You’ve decided that you are in a stable and reliable-enough financial situation to embark on the path toward owning a home. This is a hefty decision, one that comes with a multitude of questions that you will have to ask yourself. One such question, which you will face quite early on if not immediately, is: “Where do I want to live?”
Choosing a home to call your own is sometimes a simple affair. Some homeowners have been lucky enough to have the perfect real estate opportunity practically fall into their laps. But that isn’t what you should expect. In fact, your expectation of the search should be that it will be a fairly arduous one, one that will require great attention on your part.
In this guide, we’ll help you figure out the ins and outs of the home search – starting with where to look.
How to Find Homes for Sale
Obviously, you can only choose from the homes that are available to buy now. The homes up for sale change frequently, even daily, across any number of listings. So, keep your eye open on new housing opportunities that weren’t there yesterday! There are quite a few platforms that you can check to keep yourself in the know:
- A real estate agent
- Online home search databases
- Ads in the newspaper
- Homes with “for sale” signs visible
- Social media
A real estate agent is an invaluable asset for many homeowners. This is because these professionals have their fingers on the pulse of the real estate market and know how to put that information to work for you. Still, even if you are working with a real estate agent, the other methods of searching for a new home are pretty useful.
Consider Your Lifestyle
You don’t want a home that will cramp your style. An empty nester with grown and moved-out children, for example, probably doesn’t want to pay for three extra bedrooms that they simply won’t use. Similarly, a couple that plans to start a family shouldn’t settle for a one-bedroom space that won’t accommodate their growth. In addition to the size of your family, here are some other factors that should impact your decision:
- Amenities – Which ones do you insist on (like a pool, fireplace, central air, etc)?
- Location – How far away is work and/or school? Will it be reasonable for you to travel from home to various areas, like grocery shopping and dining?
- Storage – Do you need more storage space, such as an attic or a garage?
You’re going to be in this home for a long time, so it’s best to make sure that it lives up to what you need and expect from the home you purchase.
Understand the Types of Homeownership
Canadian home buyers have many options available to them when they decide to purchase a home. You should know, at the very least, what the most common and accessible options are.
Because you own the standalone building and the land upon which it resides, you are free to essentially do what you’d like with the property overall. This is the most outright form of homeownership, but also leaves homeowners responsible for all maintenance and repair costs.
Condos allow you to enjoy the benefit of owning a home of your own, without being directly responsible for the maintenance and repairs around the place. The condominium corporation will do all of that for you. In exchange, however, there are common areas like gardens and elevators that are not owned by a single individual. You must share ownership with other condo residents.
In a co-op, you essentially purchase part of a building and then are assigned into a space of your own. Apartments are some of the most common forms of co-operative living in Canada. Should you decide on this form of homeownership, understand that you need to pay a minimum of a 20% down payment. Mortgage insurance isn’t available for co-ops.
We understand that the above information is a lot to take into consideration, but it is important to understand what you’ve got before you prior to making a final choice.