Historically over the last 25 years real estate values have increased on average at a rate of between 1% to 3% per year. That is to say that if you purchased a home valued at $300,000 today, and took reasonably good care of it, at this time next year it could be valued at between $303,000 to $309,000 (based on the 25 year average) and the same the next year and the next, or maybe more! One thing I tell people is that your real estate broker will never call you one day and tell you your investment has disappeared; but your stock broker might. It is my opinion that owning real estate in Lethbridge is one of the best and safest investments you could make.
Only you can make that decision. In the past however, prices occasionally have been seen to increase by substantial amounts over short periods of time. By the time you save the money for a larger down payment, the market may have moved further away from you.
Unlike other investments, the disposition of (and gain on) your principle residence is not subject to either capital gains or income tax. In addition, if you work out of your home, a certain portion of your household expenses can be deducted from your income tax. Consult your tax accountant for more details.
Home Inspection is a specialized skill and there are inspectors who have expertise in this area. The cost for getting real estate inspected depends upon the detailed level of inspection desired. There are different types of inspections that can be performed, though not all buyers get all types of inspections done.