First, decide where you want to live
- Urban: Ahh, the big city. Sure the prices are generally higher, but you can walk to a restaurant, or maybe even to work. You’ll also have the widest range of housing options.
- Suburban: Newer schools, newer shopping centres, bigger yards, bigger homes. No wonder so many people love the suburbs.
- Smaller Cities and Towns:
Canada is dotted with thousands of wonderful self-contained communities. And compared to the big city, you can save a bundle.
- Rural: If you like the idea of owning land, how about a few acres all to yourself? Seclusion is not for everybody, but for some, it’s heaven.
Next, decide what type of home you want
- Single-family detached: As the name implies, the home is not attached to the home next door. Styles range from a single-story suburban bungalow, to a three-story Victorian.
- Semi-detached or linked: Two houses that share a common wall. Usually less money than a fully detached home.
- Duplex: A building zoned for two families.
- Town house: Also known as terrace or row housing. Several homes with a common style and joined in a row. They usually share walls on both sides.
The Condo Alternative
- How Condos are owned
You’ll own 100% of your unit, and a share of the common areas, including necessary plumbing, electrical systems, hallways and elevators. They may also include lots of fun stuff like a private gym or party room.
- Condo fees. Membership has privileges — and costs
On top of your mortgage and property taxes, condo owners also pay a monthly fee to operate and maintain the common areas. Be sure to look into condo fees, and how well they’re managed, before signing anything.
New or resale?
- Resale. Previously loved
Nothing can match the charm and character of an older home. As a bonus, the previous owner may have made improvements and upgrades that you get along with the house, usually for less than the cost of putting them in yourself. However, some homes may have a little too much ‘character’, like a leaky roof. Know what you’re getting into. It’s wise to work with a knowledgeable REALTOR®, and as we cover in Step 10 don’t buy a resale home without a Home Inspection.
- Ahh… that new house smell
If you’re having a new home built from the bottom up, carefully examine the property, the blueprints and visit other homes built by the same company. Have your REALTOR® and/or lawyer review everything before you sign. While your home is being built, stay on top of the process. And remember, you have a legal right to make a full inspection of the house before you accept it as complete.
You know what you want, but let’s talk needs
Are you getting out of a two-bedroom apartment because it’s too small? Then your new home should have at least three bedrooms, and probably a second bathroom. REALTORS® call these must-have features “needs”. Features you’d like to have are called “wants”.
Your strategy should be to find a home within your price range that fulfills all or most of your ‘needs’, and as many of your ‘wants’ as possible.
To help you with this, we’ve supplied you with your very own Dream Home Checklist.
Click here to download it.