Courtesy of Gary Brand

TIPS TO HELP YOU FIND A STARTER HOME Looking for your first home? Congratulations! This is an exciting – albeit stressful – time. Here are five tips for making it go as smoothly as possible. 1. Be realistic. Do your research before you even begin looking. How much can you afford to pay? What kind of a house will that get you in the area you’re looking? If you go into things knowing there’s no way you can afford a 2,500 square foot home in a mature neighbourhood, you won’t be as disappointed during the search. 2. Don’t forget about extra costs. In all the excitement, it can be easy to forget about the additional fees on top of your mortgage. Of course there are the lawyer fees, but there are also all the expenses that come after you’re handed the keys. Insurance, property taxes, utilities and potentially new furniture all add up. Keep that in mind when you’re deciding how much you want to spend on a home. 3. Adjust your wish list. Remember, your starter home isn’t your forever home. Can you really afford a house with a luxury ensuite and quartz countertops? Decide what is non-negotiable – like number of bedrooms – and what you can always change later. 4. Rethink location. Even if you’re planning on starting a family in the future, try not to focus too much on a potential home’s school district. By resetting your parameters, a whole new well of options can open up, possibly leading to something unexpected – and just right. 5. Research the area. Look into things like amenities, local schools, possible crime, traffic and nearby home values. Decide how they will affect your purchase.

BRAIN TEASERS - CAPITAL CITY CROSSWORD

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