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Are you in search of your dream home?

Whatever your stage in life, there are important constants to keep in mind when house hunting.

Are you in search of your dream home?

Of course you are … everyone dreams of finding the ultimate property – a forever home. Dreams are wonderful and good for the psyche!

Is it realistically the mindset you should have when house hunting?

The perfect home, featuring an updated kitchen, magazine-worthy bathrooms, the latest design elements, expansive hardwood flooring, or professional landscaping comes at a price. Such perfection is rare, so if found, it’s difficult not to feel disappointment if you find yourself in a seller’s market and your offer is rejected.

Real estate markets change, so don’t lose heart or give up. Let’s also not forget, a dream home for one family is far from it for another.

The first time buyer.

Cute Townhouses in Burlington

First time buyers often have visions of finding faultless properties at a budget friendly price. Not entirely impossible – but very unlikely. Starting out on the home ownership ladder, reality, not wishful thinking, needs to be your guide.

  1. Get your mortgage pre-approval and downpayment in order. This will keep you on track and help find the closest-to-perfect home within your budget.
  2. Understand the cash outlay required for closing costs, taxes, moving expenses and fees over and above the actual selling price of your first home.
  3. Consider the poorest house on the street or in a neighbourhood, rather than arbitrarily rejecting it, as it could just be a diamond in the rough.
  4. A so-called “stale” listing may not attract as many bidders. Check the number of days a property has been on the market. There are many reasons why a house may linger on MLS®️: it is not necessarily an indication of a structural problem.
  5. If a home is move-in ready and liveable … kitchen remodels, new flooring, updated bathrooms, can all be accomplished as your budget allows and as you build equity.

The move up buyer.

Detached Southwest Oakville Home

If you are on the lookout for your second, third, maybe even fourth home, you are likely in the market for upgrades and additional space. Often the stage in life, when you are feeling financially comfortable, have built up some savings and equity, and want to reinvest in a property more suited to your expectations and financial goals. You might enjoy the renovation process of a larger home to make it your own, or you may wish to just move in and settle into normal family life without any inconvenience.

  1. Mortgage and downpayment considerations are just as necessary now as they were when buying your first home.
  2. Decide if the house, or the neighbourhood, is the most important. Can you find both?
  3. Evaluate wants vs. needs. You might need a larger living space, or simply want the benefits of a newer, more modern structure.
  4. Be willing to make some changes. If a backyard oasis is the only thing missing from the list, consider adding the pool, patio and landscaping yourself.
  5. Are you rightsizing? Failing to take into account present and future needs could turn your dream into a nightmare.

The downsizer.

Cute Detached Home on a Mature Tree Lined Street in Mountainside Burlington

Downsizing means you are giving up your dream home.  Not true.

Dreams change. Requirements change. However, you may not particularly want to go through the stress and physical effort of transforming a so-so property into one suited to your retirement aspirations. This might be the time to find that no fuss, no muss home.

  1. Are you are inclined to scale back your living space and enjoy the financial benefits of selling your current residence?
  2. Conversations with your financial advisor are in order.
  3. Smaller houses in many established neighbourhoods, especially those with single level floor plans, have frequently undergone extensive renovation – usually reflected in the price point.
  4. If a condominium is more in line with your retirement goals, it is important to ensure the building is a good fit for your lifestyle and expectations.
  5. Give thought as to how you will spend retirement in your home. Be mindful of the activities, amenities and recreational pursuits you plan to enjoy.

Finances can never be underestimated. Stay on budget.

It’s the first step in ensuring things go smoothly. Before speaking with your mortgage broker, get your credit report and score. Correct any errors. Pay bills promptly and don’t fall behind. This is not the time to get new credit cards, or make large consumer purchases. Have proof of income available from employers or self employment. Finally, determine if you have sufficient, immediately accessible funds for a down payment. Remember to factor in the closing costs and moving expenses.

When you have your pre-approval and know what you qualify for in a mortgage, it is tempting to start your search at the higher end of your range. A beautiful home rapidly loses its luster if you find yourself house poor. Nights out, family vacations, and kid’s sporting activities are important. This can be a particularly dangerous scenario in a seller’s market with multiple offers for every property. Stay your course and continue the search. The right house always seems to come along at the right time.

Now and in the future.

Find a home that suits present circumstances, but also try to visualize what you will need in the not so distant future. If this house is a stepping stone, staying for five to seven (or more) years allows you to pay down the mortgage and build equity. If your plans are long term, does the property allow for renovations or additions to suit the family’s changing dynamics?

Ideally, a home should be able to grow with you. Perhaps you are starting a family, need a home office to work remotely, or, will want a home requiring less upkeep.

Don’t let cosmetics get in the way. There is no such thing as the perfect house. Unless extremely lucky, the homes you view probably won’t have everything on your wish list. Look past the paint colour, light fixtures and flooring if they’re not to your taste. Changes can be made over time. Do look for good construction and in order to really understand the condition of the property, never forgo a professional home inspection.

It is important to be flexible – otherwise you will only be disappointed. If in your mind, your dream home has a big front porch, don’t become fixated on that one minor detail. You might miss the otherwise ideal property, which has a small porch but a great backyard deck.

Get to know the neighbourhood.

Mature Mountainside Street

Deciding where to live is just as significant as the house itself. What works for your family circumstances is often determined by where you find yourself in life.

  • Do you want to walk to restaurants, entertainment and public transit?
  • Do you require close proximity to schools, shopping, sports arenas and recreational activities?
  • Do you want to be in the centre of cultural venues or near a golf course?

You may have lived in a town or city your entire life, but neighbourhoods can vary greatly, even within close proximity to one another. Spend a little time in the area, at different hours of the day, to truly grasp the vibe of a neighbourhood and to determine whether the community will meet your expectations.


So dream on, dream house hunters!

When you find your dream home … and you will find it … relax, unwind, enjoy, and create some marvelous family memories.


Top Photo by Kindel Media on Pexels
Cheryl Tym, Sales Representative, REMAX Aboutowne Realty Corp., Brokerage
Cheryl Tym
REALTOR®, RE/MAX Aboutowne Realty Corp., Brokerage

A full time REALTOR® dedicated to providing the best possible service and outcome for clients and their families. International sales, marketing and negotiating skills were part of the daily routine while living and working overseas as Director of Operations for an international hospitality marketing firm. A graduate of Sheridan’s Interior Design Program, and recipient of the Professionalism Award, my artistry and knowledge will highlight the very best features of your property, inside and out.

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RE/MAX Aboutowne Realty Corp., Brokerage
Independently Owned and Operated
A-309 Lakeshore Road East
Oakville, Ontario, L6J 1J3
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