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What I Wish I Knew Before Buying My First House: Part 3 of 4

Lessons From a First Time Home Buyer

In this series we’ll be diving into some experiences from a first time home buyer to gather some tips and strategies that you can leverage for your first or next home purchase. Below's interview is a continuation of the conversation I had with my friend Elliot Hamilton-Boucher. Elliot is a Procurement professional who works for the BC Wildfire Service in Prince George BC. He provides the contracting and purchasing expertise necessary for the Prince George Fire Centre to coordinate fire prevention and forest fire response in Northern BC. As a first-time home buyer, Elliot was gracious enough to allow me to interview him and ask a bunch of questions about his personal experience.

Question 4: Are there any things you wish you knew prior to making your first purchase?

John: Are there any things you wish you knew prior to making your first purchase?

Elliot: I think the main thing I wish I knew were building types for each era After buying I found a source of building types for different eras. It is really helpful in understanding building codes then versus now, things like asbestos use, and electrical and plumbing building code requirements. Having this earlier would have helped me a lot in estimating futures costs.

The other thing, I wish I knew, was to not trust property listing write ups. These can sometimes have mistakes in them and if you don’t catch these mistakes you might be stuck buying something that has a problem or feature you weren’t aware of and didn’t want. For example, we found one property that was listed as being hooked up to the city sewer, but upon looking at the property in person we realized that it actually had septic and wasn’t connected to the city sewer. This taught me that you really need to do your own homework and confirm the big stuff with any property.

Question 5: Are there any things you wish you had done when making your first purchase?

John: Are there any things you wish you had done when making your first purchase?

Elliot: Yeah, although I have no regrets about the home we purchased, I really wish I had spent more time inspecting and assessing each property. Knowing what I know now, there are a few things I would have done differently:

  • I would have made sure to join the home inspection. Our home inspector charged extra for me to be there, and I really should have accepted this extra cost or moved on to a different inspector. Although they did a good job, I ended up catching things that are more of an issue for me than a home inspector.

  • I also would have given myself more time to view each property and scheduled a second visit for any properties I was really interested in and made a point to visit at different times of the day to see how lighting and noise changes.

  • And I would have done a deeper dive on the home inspection itself. For example, in the future I would want to ask for a list of the seller’s renovations, this would point me in the right direction so I could identify if there are any persistent issues (i.e. faulty wiring or plumbing issues. I think it would have been good to get a dangerous material assessment test with the inspection. The seller we bought from was easy to negotiate with and I’m confident I could have obtained a sample for testing. Although we haven’t found any dangerous material concerns with our recent purchase, you never know if you’re going to buy another property.

  • Also, I would have liked to have gotten a survey pin finder to confirm pins in place. That would give me a good estimate of where the property boundaries are without having to pay a huge amount for a survey.

  • Finally, I think I would have had the ducts cleaned before moving in. This would have saved us a lot of hassle with having to deal with this after we had moved all-of our stuff and ourselves into our new home.

John: These are some good suggestions. It sounds like you would have been a lot more thorough and less concerned about bothering the seller’s if you could do it all over again.

Elliot: That’s right, in the future I’ll want to spend more time kicking the tires like a dad checking a used car for their kids. Not to be so Canadian that I was afraid to really look- especially since the space was empty. I will barely move in someone else's space. Not saying to move around like you own the place- but you can move as if you are about to drop money and buy it. Get comfortable looking!

That’s it for now, when we return, we’ll get into some final thoughts and suggestions for anyone looking to buy a home.

Stay tuned for Part 4!


I am a Victoria based local realtor with eXp Kiteke. My commitment to honesty, integrity, loyalty and hard work have been important pillars for me because they drive a high standard of excellent service for my clients. Helping you realize your dream is my goal!

I service Vancouver Island, but my focus is on: Victoria, Sooke, Saanich, Malahat, Shawnigan Lake, Cobble Hill, Duncan, and the rest of the Cowichan Valley.



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