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Buying your first home is an incredible accomplishment that marks the beginning of an exciting new journey in your life. However, if you’re upsizing from an apartment or condo, there may be a few elements of homeownership that take some getting used to. 

If you’ve recently purchased your first home or are gearing up to enter the market, here are a few helpful tips for making the transition smoother!

Are you preparing to buy your first home? We can help. Learn about our dedicated approach to helping buyers find their dream homes here

Budgeting For Property Taxes 

In addition to your mortgage, there are some additional recurring costs you’ll need to budget for as a homeowner. As you may expect, the largest of these costs is property taxes. In Ottawa, property taxes are calculated using both municipal and provincially determined taxation rates in conjunction with your home’s assessed value. You can learn more about how property taxes are determined here

Incentives For First-Time Buyers 

In Canada, there are a handful of great tax incentives that all first-time buyers should be aware of. You may already be familiar with some of these programs, such as the First-Time Home Buyers’ Tax Credit. However, additional incentives like the GST/HST New Housing Rebate and Home Buyer’s Amount are also easy ways to get the most out of your tax return. 

You can talk to your financial advisor or real estate agent if you have trouble determining which benefits apply to you. They’ve likely helped plenty of first-time buyers and can offer guidance on navigating incentives. 

New to the world of real estate? Explore these introductory articles to learn more about what you expect in your first transaction and beyond. 

Waste Collection

While taking out the bins on recycling or garbage day may seem obvious, it is an element of homeownership that some first-timers forget about. If you’re accustomed to community living amenities like waste collection rooms or garbage chutes, remembering to bring the bins out may take some getting used to. Not to mention, any backup of forgotten waste on your property can attract raccoons, rodents and other pests. If you’re worried about forgetting, you can set a recurring reminder on your smartphone to ensure you never miss a garbage day. 

Home Upgrades

One of the paramount benefits of ownership is the ability to make changes or upgrades to your home. Not only are renovations a great way to make the space truly feel like your own, but they’re also an opportunity to invest in your home and increase its property value down the line. 

Without the restrictions of a landlord or condo board, you have greater flexibility to make changes to your property. However, even as a homeowner, some renovations will come with certain restrictions and red tape. You’ll want to research local requirements carefully before you make any modifications to your property. Breaching regulations could lead to lengthy setbacks or even fines. Plus, home renovations are often costly and disruptive to your living space so you’ll also want to carefully plan and budget for projects well in advance

If you’re unsure where to start with renovations, talk to your real estate agent. Not only can they connect you with trusted local contractors who can bring your vision to life, but they can also advise you on any relevant bylaws and permit requirements.

Want to learn more about home upgrades and investing in real estate? Check out these blog posts. 

Before You Buy: Mortgage Pre-Approvals

If you’re entering the market for the first time, there are a few things you can do in advance to make the buying process easier. As it directly impacts your ability to secure financing, ensuring your personal finances are in order ahead of time is essential. 

Your existing savings, current income, and other financial commitments are all important details in determining what home you can afford. Therefore, the best place to get started is with a mortgage pre-approval.

Ready to upsize and find your dream home in the Ottawa area? Explore our local listings