The Big Decision for First-Time Buyers

Dated: August 27 2021

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The Big Decision for First-Time Buyers

First-time homebuyers face a myriad of choices when it comes to narrowing the search for their first home.  How much money to spend?  Which neighbourhood?  Downtown or suburbs?  These are all tough choices, and for some first-time buyers, another difficult decision is whether to put money down on a condominium or single-family home.  Some buyers know exactly what they want, while others need to do some serious soul searching and weighing of pros and cons to determine the best choice for their first home.

The Howard Team has worked with hundreds of first-time buyers over the years and we know how to ask the right questions to guide undecided buyers toward the choice that suits their budget and complements their long and short-term goals. We can educate them on the advantages and disadvantages of each choice and the intricacies of condo associations, maintenance fees and home maintenance.  Most importantly, we help them make the choice that is the best fit for their preferred lifestyle.  Here are a few of the questions we start with.

How long do you plan to stay in the home?

If you do not plan on owning your first property for more than 5 years, long-term goals are of less importance and can take a back seat to short-term considerations.  In this case, the best choice may well be the property that offers the best chance for rapid appreciation in the local market.  Based on statistical analysis and current trends, we can advise clients which neighbourhoods and type of housing are most likely to hold their value or appreciate.

What is your total budget for home ownership?

In many instances, condos are the more economical alternative and an excellent choice for first-time buyers looking to get the most house they can within the confines of their budget. Especially in Calgary, condos are a logical choice for many young, first-time buyers.   Nevertheless, it is critical that as a buyer you understand how to estimate the total cost of home ownership for condos vs. single-family homes so there are no surprises post-closing.

Do you have children or do you plan on starting a family?

Nowadays, when it comes to growing a family, it is not so much a question of how many kids you plan to have, but rather, how you plan to raise them.  The migration back to cities and downtown living is populated with many families choosing urban over suburban lifestyle.  Others still yearn for the extra square footage and freedom afforded by a single-family home with a backyard.  Fortunately, the Calgary market offers a wide range of options to suit almost everyone.

 What are your favourite leisure time activities?

This is probably the most important question and the tipping point for many buyers on the fence as to condo vs. single-family home.  Is your idea of a perfect Saturday afternoon tending to your large garden or visiting a museum? Would you rather be renovating your kitchen or snowboarding in your spare time?  How far are you willing to commute to work? Do weekend visits to a big box home improvement store leave you giddy with anticipation or bored silly?  These are lifestyle questions to help you determine if you are a condo or house person?   If you find yourself uncertain and leaning in both directions, it might be prudent to start your real estate venture with a condo, see how that feels and then move on to a single-family home down the road if it feels right.

Buying a first home is a life-changing event that merits careful thought and consideration.  Before launching your search for your starter home, sit down with an experienced Realtor to make sure you are heading in the right direction for you and your family.

Are you looking to Sell or Buy a home in Calgary and need someone who won’t rest until you’ve found your dream home or until your home is sold? I’ll work hard to earn your trust and to deliver exactly what you need. Contact me at 403-589-0004 or at

About Bryon Howard

Bryon Howard and his team of Calgary real estate professionals sell an average of two homes a week. He is a member of the MLS Million Point Club, which ranks him roughly in the top 1% of productive realtors in Calgary. His aim is not just to please clients but to help them buy/sell a home in Calgary at the best price, in the shortest time, and with the least hassle. He is a member of the RE/MAX House of Real Estate that leads in the Canadian market. Learn more about Bryon at

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Bryon Howard

From a very young age, I had determined that I wanted to be in the eco-tourism / adventure business. I would take small groups of people into communities in interesting parts of the world. I would ass....

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