Buy a home that meets most of your needs not for now but for the next 5 to 10 years. Try to find a home that can grow and change with your needs. Here are some things to consider.
How many bedrooms do you need?
How many bathrooms do you need?
Do you need space for a home office?
What kind of parking facilities do you need? For how many cars?
Do you want air conditioning? If so, what type?
Do you want storage or hobby space?
Is a fireplace or a swimming pool high on your list?
Do you have family members with special needs?
Do you want special features to save energy, enhance indoor air quality, and reduce environmental impact?
Lifestyles and stages
No matter what type of housing you choose, you must have a clear idea of your needs today as well as your possible future needs. These are some examples of questions home buyers might ask:
Do I need a home office?
Do I plan to have children?
Do I have teenagers who will be moving away soon?
Am I close to retirement?
Will I need a home that can accommodate different stages of life?
Do I have an older relative who might come to live with me?
Is FlexHousing™ for You?
FlexHousing™ is a housing concept that incorporates, at the design and construction stage, the ability to make future changes easily and with minimum expense to meet the evolving needs of its occupants.
FlexHousing™ allows homeowners to live in their home for a longer time — perhaps an entire lifetime. By adding or removing walls you can make the home suit your lifestyle.
In an adaptable home, space can be arranged and re-arranged without expensive retrofits and renovations. Designing an adaptable home involves anticipating possible new uses for rooms, potential traffic flow, and future requirements at the design stage.
What Location Should You Choose?
Location is a critical factor. A home with everything you need but in the wrong location, is probably not the right home for you. Here are some things to consider about location.
What is a Sustainable Neighbourhood?
A sustainable neighbourhood meets your needs while protecting the environment. Homes in a sustainable neighbourhood are located near shops, schools, recreation, work and other daily destinations. This helps reduce driving costs and lets residents enjoy the health benefits of walking and cycling. Land and services, like roads, are used efficiently. Sustainable neighbourhoods also feature a choice of homes that are affordable.
In your search for a sustainable neighbourhood, here are some questions to ask:
Do You Want a New Home or a Previously-Owned Home?
A new home is one that has just been built — no one else has lived in it yet. You might buy a new home from a contractor who has built it, or you might hire a contractor to build it for you. A previously-owned home (often called a resale) has already been lived in. Here are some characteristics of each type of home.
Building Your Own Home
Some people prefer the challenge and flexibility of building their own home. On one hand, you make all the decisions about size, design, location, quality of material, level of energy-efficiency and so on. On the other hand, expect to invest lots of time and energy.
What Type of Home Should You Buy?
What types of homes will you be visiting with the idea of buying? Do you see yourself living in a detached single-family home? Or, perhaps a townhouse? Maybe, a duplex?
A single-family detached home is one dwelling unit. It stands alone, and sits on its own lot. This often gives the family a greater degree of privacy.
A semi-detached home is a single-family home that is joined on one side to another home. It can offer many of the advantages of a single-family detached home. It is often less expensive to buy and maintain.
A duplex is a building containing two single-family homes, located one above the other. Sometimes, the owner lives in one unit and rents the other.
Row House (Townhouse)
Row houses (also called townhouses) are several similar single-family homes, side-by-side, joined by common walls. They can be freehold or condominiums. They offer less privacy than a single-family detached home, although each has a separate outdoor space. These homes can cost less to buy and maintain, although some are large, luxury units.
Stacked townhouses are usually two-storey homes. Two two-story homes are stacked one on top of the other. The buildings are usually attached in groups of four or more. Each unit has direct access from the outside.
Link or Carriage Home
A link, or carriage home, is joined by a garage or carport. The garage or carport gives access to the front and back yards. Builders sometimes join basement walls so that link houses appear to be single-family homes on small lots. These houses can be less expensive than single-family detached homes.
A manufactured home is a factory-built, single-family home. It is transported to a chosen location and placed onto a foundation.
A modular home is also a factory-built, single-family home. The home is typically shipped to a location in two or more sections (or modules).
Mobile homes, like manufactured or modular homes, are built in factories and then taken to the place where they will be occupied. While these homes are usually placed in one location and left there permanently, they do retain the ability to be moved.
A self-contained unit in part of a building consisting of a room or set of rooms including kitchen and bathroom facilities.
Forms of Ownership
People who do not rent their home, own it. There are two forms of ownership.
Freehold means that one person (or two, such as joint ownership by spouses) owns the land and house outright. There is no space co-owned or co-managed with owners of other units.
Freehold owners can do what they want with their property — up to a point. They must obey municipal bylaws, subdivision agreements, building codes and federal and provincial laws, such as those protecting the environment.
Detached and semi-detached homes, duplexes and townhouses are usually owned freehold.
Condominium ownership means you own the unit you live in and share ownership rights for the common space of the building. Common space includes areas such as corridors, the grounds around the building, and facilities such as a swimming pool and recreation rooms. Condominium owners together control the common areas through an owners’ association. The association makes decisions about using and maintaining the common space.