I hear this quite frequently, particularly from first time home buyers: “I have no idea what type of Windsor property to buy!” I understand, especially with the wide range of home types, prices and locations that are available, it can be stressful to narrow down your choices. Buyers today don’t want to make any mistakes about where they want to live or the type of home they want to purchase. These are big decisions that need to be made by buyers, and buyers alone. While it’s my job to offer choices and give different scenarios, I can’t tell you what home to buy like I can’t tell you what price to offer.
Let’s confront a few things first. To quickly narrow your choices, the best thing a buyer can do is get pre-qualified for a loan. Right away, this piece of paper will tell you how much you can afford. This limits quite a few choices right away. So if the bank tells you they will loan you up to $250,000, then we know not to look much beyond that (you can look at homes that cost more, but always offer below your budget. There are motivated sellers out there!).
Secondly, let’s take a look at your lifestyle. Do you plan on buying a home and staying in it for many years or, do you prefer to live in a condo in the heart of the city near shopping and entertainment. Maybe you have a young family and looking at a neighbourhood close to good schools, or you are retiring and want to downsize. What I suggest is that you make a “Must Have” list as well as a “Wish List.” This gives your agent a good idea of what you absolutely need in a home and what would like to have, but it’s not a deal buster.
Third, I ask buyers to go with their gut. In other words, if you really want a condo in the city, but you are thinking that maybe some day you will want a larger home in case you have a family one day, I say go with what you really want. Visit several condos and then, to be sure, visit larger homes and see if your instinct guides you to the condo. Usually, buyers should follow their instinct.
However, I also ask buyers to keep an open mind. I have visited homes with buyers in neighbourhoods that they would never consider, yet surprisingly, they often fall in love with a home in a nearby town that offers everything they want, but more affordable for their budget. So if your agent really wants to show you a style of home, or a different neighbourhood, go with it. You may be pleasantly surprised.
Ask yourself this: What type of homes are you drawn to? Again, I have clients that sometimes have no idea what style of home they like. Yet, they will show me homes they like on the Internet and they usually lean to one style. Do you find yourself drawn to older homes? New construction? Do you prefer traditional styles or maybe more contemporary?
If you still find that you are unsure about what you want, then visit a variety of places and slowly but surely, you will start knocking homes off your list. For example, tour new condos and newer homes in family developments. Maybe you prefer a condo with all of the amenities. Or maybe you want to live more in a neighbourhood that offers a community pool. Believe me, the confusion will disappear once you go out and start visiting homes.
Finally, I ask buyers to be patient when buying a home if they are unsure what they want. Don’t think that you will figure it all out in a few visits with your realtor. Remember, we are trying to get to know you and find the best fit. This often takes time. There is no right or wrong time frame when selecting a house. I’ve had clients that have taken a few years until they find the right property, and some only take a weekend. Don’t despair. The home for you is out there and you will find it!
I suggest buyers continue to look on the Internet as well as new properties come up every day. If you can’t find something one day, believe me, check again tomorrow. The real estate industry is an ever-changing business with lots of opportunities.
So: Get your financial house in order, get pre-approved, write your check lists and you are on your way.