You've worked hard to save for a down payment, and determined how much you can afford to pay. Now comes the fun part of buying a home - choosing one that's right for you and your family.
You've probably heard the old real estate saying, "location, location, location." That statement still holds true because location is one of the most critical factors in buying a home. Even a home that meets all of your needs and wants is probably not the right home for you if it's in the wrong location.
It's important to spend some time thinking about where you want to live before you start searching for a home. For example, ask yourself if you want to live in a city, a town or in the countryside. Be sure to factor in things like commute time and cost from your preferred location to work and about other amenities such as schools or parks.
Next on your list of decisions to make when buying a home is the type of house you want.
Keep in mind that the home you buy should meet most of your needs as much as possible for the next five to 10 years, or be a home that can grow and change with your needs. For example, do you plan to have children, are you close to retirement or will you have an older relative who might come to live with you?
TYPES OF HOMES
With so many types of homes available, including single-family detached, single-family semi-detached, row house (townhouse) or condominium apartment, there's something for every type of homebuyer. The type of home you choose to buy will depend on your resources, needs and wants. It's a good idea to develop a checklist to assist with your decision. CMHC's Home Features Checklist available at cmhc.ca can help you think about what you need today, and what you may need in the future. Your "needs" list will include things like number of bedrooms, size of home, parking facilities or features to accommodate family members with special needs. Your "wants" list refers to special features you'd like to have such as air conditioning or a swimming pool.
FORMS OF OWNERSHIP
Buying a home means you own it as opposed to renting, but there are two forms of home ownership - freehold or condominium. Freehold means that one person (or two, such as joint ownership by spouses) owns the land and house outright. Freehold owners can do what they want with their property - up to a point. They must follow municipal bylaws, subdivision agreements, building codes and federal and provincial laws, such as those protecting the environment. Detached and semi-detached homes, duplexes and townhouses are usually owned freehold.
Condominium ownership means you own the unit you live in and share ownership rights for the common space of the building. Condominium owners together control the common areas through an owners' association.
Ensuring you choose the home that's right for you and your family will require planning and a little bit of homework. CMHC's Homebuying Step by Step: A Consumer Guide and Workbook will lead you through the homebuying process in five simple steps and includes several helpful worksheets and checklists. Get your free copy at cmhc.ca or call 1-800668-2642. For more helpful advice on home ownership, sign up for our free electronic newsletter at www.cmhc. ca/enewsletters. See wants and needs checklist on page H18.
TIP OF THE WEEK!!
Get prepared for your home search by making lists. Start with two columns NEEDS and WANTS, then spend some time writing down everything you can think of. Next, review this list with your realtor. This will educate you on what WANTS you may lose in order to meet your NEEDS. As you begin your home search your budget and location will also determine which of the items on your list will have to sacrifice. Adjust your list as often as possible, its amazing how many NEEDs and WANTs change throughout the process.
Are you looking for a Realtor in Halifax? Thinking it may be the time to sell but arn't quite sure? Thinking about when you should make the move and set out to make a purchase? I can quickly provide complimentry pressure free appraisals or answer any questions you have regarding mortgages, renos and real estate. Contact me or feel free to leave a public comment or question below. Follow me on Twitter and Facebook to see more updates and see what is going on in Nova Scotia real estate.
Jason Shadbolt, BMgt
As a Realtor, Builder and previous Mortgage Specialist, if you have questions, all you have to do is ask!