Choosing the right home for you, and your family, might quite possibly be one of the most stressful, yet important decisions ever. From choosing the right geographic location, the right school district, the right space and the right price—there are a plethora of decisions to weigh in on.
When most people are seeking out their first home, whether to rent or to buy—it's all about location! Location can be based on being close to family and kinship, near the right schools, or in the right neighbourhoods. We will definitely discuss the advantages and disadvantages of specific locations—but we urge you to consider the other items on your list—as this ultimately is your home.
Below we will help you sort through buying your first home—discussing in detail six different items we think you should contemplate before making such a serious decision! Good luck!
Your personal tastes will undoubtedly come into play when selecting a home! The style you have pre-determined in your mind—modern, traditional, or even eclectic—will usually depend upon both the neighborhoods you're looking at and the geographic location you have your heart set on. Remember this!
What you should decide on right away is if you want something old, or something new. If you and your family are willing to deal with some issues, or like home renovation projects—then something old is perfect for you. If you’re looking for minimal upkeep and restoration – or if you want something more energy efficient – then choosing a newer home is the best choice.
Keep in mind that if you choose to build your own home or buy within a newer development, there might be a loss of character. Depending on the contracting company you work with—the design options per house can be rather stark. Make sure to work with development companies that will allow your unique design qualities to show through – and especially make sure they offer a wide range of colour palettes for you new home.
To feel inspired—check out these beautiful homes by Aleksandr Zhydkov!
When most new homeowners are thinking about location they look at family, schools, shopping availability – and last but not least – where they've always seen themselves creating a family. Once you’ve decided how to prioritize all of the above, it’s time to start looking.
We suggest that in order to get a better idea of the neighborhoods you're looking at—talk to current, local homeowners. This is important – remember that your location will affect a lot of your future, and in particular, the cost.
Important to note: If you’re deciding to move to an area that's extreme in its geographic conditions—mountainous or coastal—make sure that you’re speaking with your realtor, or with locals to get advice on how to safeguard your home in the case of natural disasters!
The fact is that the size of your home will be dependent on two things: The size of your family and the size of your budget.
If your family is more active and tends to rarely be home, then maybe consider a smaller home with only essentials. If you tend to have a larger family, like hosting family events, or if you are someone that works predominately from home – then having more space is wise.
Reminder: The presence of children will only be a temporary experience. Once your children are on their own or leave for college—this is all extra space you will be left with. You don't want to be in a situation once you're older where you're, yet again, having to purchase another home in order to downsize.
Be wise about the price and size you choose from the very beginning. Of course, buy what you need for your family – but keep it smaller so it can become a lifetime home.
Experts claim that your monthly house payment should never be more than 25% of your income – but these estimates vary. Like mentioned before, the location you choose and the size, will greatly impact this! We all know there are some areas where you can get a lot more for your money. For starter homes, we suggest keeping it on the smaller side, and as you decide to expand your family make a decision on whether to stay put, add to where you are, or purchase a larger, family home.
We also think it is wise to sit down and speak with a financial planner when thinking about renting, or especially purchasing your first home. Getting an inspection is also a very wise idea, as the energy efficiency and condition of your home will definitely affect your finances down the road! We know making a budget and sticking to it is difficult, but it is incredibly important.
These architects have done a great job in showing how old and new materials can be used to create a brand new looking home. Consider this when looking at your budget!
We suggest you consider renting, or find a shorter term home if you're young, not home often and are not interested in starting a family just yet. We suggest this for two reasons—you can try to keep the rent cheap depending on how smart you buy—but most importantly, you won't have the upkeep and maintenance that comes with a full-out home. Renting has plenty of advantages – lower costs, all-inclusive rent (energy, heat, internet, etc;) and when something goes wrong, it is most likely not solely your responsibility to fix it! Renting is a great option if you plan on being gone often, or if you want to save more money before purchasing your first home.
However, if you’re ready to settle down and want a home that you can see yourself in long-term—then we suggest you buy. Of course, this comes with more financial responsibility and daily/weekly upkeep—but if you take care of your home and make smart renovations—the long term investment will be well worth it!
When it comes to the style of your home, do ample research on architects, contractors, builders and any newer developments and see what your options are.
The best tip: Find an area you and your family love and take your time getting to know it. Drive through town, speak with current residents/future neighbors and research the history of the area and what makes it special.
Remember, if you can't find your dream home—maybe it's your chance to make it.
For some great inspiration—check these projects out!