You may want to read the previous chapter on the importance of having a real estate agent and what she or he can do for you.
Normally, you should take a ‘zooming-in’ approach to locating your new home. Once you know the city you want to live in, you should start researching its regions and neighbourhoods. Check out online maps that show nearby schools, parks, amenities, demographics, traffic, and other factors that are important to you. When you have narrowed your choices down to a handful of neighbourhoods, it is time to start at specific types and styles of houses. Define a list of your favourite home features – and if there are too many, order them according to their importance.
Photo by Alan Cleaver
Thus armed, selecting and purchasing your home should be relatively simple – in theory, anyway! Don’t hesitate to completely include your agent in your plans.
Depending on your current and projected situation, you may have your own specific set of home selection criteria, but let us list the most common considerations here for your convenience:
- When you are researching neighbourhoods, consider your future plans with regards to children, job commute and social features. It is important to plan ahead, so you don’t have to start looking for a new home in a few short years.
- Education, public transportation and crime rates will be of importance to you, especially if you have (or plan to have) kids. For example, easy access to good quality public transportation can save a family loads of money – and even time – every day.
- What type of house would you prefer in your target neighbourhood? Do you want a multi-storey house, or do you need a ground-level accessible house? Do you like more open space or will you need more structured rooms for work and play? Will your kids all want their own bathrooms?
- If you care about the style (i.e. Victorian, Edwardian), age, or historical value of your home, let your agent know as well. Many older houses offer great ambiance, but may be less accessible and provide fewer modern features. New homes, on the other hand, will likely have an internet connection in every room, plenty of electrical sockets and updated wiring and plumbing. Read on for more suggestions on what to keep in mind when looking for a new home.
Changing the City
If you must move for work or anything else that takes you somewhere entirely new, be sure to thoroughly research your destination city. Establish a reasonable price range and investigate the norms of your new city, since the cost of living differs greatly across the country. In terms of location, aside from proximity to work, pay attention to the local schools, crime rate, public transportation and nearby amenities. Make sure that, at the end of the day, relocating will be worth it both in terms of cost and standard of living; uprooting yourself far from your home base is always a big deal, and a decision that should be approached with great care.
Now that you know more about the intricacies of home selection, learn what specific home categories are waiting for you out there and what they have to offer.
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