By Larry Cerqua, TREB President

Buying your first home is exciting, but can feel a bit scary. Owning your home may represent a new chapter in your life and, for most people, it’s the largest investment they’ll ever make. That’s why it’s important to educate yourself on the process and understand your home ownership goals before you start your search. Below are some tips on how to prepare for this milestone.

Things to Consider Before Beginning the Process 

Before you take the first steps to finding your dream home, sit down and make a list of your long-term goals. Once that’s done, consider how home ownership fits into your plan. Your home ownership goals may be as simple as converting all those rent payments into mortgage payments to create equity or, they may be more complex, such as becoming a landlord.

Be Realistic About Your “Wants” and “Needs”

Now that you have a basic understanding of your home ownership goals, a next step might be to make a list of must-haves and a separate list of nice-to-haves. Things to consider could be location, number of bedrooms, property type, yard space, lifestyle, and so on. In the event you have to make some compromises during your house hunting, this list will help keep top of mind what’s important to you and help you stay confident in the moment with your choices.

Also, your REALTOR is very knowledgeable when it comes to GTA communities, and what each area offers. Ask your REALTOR to help you establish a few alternative community options in the event you need to expand your search area.

Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage & Consider How Much You Can Afford

Crunch the numbers to get a better sense of what your monthly payments will look like. Don’t forget to budget/factor in expenses such as closing costs, movers and furnishings for your new space. Your financial situation now may not be the same in a few years’ time, so it’s important to be realistic about how much home you can afford. Talk to your REALTOR®, they can help guide you through this process.


Now that you have a good picture of your financial situation and home ownership goals, it’s time to choose a REALTOR who will help guide you through the process of purchasing your first home. With over 45,000 TREB Professional Member REALTORS across the GTA, you should be able to find the perfect one for you! Sit down with a few real estate professionals and select one that has experience with your unique situation and with whom you feel comfortable.

I hope these tips help guide you through the early stages of purchasing your first home.

Talk to a Toronto Real Estate Board Professional Member REALTOR. For updates on the real estate market, visit If commercial property is what interests you, contact a TREB Commercial Professional Member REALTOR by visiting


13 thoughts on “Top Tips for First-Time Home Buyers

  1. I really like what you say about being realistic about your wants and needs. I’m sure that there are some people that can’t figure out what the difference between the 2 are, and can have a really hard time. If we eery decide to get a new house I will be sure to look at that.

  2. Hiring a realtor would be a great idea! That way you can have someone who can deal with all of the paperwork, negotiating, etc…Then you can stress less, and you can focus on other aspects of the move. Then the move will hopefully go smoother for you!

  3. I like that you mentioned working with an experienced realtor as a first time buyer. The process can be much more complicated than you think and require a lot more work than expected. A realtor can guide you to meet your goals.

  4. Your thought about getting pre-approved to figure out what your monthly payments would look like. I can see how getting an idea of that before making a bid would help you have a better idea of what you can afford. Your realtor would probably be able to help you figure out what sorts of homes are in your range if you had a pre-approval.

  5. Your tip about being realistic about your wants and needs is a really great tip for a first time home buyer like me. I have this image of what house I want, but the house I end up buying is probably going to be nowhere near that image. Making the decision beforehand that I am okay with compromising will make the decision a lot easier. Thanks for sharing!

  6. A friend of mine is trying to find a house for the first time, but wasn’t sure how to do it. It’s interesting that you say to look at your lifestyle, and how you would want that to reflect in your house. It would be nice to make sure that they will be able to do everything that you wanted in the end.

  7. Great info. I would add that some mortgage pre-approvals are better than others. Some lenders just give you a letter saying that you are approved subject to you meeting their criteria. What you really need is for the lender to have assessed your criteria and approved everything but the property that you end up buying.

  8. I love the tip you gave about making sure to crunch some numbers, beforehand, to get a solid idea of what your budget will be. I’ve heard that it’s so important, too, to make sure that you look at as many houses as you possibly can, so that you can find the best deals out there. I’ll be sure to remember these great tips that you gave so that my wife and I can have success on our first “house hunt”.

  9. Thank you for all these great tips to finding a new house. One thing that really stood out to me is that you say to make sure that you are realistic with your needs and wants. It would be nice to know that you are going to get what you want, and that you are looking for houses that are in that area.

  10. Thanks for the tips for buying a home. My wife and I are first time buyers, and we want to make sure we are prepared. I like that you mentioned to get pre-approved for a mortgage so you know what you will be able to afford in advance. That would make looking at houses much easier. We will be sure to do this.

  11. I never knew that getting pre-approved for a home mortgage can help you know what your monthly payments will look like. My sister will be in the market for her first home soon. Hopefully, she can use this info to prepare to go through the home buying process.

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