Buying the Right Home

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Image source: http://www.seminoletitlecompany.com/

BY RON BARLAY

One of the best aspects about real estate across the Greater Toronto Area is the diversity.  Like the population in which we live, our homes in Mississauga, Oakville, Brampton, Burlington, Etobicoke and surrounding areas come in all shapes and sizes. What great choices home owners here have in the GTA.  From townhomes to penthouses, from mansions to semi-detached homes, from homes on large, private lots to homes with smaller yards, Mississauga real estate and real estate in the GTA has it all.

So how do you know when you have found the right home?

Of course, your finances will make some of that decision for you. That part is largely up to the bank and your mortgage lender. (You don’t want to be house rich and cash poor.  Don’t buy beyond your means.)

During my twenty five year career as a top Mississauga Real Estate Agent, I have helped thousands of residents across the Greater Toronto Area find their perfect home. This is a shortlist of important specifications to consider when you are on your search:

  1. Neighborhood. Most of us have particular neighborhoods we are drawn to. Either our families live there, or we already reside there, or we know the neighborhood’s reputation. But it can also be important to look outside that comfort zone. There may be a gem of a community out there that you aren’t familiar with. An experienced real estate agent in the GTA will know these gems.  
  2. Schools. Whether you have children or you are thinking of starting a family, it is a good idea to know what schools children in the area you are interested in attend. Whether it is the public school board or the separate school board, both boards can tell you the specific schools for a particular address.  
  3. Traffic. While busy streets may mean hearing more cars at different times of the day, they also mean thousands in savings. Some people don’t mind noise, especially if it means they have a smaller mortgage.  This is also true for homes that are close to railway tracks, subway stations or the like. Typically houses on busier streets or residing close to railway tracks etc. get discounted in value. This may represent an opportunity for some buyers to purchase a home in a specific neighbourhood at a lower price.
  4. Location. And by location, I mean type of street. Homes on cul-de-sacs and courts and dead-end streets are very popular with families with children, especially young children. Homes on corner lots often have larger side yards but smaller backyards. And while they may fewer neighbours, they also may have more traffic noise.  
  5. Yard or no yard. Are you prepared to undertake yearly yard maintenance? Is privacy a major criterion when looking for a home? While houses with nice properties are very appealing, they also require up-keep and TLC.  Condominiums and townhomes and semi-detached homes generally bring with them hassle-free yards or a minimal amount of hassle.  
  6. Type of home.  Bungalows, side-splits, back-splits, two-storey, multi-level. All these homes come with pros and cons. All good real estate agents can adequately explain these to you.
  7. Home specifications. Square footage? Are there a minimum number of bedrooms and bathrooms you would need in your home?  If your budget allows, it is a good idea to look forward and imagine five/ten years from now. Will you need an extra bedroom for another child or an in-law suite?

Purchasing a home can be a stressful process. Just try to simplify the task and be sure to distinguish between “needs” versus “wants.”  Keep your priorities straight and find a real estate agent that truly understands the Greater Toronto Area market and the Mississauga Real Estate market. 

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