Where should you buy?
Before you begin looking for your new home, determine your needs.
- Rural? Small town? Suburban? City?
- What facilities are available: shopping centres? places of worship? recreational facilities? hospitals? schools?
- Are property taxes comparable to those in other communities?
- Are there any future developments planned which you may not like?
- Are the sewage and water systems adequate?
- What is the availability and cost of utilities: electricity? gas? water?
- What public services are provided: police? fire protection? ambulance? garbage collection? mail delivery? snow removal?
- Is there nearby public transportation available?
- Do you mind a long commute to work or to visit friends?
- Can you afford to drive to and park at your workplace?
- Will another car be needed for your spouse to drive to work, to shop, or take the children to school or other activities?
- Are major roads easily accessible?
- Is public and private property maintained to your satisfaction?
- What is the composition of families living nearby: quiet, mature people? teenagers? potential playmates for children?
- Are their incomes and lifestyles compatible with yours? Have property values risen, fallen, or remained stable in the recent past?
- Are there any known projects on the horizon which could substantially change the quality of the lifestyle or the property prices in the area?
- Do you feel comfortable with the current zoning regulations? Will they protect property values yet still allow you to use a dwelling in the way you envision: outdoor basketball hoops and barbecues? storing your boat? a home-based business? keeping chickens/rabbits/horses? cutting trees? high fences? a basement suite? etc.
- When you walk up and down the streets of the neighbourhood, can you picture yourself living there for several years into the future?
- Are you interested in brand new only? an historic, character house? an already renovated resale? a solid, older house that just needs redecorating? or can you purchase a “fixer-upper” and do major renovations yourself?
- What combination of space do you require? Think not only about bedrooms, bathrooms and garages, but also about areas for hobby activities and children’s play; and storage for clothes, skis, bicycles, wind surfers, tools, garden equipment, etc.
- Is a large, well-equipped kitchen important to you? How about a fireplace? A large entrance hall? A sun deck? A pool?
- Would you prefer a small lawn and low-maintenance garden, or do you enjoy cutting grass and making things grow?
- Do you need a dwelling with room to eventually accommodate more children? Elderly parents? Inlaws?
- What schooling is available: primary? high school? adult evening programs? college?
- How close are the schools and how do the children get there?
- Are the schools crowded? Is the sports program satisfactory? Do the students have a high achievement record?
- If your family has special educational needs, are these available?