The Grid Guide to buying your first home

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1332773382_newsThe second you sign the lease on a rental apartment, several people you’re related to (probably the parents; maybe a meddling aunt) will fire off this question: Why pay some other clown’s mortgage when you can have a place of your very own? When you’re 20 and swimming in student debt, it’s a question easily ignored. But then you get older, land a real job, and sock away a bit of cash, and you start thinking that your meddling aunt might be onto something. So you lose a weekend clicking through MLS listings and discover that, last month, the average detached home in the 416 went for $749,000. Scary!

Uncurl yourself from the fetal position: You can still buy a house in this town for much less than that. To get one of those homes, though, you’re going to have to look hard, move fast, and let words like “five-year fixed-interest term” fall effortlessly from your lips. We can’t exactly help you there—but we (or, more accurately, our expert panel) can help ease 10 of the most common newbie concerns. Deep breaths, first-timer, and read on.