Purchasing a home is the single most expensive investment many people make. It is very important to do a lot of research to make your investment a good one. There are so many options available.
Many financial institutions offer pre-approvals to give you an idea of what you can financially afford. The Canadian Mortgage and Housing Commission sets out certain regulations. It is well known, the larger the down payment you can make, the lower the mortgage debt you will have. A lower mortgage amount means lower monthly mortgage payments.
It is best to shop around for the best possible mortgage interest rate you can find. Most financial institutions will guarantee the rate for 90 days, should the rate drop you would get the lower rate. If the rates go up, you are protected for 90 days.
However, a problem with pre-approvals can occur when the financial institution does not advise you of certain guidelines that must be met — for example, paying out existing loans to qualify for the mortgage etc.
You don’t want to leave yourself house poor. Make sure you can still live a reasonably comfortable lifestyle once all your household expenses have been met.
Close to Work
Deciding on a location is a very important first step. Choosing a location that is close to work, family and friends can have many benefits. A location close to work would mean more quality time at home, financial savings on gas and wear and tear on a vehicle. Living close to work gives you the ability to make it home quickly in case of an emergency. You could also go home for meals and save money rather than eating out, resulting in eating healthier meals.
The close proximity to home, work and daycare facilities is a huge advantage, especially when the daycare has dropped off and pick up time restraints. Having family members close by encourages a stronger family bond as you would have more personal interaction. Family members would also be able to assist in times of need if you live close by. Being close to friends can enhance your social life. The ability to indulge in alcoholic beverages at a party or special occasion is greater as a cab ride would be relatively inexpensive.
Urban or City?
You may choose to live in a city or prefer an urban lifestyle. Both have many advantages. Choosing a location to purchase a home is a personal preference. City living is a much busier lifestyle. Suburban living is a little more quieter and laid back. Most people that live in the city have easy access to public transit and amenities. This can be quite cost efficient for the need of a vehicle is greatly reduced. There would be no costly vehicle loans and auto insurance payments. Suburban living is not as readily accessible to public transit and most often requires the purchase of one or more vehicles.
Normally the city housing market is much more expensive than suburban. However, this would totally depend on what you were buying.
Type of Home
Depending on the reason and needs that you are purchasing a home, it is a good idea to decide what kind of home you would like to purchase. Is this going to be:
- A starter home?
- Retirement home?
- An upgrade?
- Strictly investment?
- A Rental Property?
- Is it a fixer-upper?
There are many reasons that we make the choice that we do.
Do you Want to Purchase a Resale or New Build?
There are many styles and structures to choose from such as:
- Fully detached homes
- Semi-detached homes
- Link homes
- Full out estate properties
- Adult living communities
Do you want:
- A two storey
- Back split
- Side split
- Ranch bungalow
- Raised bungalow
Are You Looking For An Open Concept?
Deciding on the exterior finish is just as important. There is brick, stone, vinyl siding, textured finishes and others to decide on.
Do You Need a Handicap Accessible Home?
The number of people you are housing would depend on the number of bedrooms and bathrooms you would need. Some choose to have additional bedrooms for guests.
There are so many important decisions to be made when deciding on what type of home you would like to purchase.
Many people do not have the qualifications to know what to look for when buying a home. One of the biggest mistakes a home buyer can make is not hiring a home inspector before purchase or as one of the conditions on the purchase of the home. Not only does the home inspector identify and document inefficiencies and defects in the home, but they can also be held responsible if they miss something significant.
The Home Inspectors main priority is to inspect the foundation and structure of the home. They can also identify extra expenses you may incur for major repairs. The home inspector will also inspect:
- The roof to ensure it is in good shape and not in need of repairs.
- Check for rodent and bug infestations.
- Inspect the foundation inside and out to ensure there are no major structural issues.
- Closely inspect the electrical system.
- Inspect the plumbing.
- Check the insulation and identifying is there is formaldehyde present.
- Inspect for the presence of mold
And many other important aspects of the home.
The benefits of hiring a home inspector before the purchase not only identifies the homes defects, repairs and safety issues, it can be a bargaining tool as well. Some times the selling price can be negotiated, or the seller will agree to take on the cost to make the repairs before closing the deal.
It is very important to hire a professional and reputable home inspector.
It is a wise decision to contact the local law enforcement agency in the area you are thinking about buying it. They can tell you the number of occurrences that have taken place in that neighbourhood. This can give you a general feel for what you are getting into.
You can always ask the sellers what kind of neighbours they have to give you a little insight. However, the sellers may not always be truthful if they think it will jeopardize the sale of their home.