There are many myths that are commonly associated with real estate. It can be difficult sometimes to separate fact from reality, so I thought that we would address 3 of the most common real estate misconceptions.
#1 - You Own Your Home So You Can Do Anything You Want to It
Home ownership can be one of the most exciting milestones in our adult years. However, just because you have bought a home, you cannot simply do whatever you want on your property as the property owner. It is critical to review all building schemes and municipal regulations to ensure that you are in compliance. Some neighbourhoods do not allow laundry lines, while others may not allow a boat or RV to be visible from the road. Municipal rules often ban grazing animals or livestock from city homes, so your dream of having farm fresh eggs from your backyard hens may not be a reality. If you are considering adding onto an existing home, or doing renovations, it is so important that you do your research first so that you don't end up with a visit from a bylaw officer. Some renovations will require permits, inspections, and other considerations prior to any work being undertaken.
#2 - You Just Need to Focus on the Mortgage Payment as a Homeowner
Too many home owners fail to take into account utility costs, especially if they have been renting and had the landlord cover these costs. There will be property taxes as well that many homeowners will have taken out the same time as their mortgage payment. Additionally, those small but critical home repairs certainly add up and can take an owner by surprise. When buying a home, it is important to be mindful of these other costs and to review the professional building inspection report and budget accordingly for any types of repairs recommended. The more informed you are about these costs, the easier it is to schedule and budget.
#3 - You Can Use Your Home as an ATM Machine
When housing values increase, some homeowners think that this is the perfect time to refinance their home and use the equity to buy things such as a RV, boat, new vehicle, do home upgrades, or clear up household debt (such as credit cards, etc.). However, using your home as an ATM machine can be very dangerous. Although house prices have increased considerably over the past several years, events such as a job loss, divorce, illness or job transfer can occur and impact your financial investment. Using your home equity to do home improvements can be a good idea, but it is important to ensure that these upgrades also increase the value of your home and be desirable for a future buyer. A word of advice is to borrow only what you need, don't spend over that amount, and protect your investment from a change in the market which can impact the value of your home.