What Should You Buy?

You need to think about your current and future needs before you start searching for a home. Now that you are ready to buy, learn how to find the homes with the right size, price, neighbors, schools, location, services - and much more. Here are some things to consider:

  • Size requirements. Is the house the right size for your needs and does it have the right combination of bedrooms, bathrooms and other living areas? Is that small closetless den really big enough for your child's bedroom? Is one bathroom adequate and if not, what are the real costs and headaches of adding a second one? Does the kitchen have enough cupboard and countertop space? Is the garage wide enough and deep enough for your vehicles? Will your piano really fit in that alcove near the staircase?
  • Resale potential. People move to a new home every seven years, on average. If you wanted to sell your home or were forced by unexpected circumstances to sell it, how easy would it be to find a ready, willing and able buyer?
  • Features. Some buyers fall in love with pricey home amenities that seem attractive and desirable at the time, but later prove to be more headache and less pleasure than the buyers anticipated. Do you really want a swimming pool? High-maintenance ornamental trees? Commercial-grade built-in kitchen appliances? Expensive hardwood floors? Some homes are easier to visit than they are to own.
  • Comfort. Does the house have a central heating system? A central air-conditioning system? Are those climate controls important to you? Are the windows large enough and positioned to create cross ventilation? If the house has two stories, are you comfortable with the idea of walking up and down stairs every day? Is there a downstairs bathroom (and bedroom, if needed) for guests who can't navigate the stairs?
  • Style. Is the design and architecture of the house too modern or too traditional for your preferences in furniture and home furnishings?
  • Lifestyles and stages. Do you plan to have children? Do you have teenagers who will be moving away soon? Are you close to retirement? Will you need a home that can accommodate different stages of life?

Can the home grow with you over the next 5 to 10 years? Find a home that can grow and change with your needs. If you don't plan to be in the home for a long period of time, then certain aspects of the home may not concern you, such as extended stairs or location from other amenities.

Which Location Is Right for Me?

Location is an ultimate decision maker when searching for a home. Usually it helps to decide where you want to live prior to searching for homes. Some questions to ask before settling on a location are:

  • Whether you can afford a home in that location (I.e. Downtown vs. Burnaby).
  • Whether you want to live in a city, a town or in the countryside.
  • Where you work, how easy it will be to get there and the commuting costs.
  • Where your children will attend school and how they will get there.
  • Whether you need a safe walking area or recreational facilities such as a park nearby.
  • How close you would like to be to family and friends.

New Home, Previously Owned or Build Your Own?

When thinking about the kind of home you want, the first thing you should consider is whether you want a previously owned home (often called a resale) or a new home. Here are some characteristics that may help you decide:

New Home

  • Modern design.
  • Personalized choices.
  • Up-to-date with the latest codes/standards.
  • Decreased maintenance costs.
  • Builder warranty.
  • Neighbourhood amenities.
  • Taxes such the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) will apply. However, you may qualify for a rebate of part of the amount. For more information about the HST New Housing Rebate program.
  • Extra costs. You may have to pay extra if you want to add additional finishing features. Make sure you know exactly what's included in the price of your home.

Resale Home

  • You can see what you are buying.
  • Landscaping is usually done and fencing installed.
  • No GST/HST.
  • Possible redecorating and renovations.

Deciding on the Type of Home to Buy

When searching for a home to buy, you must also look at the type of home that suits your needs. You have many options and the ultimate decision maker may be affordability. Listed below are examples of the types of homes offered:

  • Single-family Detached.
  • Duplex.
  • Townhouse.
  • Link or Carriage Home.
  • Condominium.
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