Buyer: How to Find THE Place I Can Call “Home”

8 06 2010

Attention all home buyers: You are Unique! Buying your first home can be intimidating because it’s a lot of money that you’re investing into that you’re not very familiar with. People might tell you that you can’t be picky if you want to buy a house. This isn’t the case. You have your own interests, needs, wants, and a personal lifestyle. These are generally different from everyone else that you know, include those that give you advice. So here are a few things to consider, their pros and cons to help filter out what to look for in your dream home!

Area or Neighbourhood

Rural:

  • Pros: Usually more affordable. Larger lots. Less neighbours. More privacy.
  • Cons: Longer drive to town/city center. Further away from everything. Increase in commute time.

Suburbs:

  • Pros: Often newer housing. Subdivisions with similar style homes lower the cost of production so housing is more affordable.
  • Cons: More traffic driving into and around town. Less privacy.

Urban:

  • Pros: Closer (walking distance or transit systems) to more companies, work places, employers, schools, hospitals, entertainment, services, etc.
  • Cons: Loud noises. More crime. Less affordable.

Main Streets:

  • Pros: Homes are cheaper on a busy street. Convenient.
  • Cons: Noise may affect sleep.

Cul-de-Sac (Court):

  • Pros: Children safe area (minimal traffic), neighbourhood watch.
  • Cons: Less private, because of neighbourhood watch.

Corner Lot:

  • Pros: Larger shaped lots (Front yard). Fewer neighbours, more visible.
  • Cons: More traffic. More landscaping. Pedestrians crossing over your lawn.

Type of Dwelling

Detached single family dwelling:

  • Pros: Great investment, consistent appreciation. More yard for landscaping to customize and personalize your home.
  • Cons: More expensive than other types of dwelling. More maintenance.

Condominiums, Lofts, Townhouses:

  • Pros: Costs less to own than detached house. Generally fewer repairs. Minimum maintenance. More ammenities.
  • Cons: Less private, more noise, more aromas, common walls/halls/floors/ceilings,  lack of maintenance in common areas, etc.

Different Levels

Single level

  • Pros: Easy access for individuals who aren’t mobile enough to go up and down different floors. Easier to maintain.
  • Cons: More of the lot is taken by the house.

Two or Three level homes

  • Pros: More living area.
  • Cons: A lot of walking up and down the stairs. Laundry, vacuum, cleaning, temperature control, can be difficult going up and down the stairs.

Multi-Level:

  • Pros: Less expensive. Basement can be converted into recreation rooms. More living area on same lot size.
  • Cons: Less storage area and kitchens tend to be smaller.

Basic Needs

Number of bedrooms:

  • Most common bedrooms are 3 in a house.
  • 2 bedrooms appeal more to young professionals, single or couples, and seniors.

Number of bathrooms:

  • More than one bathroom can fetch you much more money on a resale than a unit with a single bathroom.
  • If a property has one bathroom and there is space to add a second bathroom, that could be a great opportunity to add value to the house.

Size:

  • Pros: Larger square footage offers more living space and generally costs less per square foot than smaller places.
  • Cons: Floor plans are more important than square footage. Size doesn’t matter, Layout is more important.

Car ports (Garages)

Attached:

  • Pros: Convenient
  • Cons: More noise inside from garage opener and cars.

Detached:

  • Pros: Hidden from the main building.
  • Cons: More costly to build. Walk to and from car is exposed to the elements.

Other Needs/Wants to Consider

  • School areas, bus routes, transit, highway access
  • Other features like fireplaces, pools, gym, recreation rooms, etc.
  • Condition of plumbing, electrical, furnace, heating, cooling units, etc.
  • Handy-man special: a contractor’s dream home, save a lot of money buying a fixer-upper for cheap, sell it for more with the repairs/upgrades.
  • “Green” homes
  • Distance from closest services (dry cleaning, groceries, etc)

What are your “must have’s” and what are your “must not have’s” in your dream home?

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