Finding the right home for you and your loved ones really comes down to three chief factors:
- Affordability: Does the home fit into your budget? Have you determined the financing you can qualify for through a mortgage pre-approval? Have you factored in mortgage insurance, utilities and heating expenses, association fees and taxes?
- Lifestyle: Is the home located in an area within the proximity of the amenities you and your family require? Is the lot large enough for your pet(s)? Will owning this home impede you from doing the things you love doing? Are you close enough to work, family and friends?
- Future Needs: Are kids a possibility in the future? Is the home large enough for a family? Is the basement developed? Are there schools nearby? Or, if you are close to retirement, is the home too large? Are there too many stairs and floors in the home to negotiate?
These three weighty considerations will vastly help you to narrow down the home buying search. A home purchase should not leave you house poor. Make sure there is room in your financial plan for emergencies, leisure and your retirement fund.
Real estate agents and mortgage brokers are available to make the hunt easier. A mortgage broker will pinpoint your budget and secure the best mortgage rate available for you for up to 90 days while you shop the housing market. A professional real estate agent will consider your home needs and show you only homes that fit both the budget and requirements you have given them.
Stay on track. Rule out homes that exceed your budget or will present problems down the line. If it is possible that you will need another bedroom in a few years, look for a home that accommodates that.
If you are shopping for a condominium or townhouse, ensure that you know what the association fees are and what they include. Condominium fees can sometimes equate a monthly rent, and not provide more than common area maintenance. Assure you are comfortable with the fees and that the services they provide are beneficial.
Lastly, remember to consider safety. Is the house located on a corner lot? On a busy street? What are the crime rates in the area? Are surrounding property values appreciating in value? Always make an offer on an aged home contingent on the results of a Canadian home inspection.
Try to minimize your viewings to only three per day, and take pictures and notes on the features you like, or the items you think could pose concerns in the future. As emotional as the home buying process becomes, take a step back and employ rationale and mathematics into the process. Home ownership is very rewarding, and can make for the best investment one makes in their life. Just ensure that the home is within your financial means and will accommodate your lifestyle and future needs before you make a legally binding offer.