Style Consider compiling this list with the help of your real estate represen- tative or builder, who can help you decide which features are important and suggest ones you have over- looked. (For tips on choosing the right representative for you, see page 20.) Make sure your real estate represen- tative keeps a copy of your list to help pre- screen the houses you’ll look at. This list should be revised as you look at houses and see what is actually avail- able in your price range and preferred locations. (You’ll find extra copies of the Home Features Checklist at the back of the Guide.) When trying to decide what style of home to buy, it’s a good idea to draw up a master list of all the features you want your new home to have. The Home Features Checklist on page 8 can help you. Try to be honest about what you’re looking for. Your vision will likely change based on what’s available. Make a list of all the features you want in your new home. Be realistic and consider all the options. This may not be the dream home you’d buy if you won the lottery, but rather the home that you and your family can afford now and that will meet your needs for the next few years. Consider such questions as: Are you starting a family or having more children? How many bedrooms will you need? Will a home office be required? Cost Cost is such a big step, it has it’s own chapter. (See Step 3 on page 12.) If you think you’ll need more space, consider buying a larger home now or one with the potential for ren- ovation or an addition.
A note on buying condominiums
The word condominium refers to a type of property ownership rather than to a style of house.
Condominiums can be townhouses,
highrises or low-rises. They can be attractive to first-time home buyers because they are generally less expensive than single detached homes in the same neighbourhood. When comparing costs, make sure to include monthly condominium fees.
When you buy a condominium, you’re
investing in something you own, but likely eliminating maintenance such as yard work and snow removal. Condominiums also can offer extras you won’t get in a similarly priced detached home, such as security systems and recreation facilities.
Be prepared to pay monthly condominium
fees that contribute to the corporation’s
reserve fund and go toward covering the collective cost of property maintenance, repairs, replacements and insurance.
When buying a condominium, many of the
same considerations as buying a detached home will apply. For example, the choice of location or the decision between new and resale.
With a new condominium, you may be
able to specify upgrades or finish materials, while a resale condominium is more likely to be in an established location and may have lower condominium fees.
Before you buy a condominium, it’s also
important to consider some of their limitations. If a large yard is important to you, for example, a condominium is not a good choice.
Diane and Hugh were moving to Calgary and saw this as an opportunity to buy a home before they started their family. Their dream was a home with four bedrooms, a family room, a big yard and a preferred location.
The reality was that they couldn’t balance that home and that location with their budget. Then a real estate representative helped them find a smaller house that they could afford in an ideal neighbourhood.
They accepted less home than they had hoped for, but stayed within an affordable budget. Those extra rooms could come later.