Purchasing a home can be both exciting and frightening, especially if it’s your first home. With the countless choices in the real estate market today, looking for a new home may be confusing and overwhelming. Before you start dreaming about your new home, consider some basic questions like “what are my housing needs?” and “what are my housing choices?” Figure out what you can afford and where you want to live, and you’ll be on your way to home ownership!
Being practical about your housing needs, and realistic about your budget will help relieve stress during your search and purchase. Be sure to thoroughly research the neighbourhood before making your purchasing decision, by going there during the day, evening and weekends and observing other residents and traffic. Don’t forget to also consider schools, access to major transportation and shopping, how far you will have to travel to work and if alternate means of transportation are available. Researching your decision is the best investment you can make in your new home.
Freehold or Condo?
The main and most important difference between freehold homes and standard condominium homes is land ownership.
In a standard condominium, only the inside of the unit is owned by the individual homeowner. The outside of the unit and all the land is owned collectively by all the unit owners, and is called “common elements”. Each owner pays a monthly maintenance fee to cover grounds maintenance, common element insurance and general upkeep of the common elements. If a condominium corporation is made up of 20 homes, then each homeowner would own 1/20th of the common elements.
Condominiums are ideal for retirees, working professionals, busy parents or students because the common elements are maintained for you. Not having to shovel snow, cut grass or maintain gardens means more time for you to do what you enjoy. Condominium communities also tend to attract people of similar interests, and can add a rich social aspect to your life.
Freehold refers to any type of home including town homes, semi-detached or single detached where the individual homeowner owns the building and the land, and is required to maintain both at their own expense. Some freehold townhome communities choose to form a homeowners association, which can provide the similar maintenance and social services that a property manager may offer a condominium corporation, but a homeowners association has no legal rights or obligations.
Why Buy New?
Homes built today are better designed with open concept layouts and more storage. They are more energy efficient and comfortable to live in thanks to advances in technology. New homes have superior building envelopes, protecting you and your belongings from water damage caused by a leaky basements or poorly closing windows. Doors in new homes come with modern, stylish and durable finishes.
New homes require less maintenance, leaving more time and money to enjoy other things. New homes are often better value, offering more square footage for the price, and new homes come with a new home warranty, making new home living less stressful.
New homes are designed to accommodate modern fixtures such as dishwashers and flat screen TVs. They can be designed with your furniture or hobbies in mind. In fact, a new home can be designed however you want! Need extra storage? No problem. Love cooking? Great; a custom kitchen can be added! Renovating an existing home to accommodate your special requests can be very costly and may require a complete overhaul of the electrical or plumbing systems. On the other hand, you can move right into your newly finished Auburn home. Anyone who’s ever lived through a renovation will tell you it’s not pleasant and hard on a family but the new home buying process is made simple at Auburn. Plus you have a warranty protected by Tarion and the builder.
Steps to Purchasing
Buying a house isn’t something we do often, so very few of us are experts. For a first time homebuyer, the process can seem overwhelming.
The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (or CMHC) has designed a 10 step process for those considering purchasing a home, and will guide you through topics such as:
- Is homeownership right for you at this time in your life?
- Are you in a financial position to own a home?
- How much does it cost to buy a house?
- What are your housing needs? What are your housing wants?
- What professional services will be needed to buy a house?
- How to find the right home.
- Making an offer.
- Responsibilities of home owners.
- Maintenance and repairs.
Visit www.cmhc-schl.gc.ca for the complete article.