When it comes to buying a home, making the right choice can be confusing and difficult.
A home is the single largest purchase most of us make, and it often carries with it a great deal of emotional energy. It is hard to be practical. We want a home to capture all of our ideals for the best possible price. The “real” houses we see often don’t stack up to our ideal.
The key to finding that perfect home, according to experts, is to put all your ideals to one side and adopt a more practical method of selection.
Begin by making a “buying blueprint” of the home you are looking for, based only on your needs, your price limit and your wants. If you have three children, for instance, you may need three or four bedrooms and two bathrooms. You may also want a pool and a large garden, but do you really need these? You can indulge yourself and list everything you want, but be sure it’s on your want list.
After deciding what you absolutely need and want, set a price limit. Your REALTOR® can help you do this. A quick way to estimate your price range is by deciding what you can afford as a monthly payment, including property taxes, and the amount of money you have available for a down payment. If, for example, you want to pay $1,200 a month, you can afford a $165,000 mortgage (assuming a very conservative 7.50 per cent interest rate and a 25-year amortization). If you have $20,000 to put down, you can look at houses costing less than $185,000.
Now that you have your list of needs, wants and a price limit, it’s time to get more specific. Start by dividing your wants into should-haves and would-like-to-haves. If you have children, for example, you probably should have a finished basement, but a pool and sauna are not essential.
What you put on your needs/wants lists is up to you and your family. Some key things to consider are:
Type of dwelling
Some people know exactly what they want. Others aren’t sure. Do you want a new home or a resale home? New homes often come with guarantees. Resale homes have the advantage of being located in established communities with mature lawns and trees.
Condominiums include apartments and townhouses. You share ownership of common areas and pay a monthly fee.
Co-operative houses are different in that you buy and take care of a share of the co-operative.
Homes in rural areas and small towns are often less expensive, but you have to consider the added cost of commuting and limited services, such as hospitals, recreation facilities and entertainment centres.
Another option is to buy undeveloped land or a lot and build your own house. For some people, this is the best way to get their ideal home; often, however, it costs more than you think and there is a lot of frustration and hard work involved.
Some people know exactly where they want to live. Others have only a vague idea or are completely unfamiliar with the area they are moving to. This is where a REALTOR® comes in.
A REALTOR® will be familiar with the different communities in an area and be able to advise you accordingly. If you don’t know what kind of community you want to live in, begin by defining where you don't want to live. Also establish a commuting circle that’s acceptable to you.
To define a commuting circle, pinpoint your place of work on a map. Determine the maximum time you are prepared to travel to get to work and use this distance to draw a circle around your workplace with a compass. Within the circle, eliminate any areas known for traffic jams and bottlenecks. Drive through the neighbourhoods and delete any that don’t appeal to you.
Don’t start your search for the right home until you’ve considered all of these key items and completed your “buying blueprint.” It will make the task of finding the home that’s right for you more efficient and far less frustrating.
Armed with your blueprint and a REALTOR®, you will be more than ready to find the home you’ve been dreaming of.
— provided by the Manitoba Real Estate Association