When you think of your dream home, what do you see? Each of us has a vision of what it will be but getting as close to that vision as possible is a practical, step-by-step process that begins with finding a REALTOR®.
A home is the single largest purchase most of us make, and it often carries with it a great deal of emotional energy. it is hard to be practical. We want a home to capture all of our ideals for the best possible price. The "real" houses we see often don't stack up to our ideal.
A REALTOR® is your best ally throughout the home-buying process. He or she can provide expert advice and help you determine how much you can afford, what kind of home you can buy in that price range and where it may be located.
You have no doubt heard the phrase "location, location, location". It really is the most important factor in making any real estate purchase. To find the right location, you must think of where you want to live both in broad terms and in detail. Let's begin with the broad terms.
Where do you want to live?
Urban: Urban communities offer the broadest range of housing types but, generally, at higher prices than similar-sized homes in non-urban locations.
Suburb: The suburbs are typically made up of newer neighbourhoods, schools and shopping centres. Prices may or may not be lower than those of the central city but you often get more square footage, larger rooms and bigger lots in a suburban area.
Smaller towns and cities: A lower-paced lifestyle and lower taxes and housing prices are often big draws to British Columbia's smaller communities. There are generally fewer types of homes available and the number for sale could be limited.
Rural: A stream flowing over a few acres sounds appealing and your housing budget will often buy you more in a rural setting than other location.
Once you have considered the broader locations, it's time to think about features you need and want in a home.Begin by making a "buying blueprint" of the home you are looking for, based only on your needs, your price limit and your wants. If you have three children, for instance, you may need three or four bedrooms and two bathrooms. You may also want a pool and a large garden, but do you really need these?
Prepare a shopping list: how many bedrooms? How many bathrooms? One car garage or two? Large backyard or small?
Now for the more detailed location considerations.
Comparing homes and locations
Now you want to match the type of home you would like with a more specific location. Start reading the real estate ads in local newspapers and REALTOR®-produced publications. These ads will give you an idea of the communities that best match your criteria for homes and locations. Drive through the communities that are likely candidates.
Check out the types of homes available, how well the neighbourhoods are maintained, availability of schools and shopping, recreational and religious facilities. Be aware of drawbacks: highway noise, train tracks, airports, large industrial or manufacturing centres. Drive through the neighbourhoods at different times of the day.
Attend open houses in the areas you are exploring. Look at different home types. You will begin to understand which best suit your needs and which are in your price range. Open houses also provide an excellent chance to meet the REALTORS® hosting the events. In fact, it's possible you may select your REALTOR® subsequent to a meeting at an Open House since REALTORS® are familiar with the areas in which they work and can answer many of the questions you have developed during your search.
A REALTOR® will be familiar with the different communities in an area and be able to advise you accordingly. If you don't know what kind of community you want to live in, begin by defining where you don't want to live. Also establish a commuting circle that's acceptable to you.
To define a commuting circle, pinpoint your place of work on a map. Determine the maximum time you are prepared to travel to get to work and use this distance to draw a circle around your workplace with a compass. Within the circle, eliminate any areas known for traffic jams and bottlenecks. Drive through the neighbourhoods and delete any that don't appeal to you.
Armed with your blueprint and a REALTOR®, you will be more than ready to find the home you've been dreaming of.
I am the GUY that will make a difference!
I specialize in selling homes in the in the Okanagan Valley including Westbank, West Kelowna, Peachland with a focus on Rose Valley, Lakeview Heights, West Kelowna Estates and Shannon Lake.
Karen Guy, REALTOR®
Coldwell Banker Horizon Realty