With even more single women, divorced people and young people buying houses on their own, it's great to have a guide to what you should look for as a solo homebuyer.

Choose Your Budget

Budget is everything when you first start to look for a home. It's so much more than a monthly mortgage payment, so make sure to do your research on how much taxes, home insurance, home maintenance, repairs, utilities and other costs will add up to.

Getting pre-approval is a really important step as well. Pre-approval tells you how much you qualify for, so you know what your budget really is. Nothing is more disappointing than thinking you can buy an amount that you cannot qualify for. It's also safer to stay within your means in case something like illness or layoffs change your monthly cash flow. Stick to your budget, not the maximum that the bank offers you.

Choose the Right Community

Finding the right community for you can be one of the fun parts of your house hunt, and should be done early on. Tour a number of communities to see what you like. Talk to people or pop on the community social media pages to see what they like and dislike about the community. Are outdoor spaces and pathways important? Do you want to be able to walk to grab a cup of coffee or some grocery essentials? Do you want to have a quick commute to work? Do you want to be close to family and friends?

Once you've landed on a few communities you like, find out more about other community events and amenities, and see if there are any Homeowner Association (HOA) or other fees associated, and add those into your budget. Also, check out crime rates to see if you will feel safe in your community.

Choose the Right Home

A great way to narrow down your home needs to think about your needs now and later. Make a wish list to see what your main priorities are now, but keep in mind your budget and how big you want your home to be. The bigger you can afford, the better for resale down the line, but also for having the ability to get a roommate or renters later too.

What features are you looking for? Look at ways to ensure privacy and security, know how much they cost. Alarm systems, blinds, fences, secured parking, windows and doors all add value and safety to your purchase.

Consider how much maintenance you want to do too. Do you dread mowing a lawn and clearing snow? Then a condo or townhome might be right for you. Are you excited about planting a garden? Single family with a yard will work!

Get Help from a Trusted Source

Whether it's friends, family, a realtor, or someone else you trust, getting advice from others who have been through the buying process is key. They will help point out common pitfalls and issues, and suggest things that you might take for granted, but not know to ask about.

In the end, make sure you are happy with your decision for a home and community. You're the one who will be paying the bills and living in the home, so it has to be right for you!

To find out more about buying with Stepper Homes, visit one of our community sales centres today!