“Home Buying Step by Step” is a series of articles presented by CMHC designed to assist you in understanding the home buying process. Be sure to check out Step 1 and Step 2 and feel free to contact one of First Foundation’s licensed mortgage brokers if you have any questions!
Once you’ve made the decision to become a homeowner and figured out how much you can afford to spend, you need to think very carefully about what kind of home you want to buy. Should you be looking for a new home or a previously-owned property? A detached bungalow in the suburbs or a condo in the heart of the action? Who should you have on your homebuying team?
Try to buy a home that will meet most of your needs for the next five or 10 years, or find one that can grow and change with your needs. Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) offers the following tips to help you figure out what features and characteristics are important to you:
- There is an old real estate saying that the three most important things to consider when choosing a home are: location, location, location! This may be a bit of an exaggeration, but location is a critical factor when shopping for a home.
- When choosing the right location for your family, ask yourself: do we want to live in a city, a town or the countryside? How easy will it be to commute to work from our new neighbourhood? Where will the children go to school, and how will they get there? Do we need to have safe walking areas, parks or recreational facilities nearby? How close do we want to be to family and friends?
- To help you find a community you’ll be happy to come home to each night, download Your Next Move: Choosing a Neighbourhood with Sustainable Features or use CMHC’s online worksheet What’s Important to You, both of which can be accessed through www.cmhc.ca/homebuying.
- Next, consider what features are important to you in a home. For example, how many bedrooms or bathrooms should it have? Will you need space for a home office? Are luxuries like air conditioning, a fireplace or a swimming pool high on your wish list? Are you planning on growing your family, or do you have teenage children who will soon be moving away? CMHC’s Home Features Checklist, accessed through” www.cmhc.ca/homebuying”:http://www.cmhc.ca/en/co/buho/index.cfm, can help you think about what your needs will be both today and tomorrow.
- Another factor to consider is whether you want a new home or one that was previously owned. New homes can have more up-to-date design, and you may also be able to choose certain features such flooring, layout and the kitchen and bathroom finishings. But new homes may also have fewer services nearby, and taxes such as the HST or GST can apply.
- Whether this is your first homebuying experience or your tenth, you’ll need to assemble a team of professionals whose experience, knowledge and information can help you make informed decisions. The people who can help you include a realtor, a lender or mortgage broker, a lawyer or notary, an insurance broker, a home inspector, an appraiser, a land surveyor, and possibly a builder or contractor.
- CMHC’s Your Team of Professionals worksheet (www.cmhc.ca/homebuying), can help you keep track of everyone you talk to, and pick the right professionals for your team.
To help you learn more about which home is right for you and all aspects of buying a home, CMHC’s Homebuying Step by Step: A Consumer Guide and Workbook will lead you through the homebuying process in five simple steps, from the moment you decide to buy a home of your own to the day the movers carry the first box through your new front door.
Downloadyour free copy at www.cmhc.ca or call 1-800-668-2642. For more practical tips and helpful advice on homeownership, sign up for our free electronic newsletter at www.cmhc.ca/enewsletters.
For over 65 years, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) has been Canada’s national housing agency, and a source of objective, reliable housing information