The first question that you are bound to ask is, "How much home can I afford?"
Well, that depends on several factors:
Your selected location: Are you set on a specific area? Downtown? The suburbs? A rural setting?
Your preferred type of home or property: Detached? Semi? Duplex? High-rise? Link? Townhouse? New or Resale? There are a variety of home styles you will want to explore.
Your income: After all, it's not just the mortgage you have to consider. There are property taxes, utilities, and condo or strata fees. As a rule of thumb, your monthly home-carrying cost should not exceed 30-35% of your income.
Market conditions: Is it a buyers', sellers' or balanced market?
Additional costs: Few homes are perfect or finished fully as you like. Be prepared and have budgeted for the improvements and repairs that may be required upon taking possession of your new home.
A part of deciding just what you can afford can be accomplished by meeting with your bank or a mortgage broker and negotiating a pre-approved mortgage. There are many types of mortgages and many different terms. Research all of your options. This ensures no surprises once you're ready to make an offer.
Once you've calculated what you can afford to pay, and what will be your ongoing monthly expenses, then you are well positioned to begin your search. The first home you see could be the one, but more likely you will look at numerous homes before you find what you are looking for. Rest assured, the home you're looking for is out there, and when you find it, you'll be ready to make an offer.
Purchasing a home is much simpler when you have a clear plan.