Finding The Right Home:

Finding A Right Home:

Owning a home is more than just a financial commitment. When it's your home, you're responsible for all of the upkeep and maintenance, so it's wise to choose one that matches your lifestyle.

Renting Vs Home Ownership:

This is a decision which many people face, and the decision is not as easy to make as it may sound.

As a homeowner, you can reasonably expect the equity in your home to increase over time as your mortgage is paid down. That, combined with regular appreciation in property values, can be a rapid and rewarding way to increase your net worth. In contrast, the person renting over the same amount of time is left with no property investment but may have enjoyed lower living expenses and the opportunity to invest in other opportunities.

When comparing owning to renting, you have to add up all of the figures, including the cost of your home, the size of your down payment, utilities, immediate repairs, interest rates and insurance, and compare them with how much you are currently spending on rent.

Of course, you also have to place a value on the enjoyment and satisfaction that you will derive from owning your own home.

Community checklist

Your home is the place where you're going to live for a long time, so make sure that the neighbourhood you choose provides the right combination of services and amenities to meet your long-term needs. Here are some of the lifestyle and financial considerations you'll want to think about --

  • Proximity to schools and public transportation
  • Real estate taxes
  • Recreational facilities
  • Distance of commute to and from work
  • Traffic flow and availability of parking
  • Planning and zoning laws that may limit your long-term plans (for example, building an addition)

Houses versus condominiums





  • You have more freedom to renovate or upgrade your home as you wish
  • You only pay for the amenities and utilities that you use, instead of a lump-sum condominium fee that may include services or features you do not want or need
  • One monthly fee usually covers all of your maintenance costs, and you're free from yard work and other outdoor chores
  • Steady, predictable expenses make it easier for you to budget for your costs


  • Houses require a lot of work, and you are solely responsible for all of the upkeep, repairs and maintenance
  • Expenses may vary by month, making it more difficult to budget for your costs
  • As a condominium owner, you are subject to the rules of your condominium. Plus, you have little control over the amount of your monthly condo fees, which are in addition to your mortgage payments
  • Condo fees are subject to change and you may have no choice but to accept increases as they occur

New home from a builder versus resale home


New home from builder

Resale home


  • You may have more flexibility when it comes to upgrading the features in your new home, such as finishing materials, flooring, plumbing and electrical fixtures
  • In most provinces, a builder warranty is usually available and covers major household systems like plumbing and heating
  • New homes are built to meet modern comfort and safety codes, using the latest building materials and technologies - the result is often greater cost- and energy-efficiency
  • You are most likely moving into an established neighbourhood, so you can see which amenities and services are already available
  • Your property may already have landscaping, fencing and mature trees
  • It may already have some upgraded features, such as a finished basement


  • Homes in a newly developed area may not be completed on schedule and may not have immediate access to amenities such as schools or shopping centres - these are generally built after the residential population is complete
  • Noise and dust from ongoing construction may affect the comfort of your new home until the development is complete
  • Brand new homes seldom come with landscaping or fencing, which can both be substantial expenses for any homeowner
  • An older home could mean higher maintenance costs in the short term, especially on major systems such as heating, electrical and plumbing
  • Resale homes come as they are, and you may have the added expense of changing wall colours, flooring or other interior design elements that don't suit your taste

Defining Search Parameters for a First-Time Home Buyer

You've probably defined your goals and have a pretty good idea of the type of home and neighborhood you want. By the time you reach your real estate agent's office, you are halfway to home ownership.

How Long Should It Take to Buy Your First Home?

A motivated buyer will find a home within two weeks. Most of my buyers find a home within two days.Good real estate agents will listen to your wants and needs and arrange to show only those homes that fit your particular parameters. Your agent should preview homes before showing them to you as well.

How Many Homes Will a Home Buyer See?

Studies show that your memory dramatically improves after consumption of carbs and slows upon consuming sugar. So, lay off the soft drinks and have a hearty meal of carbs before venturing out to tour homes. The average number of homes that I show to a buyer in one day is seven. Any more than that, and the brain is on overload. Therefore, don't expect to see 20 or 30 homes; although it's physically possible to do so, you probably will not remember specific details about any of them.

The "Red Shoes" Experience for a Home Buyer

Women will relate to this. Say, you need a new pair of red shoes. You go to the mall. At the first shoe store, you find a fabulous pair of red shoes. You try them on. They fit perfectly. They are glamorous. Priced right, too. Do you buy them? Of course not! You go to every other store in the mall trying on red shoes until you are ready to drop from exhaustion. Then you return to the first store and buy those red shoes. Do not shop for a home this way. When you find the perfect home, buy it.

How a First-Time Home Buyer Can Rate Inventory

  • Bring a digital camera and begin each series of photos with a close-up of the house number to identify where each group of home photos start and end.
  • Take copious notes of unusual features, colors and design elements.
  • Pay attention to the home's surroundings. What is next door? Do 2-story homes tower over your single story?
  • Do you like the location? Is it near a park or a power plant?
  • Immediately after leaving, rate each home on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest.

View Top Choices a Second Time Before Buying That First Home

After touring homes for a few days, you will probably instinctively know which one or two homes you would like to buy. Ask to see them again. You will see them with different eyes and notice elements that were overlooked the first go-around.

At this point, your agent should call the listing agents to find out more about the sellers' motivation and to double-check that an offer hasn't come in, making sure these homes are still available to purchase.

Making the Selection To Buy a Home

I'll let you in on a little secret. I generally know which home a buyer is going to choose, and I suspect most other agents operate the same way. It's an intuition. But I make it a practice not to steer buyers, and I insist that buyers choose the home without interference from me. It's not my choice to make.

Real estate agents are required, however, to point out defects and should help buyers feel confident that the home selected meets the buyer's search parameters.

Bradley Mayer-Harman

Bradley Mayer-Harman

CENTURY 21 Millennium Inc., Brokerage*
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