This is the 3rd step to buying a home.
First, decide where you want to live.
- Urban: The big city. The prices are generally higher, but you can walk to a restaurant, or maybe even to work. You'll also have the widest range of housing options.
- Suburban: Newer schools, newer shopping centres, bigger yards, bigger homes.
- Smaller Cities and Towns: Canada is dotted with thousands of wonderful self-contained communities. And compared to the big city, you can save a bundle.
- Rural: If you like the idea of owning land, how about a few acres all to yourself? Seclusion is not for everybody, but for some, it's heaven.
Next, decide what type of home you want.
- Single-family detached
- Semi-detached or linked
- Townhouse (freehold or one that is part of a condo corporation)
- Apartment or loft
New or Resale?
Resale, also known as previously loved. Resale homes come in various ages, 1 year or 150 years. A newer resale home can be a great value to someone also considering a new home, as the original owner has already paid a premium for any upgrades. Nothing can match the charm and character of an older home. As a bonus, the previous owner may have made improvements and upgrades that you get to enjoy, usually for less than the cost of putting them in yourself. However, some homes have a little too much "character", like a leaky roof. Make sure you know what you're getting into by taking a very thorough look before putting in an offer, and putting a home inspection condition in your offer.
Nothing like that new house smell. If you're having a new home built from the bottom up, carefully examine the property, the blueprints and visit other homes built by the same company. Have your REALTOR® and/or lawyer review everything before you sign. While your home is built, stay on top of the process. And remember, you have a legal right to make a full inspection of the house before you accept it as complete. Sometimes you even get to pick your own colours and finishes. Many buyers consult an interior decorator if the choices seem overwhelming, and some builders offer this service in their package.
The Condo Alternative
How Condos are Owned. You'll own 100% of your unit, and a share of the common areas, including necessary plumbing, electrical systems, hallways and elevators. They may also include lots of fun stuff like a private gym or party room.
Condo fees. Membership has privileges and costs. On top of your mortgage and property taxes, condo owners also pay a monthly fee to operate and maintain the common areas. Be sure to look into condo fees, and how well they're managed before signing anything. Your lawyer can help you with that.
New Developments in the Condo World. Condo corporations are no longer associated only with apartment buildings or townhouses. Many newer developments with single detached homes are also a part of condo communities. It is becoming a choice that is based more on lifestyle than the style of the home. Of course, there is a cost to the freedom that comes along with condo ownership, but it's a great choice for people who travel a lot, those who are retired, those who are no longer physically able to handle a lot of maintenance, or those who are too busy with their careers to spend their time removing snow in the colder months or gardening during warmer months.