Choosing Your Home

Having made the decision to purchase a home, you must determine your price range and the type of home you want to purchase. Knowing how much you can afford for the type of home you want, helps avoid the disappointment finding the perfect home that is just to expensive.

You should start by estimating how much you can afford to spend on a home. When you estimating the costs keep in mind closing costs, amount of down payment, mortgage payment, strata fees, home owners insurance, taxes, and utility bills etc.

To help you decide the type of home you want, you should consider the style of the home you want. Whether you want a new or older home, the square footage, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, whether you want a basement, garage or size of yard, amenities you want, as well as other features you think are important. Keep in mind, which areas you would like to live in, proximity to schools, shopping, recreation and work, what is your price range, and know what your time line is. Quite often the further you are out from the city, the less expensive the home is, but extra traveling expenses may more than make up that difference in cost.

A single-family home gives you more ownership, and more responsibility. A single-family home is often suited for families. Single-family homes usually require more commitment and usually costs more.

A condominium or townhouse offers less ownership but less responsibility. Condominium or townhouse may include services and amenities and will require you to pay strata fees and help make community decisions. Condominium or townhouses usually allow more freedom for the owners and usually cost less money.

Buying an older home is usually less expensive than a comparable new or newer home. Newer or new homes usually have less maintenance costs than an older home. New or newer homes are usually in new neighbourhoods, with younger families, and with less amenities. Older homes usually are less expensive for a comparable home than new homes. Older homes tend to have higher maintenance costs, but are usually in more established neighbourhoods, with older families and with more amenities closer by.

Before you start searching for your home, it's best if you make a list of the features that are most important to you. Divided your list into what you need and what you wish it had if you could afford it lists.

The needs list is the most important. The needs list should have the features that you feel are essential for comfortable living. The need list should include the number of bedrooms, number of bathrooms, size of the yard, two-car garage, near schools, transit routes, work, restaurants, shopping, parks, recreation etc. Keeping this list with you will help you narrow your search for a home. It should help you from being talked into a home that does not meet your needs, and if you are using a realtor, they will know where to focus their efforts to find what is right for you.

The wish list, is not as important as the need list, but will likely be longer. The wish list should contain features that you would like to have in your new home. The list should include things such as, area you want to live, gas or wood fireplace, size of rooms, gourmet kitchen, swimming pool, sauna, southern exposure, view lot, home office, family or games room, landscaped lot, large deck, work shop, shed, fenced lot, etc.

The wish list features can be used to help evaluate and prioritize the homes you have looked at. Keeping a list of different features of each home you have viewed will allow you to compare different homes later so you can compare the different features of each and make an informed decision. If pictures and summary sheet are available, listing the features of the home you have looked at, make sure you get a copy before you leave.

Sample Of Needs and Wish List To Consider For Home

Type of home, single-family home, townhouse, condominium, mobile home, or energy efficiency.
Square footage of home. Basement, split level, crawl space, on slab, or rancher etc.
Number and size of bedrooms and bathrooms, games room, finished basement, workshop etc.
Size of property, direction the home faces (southern exposure usually the most desirable).
Types of appliances and the energy efficiency of the appliances. Laundry facilities.
Heating and cooling systems. Are they energy efficient. Types, furnace, boiler, fireplaces etc.
Special features: landscaping, office, gourmet kitchen, nice finishes, extra space/closets, pool etc.
Proximity to amenities such as park, school, shopping, recreational facilities, transit, etc.
Closeness to work. Extra traveling costs and time away from home, traffic jams etc.
Closeness to family and friends. You may want to be closer or further away.
Can you afford the home and most importantly, will you be happy in your new home.
Is it in an area that has a lower crime rate.