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What to consider when buying your dream home

Have you had visions of your future dream home, a space that is uniquely yours for years to come? You’re not alone. Many buyers daydream about the home they intend to spend the rest of their lives in; yet, current buying trends tell us that it’s likely not the last home they will buy.

Could it be that buyers get too wrapped up in the dream, and neglect to consider the reality of their house, neighbourhood, lifestyle and finances?

Here are some important factors to consider before purchasing the house of your dreams.

Does the home meet your current and future needs?

Take an honest look at your current lifestyle. You may think your dream home must have a dining room that sits 12. How often will you require it to meet that need, and will the room sit empty most days of the year?

Do you picture yourself living in a quaint character home, or an open-concept loft-style home? This may conflict with how many bedrooms or the style of home you’ll need for a growing family.

That being said, it’s impossible to foresee the future and difficult to predict what you’ll need from your house 10, 20 and more years down the road. Choose a home that allows some flexibility.

What is the neighbourhood like?

Don’t forget to look beyond the walls of your home when purchasing. The neighbourhood is just as important, if not more so, than the house itself. Are there children and nearby schools in the neighbourhood? Is the street busy or quiet? Is it near amenities such as groceries, restaurants and community centres?

Visit the MLS real estate listing website to find a home’s “walk score,” which rates neighbourhoods based on their proximity to important services and access to roadways and pedestrian-friendly routes. Depending on your lifestyle, a “car-dependent” neighbourhood may or may not suit you.

Can you afford it?

The most important question of all. Dreams for your home need to match how much you can realistically afford. Remember the features you admire come with a price tag. If you’ll struggle each month to make ends meet, perhaps this is not your dream home, after all. Try out our mortgage and All-in-One affordability calculators on to find out how much you would be comfortable with spending on home ownership expenses.

If the only thing standing between you and your dream is a couple of renovations, that can be easily remedied with a purchase plus improvements program (PPIP). This plan allows you to add a little extra to your mortgage, in a more affordable way, to cover the costs of a renovation project.

Do you have the right team to support you?

With the support of a national network of Mortgage Planning Specialists, we can help you explore financing solutions (such as the first-time Home Buyers’ Plan) to achieve your goals. Talk to us today to get the right team behind you before buying your dream home.

February 25, 2016

This column, written and published by Investors Group Financial Services Inc. (in Québec – a Financial Services Firm), and Investors Group Securities Inc. (in Québec, a firm in Financial Planning) presents general information only and is not a solicitation to buy or sell any investments. Contact your own advisor for specific advice about your circumstances. For more information on this topic please contact your Investors Group Consultant.

Investors Group Trust Co. Ltd. is a federally regulated trust company and is the mortgagee. Mortgages are offered through I.G. Investment Management, Ltd.* Inquiries will be referred to a Mortgage Planning (Agent) Specialist. *In NB & ON, registered as a Mortgage Brokerage (ON-License #10809) and Mortgage Administrator (ON-License #11256).