What To Look For When Shopping for Your New Home

Finding the right home aways starts with using the right tools. Working with a real estate agent that is knowledgeable in the area where you are purchasing, will help you narrow down your search options and weed out properties that might look good on paper but do not fit the bill long term.

Use our Home Comparison Worksheet to help decipher the pros and cons of a single home, as well as comparing various homes.

A good realtor will:

get to know you and your home requirements.

review and narrow down the potential list of homes for you to view.

have access to new listings and able to advise you on their benefit, often before they are listed.

advise on the housing market in the area that you are interest in, offering advise of what a fair market value of a property may be.

offer insight into the community, neighbourhoods, and other developments in the area.

do the leg work of arranging showings or taking you through open home viewings.

advise on features, advantages and benefits of each home that you view, as well as point out any potential red flags with each property.

guide you through the offer and sales process, including preparing all sales documentation and other negotiation aspects of the purchase.

When selecting a realtor, look for someone who knows the area, is able to listen and understand your needs, and is able to advise you on what is best for you now and in the future. Your realtor should be fully licensed, work with the Multiple Listing Service (MLS®), be available when you are and have a good track record with previous clients. It’s OK to ask for references if the agent was not referred to you by someone you know.

 

What are your housing options?

When it comes to finding the right home, there are many options to consider. Here are the pros and cons of the various options as well as a comparison of previously owned homes vs. new homes purchased directly from the builder.

Condo

Pros:

• Lowest purchase price, lowest taxes.

• Virtually maintenance free – no snow shovelling or lawn maintenance, easy waste disposal, security/front desk service.

• Convenient for singles, childless couples, testing out a neighbourhood.


Semi-Detached

Pros:

• Most privacy at least cost – great for first-time buyer.

• You own the land, the appreciating asset – bricks and mortar depreciate.

•Good resale value and easy re-sell.


Detached Houses

Pros:

• Best re-sell value and you own the land, the main appreciating asset.

• Lower priced detached homes tend to sell quickly because of the combination of prestige and affordability.

• Most privacy, least noise from neighbours because there are no common walls.


Previously Owned / Fixer Uppers

Pros:

Lower prices because of some wear and tear (which varies greatly – consider a home inspection).

• You get the benefit of upgrades (finished basement, pool, etc.) at a depreciated price.

• Established neighbourhood, current neighbours, etc., are known entities although they can change.


New Home From Builder

Pros:

• You are the first occupant and the house is yours to decorate as you wish, with no damages.

• Purchase price includes colours, design features, etc. that you select, usually with negotiable upgrades.

• Protection from construction deficiencies is usually required by provincial law.


Condo

Cons:

• Lower resale value, hardest to re-sell and can be difficult to finance with low down payment.

• Can have high maintenance fees that can substantially increase carrying costs.

• No private yard, sharing a common space with neighbours in close proximity


Semi-Detached

Cons:

• Share a common wall with neighbours.

• Higher price per square foot than a townhouse in a similar location.

• Higher level of maintenance than condo/townhouse e.g lawn, exterior.


Detached Houses

Cons:

• Highest purchase price and property taxes.

• Higher level of maintenance than condo or townhouse such as lawn, exterior up-keep.

• Could need upgrades, or have damages that need to be addressed off the bat.


Previously Owned / Fixer Uppers

Cons:

• Could have a great amount of damage, as well as hidden damage that isn’t apparent at time of purchase.

• No warranty for repairs required by law, although it can be made a condition of purchase.

• If existing décor is not to your liking, it can be expensive and time consuming to change.


New Home From Builder

Cons:

• Potentially a wait time for lawns or paved driveways, and with dust from unsodded areas and construction traffic.

• There can be problems with permits or trade strikes that prevent timely completion and occupancy.

• Some closing costs apply to homes that are newly constructed.


What is the best location for you?

Now that you know how much you can afford to spend on your new home, it’s time to start shopping.

For maximum success and minimal confusion, follow these five steps as you carry out your search:

1. Write down your “must haves” list. Consider what is important to you now, as well as what might be important over the next several years.

2. Go over your “must haves” with your real estate agent to avoid wasting your time looking at homes that don’t suit your needs.

3. Mark the items on this list that are negotiable. These are your “nice to have” items.

4. As you visit homes, keep detailed records on each home using our Bennett-Capital-Home-comparison-worksheet.

5. Take photos. After you’ve seen a few different homes, you may confuse one with the other.

 

Why is a home inspection important?

Having a qualified home inspector examine the property you are about to purchase is a good idea, but not always necessary.

If during the home inspection significant issues are discovered, you and your realtor may agree to renegotiate the sale price to cover repair costs or withdraw your offer.