Things I wish I knew when I bought my first home

Buying your first home is probably one of the most exciting and empowering decisions you make as an adult. It's also one of those things where you look back and think, “I wish I knew then what I know now.”

We asked Pam, our VP of Underwriting Initiatives, to tell us about her experience with buying her first home and the lessons she took away from it.

Tell us about the first place you ever owned.
It was a little semi-detached house in the Ottawa suburbs – an older place, I think it was built in the sixties. It definitely had a lot of “character.” It also had a crazy-high mortgage rate of 13%!

Did you go in knowing exactly what you wanted?
Not really. I mean, I knew I didn't want to live on a busy street because we were newly married and wanted to start family… but that's about it. More than anything we just wanted to stop spending our money on rent.

You know we have to ask about insurance…
At the time, I was just starting out in the insurance business so it wasn't a total mystery. I think I just had a comprehensive policy since that generally covers most losses.

So looking back, what do you know now that you wish you knew then?
I wish I'd had a better understanding of the unique challenges of owning an older home. Once we moved in, we discovered all kinds of fun things like light switches that sparked when you turned them on and critters living in the attic! It was definitely cheaper to buy an older place but it took a lot of work (and money) to get the wiring and plumbing up to current code.

What advice would you give to your 20-something self?
If you're buying a resale home, it's very important to get a home inspection first!

Old or new, your home needs insurance. Check out our coverage and Get a quote.