Research a home before purchasing

perfect homeMagnifying glass

Buying a home is a large investment. Between home loans, mortgage rates and closing costs, it's important to make sure that the property you're investing in is worth your time and money. However, some Canadians allow their emotions to get in the way of sound financial decisions.

A recent article from The Ottawa Citizen details ways in which homebuyers may leave logic at the door and let their excitement run away with them.

"[A] study published in the Journal of Advertising Research in 2002 said emotions can be twice as important as knowledge in consumer buying decisions," writes Patrick Langston for the news source. "Subsequent research has determined that the role of emotion in buying situations varies by individual and circumstance, but there's no doubt that, overall, it's a critical factor in consumer behaviour."

Many buyers may like to think that important details like price and location would be their prime concerns, but according to June Cotte, who teaches marketing at Western University's Ivey Business School, this is not always the case. Continue reading

Understanding different types of properties

No two home buyers are the same. While most individuals find themselves walking a similar path to homeownership, one involving mortgage rates and home loans, their wants and needs are always unique. One buyer may be seeking a smaller property that will require minimal upkeep. Meanwhile, a newlywed couple might be searching for a starter home they can use to start a family.  For Canadian home buyers of all stripes, one of the most important questions is: What type of home do I want? In order to answer that, individuals must understand the different types of properties available and what they offer.

Single-family detached
Detached single-family homes are the most common types of properties. They can come in many styles and floor plans, including multiple levels. These homes typically feature a front yard, back yard and garage. Since it is detached, these homes are not a part of any other property and offer more privacy than other types of homes. Continue reading

Buying an energy efficient home

energy efficiencyMagnifying glass

Purchasing a property is a major life decision, so it only make sense that home buyers would want to ensure that their financial investment makes sense in the long run. One way to do so is by ensuring that they're purchasing an energy efficient home. Energy efficient homes are designed to reduce energy consumption, as well as other environmentally-unfriendly things like greenhouse gas emissions and nonrenewable resources. Properties can either be built from the ground up with energy efficiency in mind, or existing homes can be renovated to make them more energy efficient.

Determining energy efficiency
One of the simplest ways to determine a property's energy efficiency is to find out its EnerGuide rating. EnerGuide compares properties and rates energy performance on a scale of zero to 100. The higher the score, the better a home's energy efficiency.   Continue reading

Homes are more than just possessions for Canadians

Magnifying glass

Most purchases are for transitory goods. Picking up the latest electronic toy might be fun, but in the end, it’s an ephemeral buy, something to be traded in as soon as a new upgrade is available. Buying a home, on the other hand, represents a much longer-term investment. A house is where you lay your head down at night, where you raise a family, where memories are created and shared. Of course, it’s also a more expensive purchase than your average phone or television. The point is, homes are more than just possessions, they’re investments.

According to a new poll from Scotiabank, most Canadians agree.

Data from the poll shows that 77 percent of Canadians view their homes as investments rather than expenses. When broken down by region, the number of homeowners who consider their houses investments is highest in Manitoba/Saskatchewan, Quebec and Alberta.

When you take this outlook into account, it’s easy to see why household debt continues to be a topic of contention across the country. If homebuyers see their purchases as investments for the future, chances are they won’t be turned off by incurring debt. Interestingly enough however, the Scotiabank poll also found that nearly half of Canadian homeowners have done away with mortgage debt. Continue reading

Maintain a home’s value by keeping up with seasonal projects

seasonal home maintenanceMagnifying glass

Fall in Canada means different things to different people. For some, it's a reminder that Halloween is just around the corner; for others, it means local fall brews and pumpkin ales line the store shelves; and for most homeowners, it means extra work. A lot of it, actually.

This isn't to say that all seasons don't come with their own season-specific struggles for Canadian homeowners; however, fall and winter preparations may be important considerations that directly affect a home's value. What potential first-time buyer wants to deal with a leaky basement or unreliable furnace pilot light when they are house hunting, especially if the problems could have been fixed early or even prevented?

With lower-than-ever interest rates and an active housing market, it's more important than ever for homeowners to prepare their homes for possible sale. Not only is an efficient homestead more appealing for buyers searching a competitive market, but it will be a lot more enjoyable for the current homeowners while they are still living in the home – even if does add up to be a lot of work. Continue reading

Upgrading houses and properties not limited to growing families

Large homeMagnifying glass

Empty nesters – the people who got their kids up and out of the house with time left to enjoy their freedom – have a lot of options on their plates. These options may include the decision to buy a leather jacket and motorcycle; spending quality time traveling the globe if the empty nest is accompanied with retirement; or selling their empty nests in favor of a fancy RV or cozy country cottage.

However, some empty nesters are turning everyone's notion of traditional empty nesters on its head by actually buying a bigger house. OK, so there are three unused bedrooms in this house – why not add a few more into the mix?

Naturally, some people think this is crazy, but it seems to actually be a growing trend. According to a recent article in The New York Times, empty nesters are adding space in the form of home renovations and entirely new properties. In short, they are spending hard-earned money on the properties their hearts really desire. Continue reading

Edmonton neighborhood named one of the best for old homes

EdmontonMagnifying glass

The Highlands neighborhood located in the northeast section of Edmonton, Alberta, has been recognized as one of the top spots for old homes in North America, according to the Edmonton Journal.

This Old House magazine recognized the Highlands as one of the nation's 10 best for old homes and is one of 61 neighborhoods in North America to be been honored for their craftsmanship, architectural diversity, community amenities and more, the news source states.

“It’s a special neighborhood, it exerts a special pull on people,” Ken Tingley, the city reigning historian laureate, who is finishing a history of the neighborhood, told the news source. “Since the beginning of the community, many people have lived there for a number of generations, or have grown up there, gone away, and then returned.” Continue reading

As more Canadians retire, home care reform needed

Home careMagnifying glass

According to a new study by the Institute for Research on Public Policy, federal and provincial governments in Canada must develop a long-term home care plan to contend with an aging population.

With an increasing number of Canadians set to reach retirement, the study calls for a home care system that is incorporated with other services like residential care, health and social support and community services. The goal for the proposed changes is a health insurance system designed to make it simple for individuals needing care to shift between services. Continue reading

Canadians need to be increasingly aware of homes’ past

SoldMagnifying glass

A recent article in The Montreal Gazette explained that Canadian homeowners need to be aware of their residence's past, as an increasing number of owners have stumbled upon disturbing facts about their properties.

According to the article, one family in Maple Ridge, British Columbia, recently bought a home, understanding that a small drug ring had operated out of the property prior to purchasing it. However, after looking at provincial court and municipal documents for the first time after moving in, they were shocked to realize the operation was much larger. Furthermore, city inspectors had ordered a large-scale cleaning process to rid the home of its former products. Continue reading

Majority of Canadians planning to stay put after retirement

HouseMagnifying glass

According to a recent survey conducted by Ipsos Reid for HomEquity Bank, a majority of Canadians are planning to remain in their current homes after they retire.

Of the 1,054 Canadians between the ages of 45 and 60, 61 percent stated they plan to stay in their current home as long as possible after they enter their post-career lives. The percentage was significantly higher for current retirees, of which 78 percent expressed the same sentiment.

The survey also showed the average Canadian plans to retire by the age of 61, however, nearly half of the respondents claimed they were not financially prepared currently to do so. Of those claiming they plan to stay in their current residences as long as possible, 36 percent stated they would consider leveraging their home equity to make this possible. Continue reading