ways to enhance your opportunities in this market. The first step to finding your first home is finding a real estate agent you trust. From there, they can guide you and create a realistic plan and timeline. If you have any questions about the first time home-buyer experience, please reach out. I’m here to help! 🙂

Click here to see my Airbnb rental and the @ArthurStSuite Instagram page!

Jaden Steele

Written by Jaden Steele, Sales Representative

Learn More About Jaden


Mobile: 226-203-5309 | Office: 519-821-3600 | Email: [email protected]


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