When you start out your home search, you’ll want to first create a list of “must-haves” for your new home. Are you buying a new home because you need more space? Then “3 bedrooms” might be on your “must have” list. Are you buying a new home because you need to move for work? Then you might have a very specific neighbourhood in mind.
Taking the time to make a list of what’s important to you in a home will help guide your search, but once you get out and start touring homes, this may start to change. It might turn out that a 3-bedroom home in your top choice location is out of your price range. You’ll have to decide what you’re willing to sacrifice—location, or number of bedrooms?
This is just one example—finding the right balance of your “must-haves” can be challenging. While everyone ultimately has to determine their own priorities, there are a few compromises that are easier to make than others.
Here are 7 things you won’t want to compromise on when buying a home:
It can be all too tempting to want to splurge for that home you just fell in love with… we’ve all seen that home that’s almostwithin reach. You might convince yourself that it’s worth it—but don’t let your emotions talk you into something you’ll regret later. Determining your budget before you start looking at homes can help you stay focused. You don’t want to end up having a mortgage that makes you financially uncomfortable down the road.
If living downtown in the heart of the city is integral to your lifestyle, then don’t try to convince yourself that living 20 minutes out of the city is ok! Unless you’re truly up for the change, think of what your day to day will look like in your new home. Are you still close enough to places you frequent, like your favorite yoga studio and the co-op grocery store you belong to? Will you really drive 20 minutes to get to those places from your new home outside of the city? Take an honest assessment of what activities and conveniences are important to you, and how far you’re willing to live from them.
This is a major one. Many people convince themselves that a 2-hour commute won’t be so bad—especially when they can have their dream home as a result! But whether you’re looking at a 2-hour commute or a 30-minute one, you should try the actual commute during the time you’d normally be making the journey. Is a 20-minute drive actually an hour-long drive during rush hour? Is a 30-minute bus ride actually a 50-minute bus ride since you have to switch lines, and buses during rush hour are frequently full or running late? Getting a true picture of what your commute could look like can make or break a location—you don’t want to be miserable every day and spending too much time in traffic when you could be enjoying your new home!
Home type & size.
Are you moving because your family is about to get bigger and you need more space? Are you trying to downsize because you need to lower your living expenses and time spent on home maintenance? Sometimes there are life changes that will determine what type and size of home we’re looking for, and sticking to what you want will be essential to your future happiness.
If you’ve never done a home renovation in your life, then saving money by buying a fixer upper might not be a great idea. It may sound doable and you might have seen every home renovation show on TV, but be realistic about what work you can and are willing to do. Research how much it could cost and the time and energy that will need to be spent renovating before getting yourself into a situation that might not be as easy as you expect.
If you need parking, then you’ll definitely want to carefully research your options. When you’re looking for a home in a city, make sure that your building comes with a parking spot. If parking isn’t included, it may not be feasible to find free street parking, and it can run you hundreds of dollars per month to rent a spot. Don’t get caught off guard by this one!
For many, the quality of local schools are at the top of the list. If you already have a school district that you absolutely love, then moving to a new school that you might not like as much can seriously impact your family. If you’re considering a move, try to meet and talk with other parents at the school in question. Visit the school in person, and ask about their different programs and offerings. While online websites can help shed light on a school, nothing compares to talking with those who have real first-hand experience.
Would you like to get a jumpstart on finding your new home? Check out our helpful Buyer’s Guide!