Buying your first home is an amazing accomplishment. While moving up from a condo to a home comes with many new benefits and responsibilities, there are a few factors of homeownership that often go unconsidered by first-time buyers. To help you avoid surprises, here 5 changes new homeowners often don’t expect when upsizing.
1. PREPARING FOR WINTER
Winter weather is undeniably a big part of life in Canada. Many first-time homeowners underestimate the steps required to keep their home and property prepared for the colder months. For example, forgetting to empty your garden hose before the first frost can cause damage. It’s also essential to ensure any outdoor furniture is covered up to protect it from the elements.
During the winter months, ensuring your sidewalk is shovelled and free of ice is not only essential but required by law. Stocking up on snow-clearing items like salt, shovels or even electric blowers in the summer or fall is a great way to avoid stress during the first snowfall. Hiring a snow removal company is also a great option. Hiring and scheduling a contractor will require some coordination on your end, but the reward is well worth the effort.
2. NO MORE CONDO BOARD
When you live in a condo, the board serves as your primary advocate surrounding the upkeep and management of your building. This means that the process of budgeting and planning for the future is a shared responsibility between board members. As a homeowner, you’ll be the primary decision-maker when it comes to your property. This can mean more freedom with how you enjoy your home, but it can also mean more work when it comes to planning. No condo board means that budgeting for repairs, maintenance and other considerations is entirely up to you.
3. OUTDOOR MAINTENANCE
If you’ve got a green thumb, the idea of your own green space such as a backyard can be exciting. However, maintaining your outdoor property is a big responsibility beyond simply mowing the lawn. Overgrown tree branches or roots can impact neighbouring property and make you potentially liable for any damage. Ensuring you’re familiar with local bylaws when it comes to maintaining your new outdoor space is a great first step.
If you have a larger front or back yard, hiring a great landscaping company can help you manage yard work and make your property look even better. Pools and hot tubs also require regular cleaning and maintenance. Like landscaping, finding a contractor to manage this can also make things easier.
4. GARBAGE DAY
Without the convenience of waste chutes, one of the most common changes that come with a learning curve for new homeowners is garbage day. Forgetting about garbage day can leave your trash cans overflowing, attracting raccoons or other pests. Sorting between trash, organics and recycling is also an important consideration as blue and black bins are collected on alternating weeks. The TOwaste app is a great way for new homeowners to set reminders for garbage day and find useful information on sorting their waste.
5. NO MORE ELEVATOR
This one may seem obvious, but the truth is that elevators contribute more to the day-to-day condo life than appears on the surface. No elevator means fewer impromptu conversations with your neighbours – for better or for worse. They also make moving things in and out of your condo a breeze. Carrying a new couch up to your second floor may make you wish you still had elevator access. On the upside, not having to wait for a slow or busy elevator means no extra time getting to and from your front door.
Transitioning from a condo to a home will come with new challenges and freedoms. While these new considerations and responsibilities may seem daunting, an expert real estate agent can help you navigate the process and make your first home purchase a success.
Article by: CHRISTENSEN