Finally getting on the property ladder has never been a bigger accomplishment for Canadians. House prices remain high despite the challenges of the COVID-19 era, the troubled global economy isn’t distributing wealth very effectively (with Canada’s various lockdowns causing major issues on a national basis), and house-building is slow despite the rising population. So regardless of when you’re able to buy a place of your own, it’s cause for celebration.
But in all the jubilation, you shouldn’t forget that your first home is an investment, and investments need to be safeguarded and cultivated. In this post, we’re going to set out some key ways in which first-time Canadian buyers can protect their vital property investments.
They can get comprehensive insurance
So many things can go wrong with a house, regardless of when or how it was built. A misplaced nail in a wall can leave a deep crack, for instance, just as a stretch of extreme weather can burst a pipe. And then there’s the matter of theft. There are steps you can take to mitigate these concerns (and we’ll get to them), but they’ll always be present. Insurance can protect you.
What’s great about insurance is that it’s highly configurable. You can get coverage for break-ins, particular items, and even natural disasters such as earthquakes. When you pursue insurance, though, it’s important to choose the company carefully: if you’re based in British Columbia, for instance, then our local broker network is perfectly positioned to cater to your needs.
They can start building emergency funds
First-time buyers with money to spare can end up spending it (often on the things we’ll cover next), while those with limited budgets just want to get on solid financial footing. Whatever their circumstances, however, buyers should start building emergency funds as soon as they can. Insurance will protect them from many things, but what if they lose their jobs? It’s hardly inconceivable at this point, as the pandemic has shown us clearly.
As for how they can save money, well, they first need to fully review their financial commitments. First-time buyers don’t always make the best choices when it comes to mortgage arrangements, and it’s never too soon to consider alternatives. Whatever your area, you’ll likely have options for remortgaging your home in a way that allows you to save more: if you’re based in Edmonton, check mortgage rates in Edmonton to see how yours stacks up.
After that, it comes down to discipline. Pay close attention to how you spend money and take obvious opportunities to cut back. The more money you can save now, the more you’ll have when something does go wrong (and something will go wrong eventually). And if your discipline is weak, consider setting up a dedicated savings account into which you can steadily pay.
They can focus on home improvements
A home’s value doesn’t often change that much, but there are clear steps you can take to raise the value of your property (thus giving you more breathing room in the event that you want or need to sell the place down the line). As a bonus, home-improvement projects tend to be fun and satisfying, particularly during a time of frustrating travel restrictions.
So what improvements should you target? It depends on the house, of course, but there are certain things always worth considering. Are your walls fully protected from dampness? Do you have a basement that could be converted into usable space? Could you build an extension to get another bedroom? Most of these projects are somewhat expensive, but they’re worthwhile: you’ll get a big return on your investment in the value of your home.
They can install security systems
Now, you don’t need to install a security system if you’re not comfortable with it. There’s much to be gained from simply getting to know your neighbours, as archaic as that can seem in this time of digital communication. But if there’s any significant crime in your area, it’s strongly advisable that you install some alarms and security cameras to discourage criminals and possibly capture them in the footage if they choose to break in regardless.
Thankfully, there are many options on the market today, with decent choices to suit most budgets. Don’t feel pressured to go for the latest and greatest equipment. Simply having something in place will be a great help, and you can always upgrade down the line. If you do install security equipment, though, be sure to read the instructions carefully. You don’t want to run the risk of setting off your own alarms in the middle of the night!
Wrapping up, you should view your home as your biggest investment: after all, it’s presumably the most expensive thing you’ve ever purchased! By taking the steps we’ve set out here, you can preserve—and even increase—your home’s value.