Whether you’re buying your first home – or are a seasoned homeowner – here are some tips to help you decide what kind of home you truly want next.
You may have to move for age-related reasons, illness, death of a partner, empty nesting or divorce…
You may need to upgrade to a bigger home because your family is growing or you are now taking care of aging relatives. You may simply have to move because you have a new job in a different area…
Here’s another type of scenario. Your finances have improved and so you can now afford a better type of house.
If you’ve purchased property before, or talked to anyone who has, you’ll know there are several things you must do at the outset. So many things it could make your head spin.
With thoughtful, strategic planning you can be a step ahead of the game. Of the many time-sensitive tasks that must be done once you decide on a home to buy.
So here it is. The only guide you’ll ever need when choosing a new home in Toronto.
Location, Location, Location
Step one is deciding where you want to buy a property.
Try to get a feel for the neighbourhood. Look for clues that people might have similar values, interests, ages, and family structure as yours. Ask yourself if it’s an area that you genuinely want to live in. Is being close to work, family or a specific school for your children important for you?
Drop into the local police detachment. They can give you an idea of the crime rate in this area.
Even if you feel 100% sure this is where you want to hang your hat for the next chapter of your life, think of other possibilities. For example, imagine living in a larger home in a less expensive area. Would that be a better choice for you and your family?
Here are 3 more questions about location to guide you in choosing a new home.
- Is this area up and coming…or is it losing value for some reason?
- Are there any new projects proposed that could impact you and/or your family’s enjoyment of the area?
- Any projects proposed that could impact the area’s value?
- Is this area near enough to schools, shopping, and/or work?
Factor in the cost of new furniture, drapes, appliances, and renovations when you calculate the cost of the home you’re considering.
Think about these 4 questions to help you assess the affordability of the home you’re considering.
- Would you have enough money to cover the mortgage, maintenance, necessary renovations and still have a comfortable lifestyle?
- Would you still be able to pay your mortgage and other bills if there were a change in you or your spouse’s job situation?
- Would the utilities bankrupt you? Energy costs across Canada are getting out of hand. Ask the current owner to show you utility bills for the past year. Then you’ll know what to budget for.
- Would you be better off buying an income property?
Whatever your situation, it’s always wise to get pre-approved for a mortgage before you start looking at homes. Then you’ll know what budget to work within.
Need for Comfort
Consider how well the house meets your comfort needs. Buying a home to live in might also be a great financial investment. But it’s a smart choice only if it also meets your needs for home comforts.
If you need a quiet environment, noise could prevent you from being comfortable in your new home. Ask yourself how much environmental noise you’d be able to tolerate on a regular basis. Then check out the neighbourhood for potential noise.
There’s no guarantee that a developer won’t come along and change your neighbourhood after you’ve bought your house. But you can do your best to prevent buyer’s remorse.
Let’s say you don’t want to live anywhere near heavy commercial development. Go to City Hall to ask about potential new commercial zoning in any given part of the city.
Lastly, remember to check the home’s proximity to open subway tracks, trains or major roadways. If you don’t want to hear even a faint hum of traffic, make sure you can’t hear it from your prospective home.
Don’t forget the things in life that make you happy. You’re buying a home, not an address – it should reflect your lifestyle.
Love hiking? Maybe a house in the city centre wouldn’t be the best choice.
Do you have frequent visitors? An extra bedroom or a den with a pull out couch might be in order.
Does the house “speak” to you? If it doesn’t give you a good feeling the instant you walk in, it’s probably not the one for you.
Spend a little time digging to find answers to these questions.
One more thing – congratulations on your decision to buy your new home in Toronto!
If you’d still like to talk to a professional, a real life guide who can help you get through this daunting event, call me – Lea Barclay – at 416-834-3688.