Finding the Right Home for You

You have made the decision to buy a home.  This could be for a variety of reasons, relocation for work, moving out of your parents home, you don’t want to rent any longer, your family is growing or shrinking or you no longer want to be in the home you are currently in.  To some, this decision can be a straight forward process, while others stress and struggle over every small decision.  It doesn’t matter what the reason, or how you handle it, for everyone it is going to be a different experience.

When the search process begins, many things about the home you are going to purchase can be changed, including style and condition.  The one thing you won’t be able to change (without selling and buying again) unless your new home has wheels, is location.  You may have heard before that real estate is about 3 things.  Location, location, location.  Take careful consideration about location, and how it can impact you down the road.

Urban: Urban communities offer the broadest range of housing types, but generally at higher prices than similar-sized homes in non-urban locations.  Usually smaller sized lots, and plenty of neighbours.

Suburban: The suburbs are typically made up of newer neighbourhoods, schools and shopping centres. Prices may or may not be lower than those of the central city, but you often get more square footage, larger rooms and bigger lots.

Smaller towns and cities: A slower-paced lifestyle and lower taxes and housing prices are often big draws to Ontario’s smaller communities. There are fewer types of homes available and the number for sale could be limited, as well when the time comes to sell, there is a smaller pool of potential purchasers.

Rural: A stream flowing over a few acres sounds appealing and your housing budget will often buy you more in a rural setting than any alternative above.  Remember, there are even less potential buyers in this group, which means your home will more than likely take longer to sell when you decide to.

Features Once you’ve considered the broader location options above, it’s time to think about the features you need and want in a home. Prepare a shopping list. How many bedrooms and bathrooms? One or two-car garage? Large backyard or small? List the features you are looking for as needs or wants.  A good buyer representative will have an in depth buyer consultation for you go over with them to get a good picture of what you are looking for.

Comparing homes and locations Now you want to match the type of home you’d like with the location. Start reading the real estate ads in local newspapers and REALTOR®-produced publications. These ads will give you an idea of the communities that best match your criteria for home and location. Drive through the communities that are likely candidates.

Check out the types of homes available, how well the neighbourhoods are maintained, the availability of schools and shopping, recreational and religious facilities. Be aware of drawbacks: highway noise, train tracks, airports and large industrial centres. Drive through the neighbourhoods at different times of the day.

Attend open houses in the areas you are exploring. You’ll begin to understand which best suit your needs and which are in your price range.

Open houses also provide an excellent chance to meet the REALTORS® hosting the events.  A word to the wise, the agent hosting the open house is working on behalf of the seller.  If you submit an offer with them, you are not their client, they are only submitting paperwork for you.  To guarantee there is no conflict of interest, hire your own representative to work for you.  As a buyer, there is typically no cost associated for you, as the commission to be paid out has already been negotiated, and offered out to buyer agents.

When meeting with REALTORS®, remember you are hiring that person to work with you, and on your behalf.  Make sure you don’t settle for the first one you come across.  In the London St. Thomas Association of REALTORS® alone there are close to 1,600 real estate professionals.  You do have choice, and you will be able to find someone you feel comfortable with, that will work on your best behalf.  It may be the first one your meet, or it may be the 5th.  Buying a home is a large investment, possibly the largest of your life, you need to make sure your real estate professional is as committed to making sure the home you purchase is as great for you, as you are.

If you have some real estate related questions, or would like to speak to a buyer or seller representative about helping you with your home purchase or sale, call The Price Real Estate Team at 519.663.9411 or email info@pricerealestateteam.com.