How To Choose A Home To Match Your New Lifestyle
You were ready to choose a home and found the one you adored. But over time, the home you once loved has started to lose its appeal. The floor plan no longer works for your lifestyle and you’re ready for a change…
Your lifestyle is evolving and so should your home.
Maybe you need more room for the kids, more storage space or a bigger yard or you’re just looking for a more modern version of what you already have, with less maintenance and better amenities. Perhaps the kids have moved out to their own places and you’re looking for a smaller, more efficient space. On the flip side, it could be that you need a place with an extra living space for older relatives to live with you.
If any of the above sounds familiar, it’s time to find a new home to match your evolving lifestyle.
Here are some tips to help you find an ideal home that’s perfectly suited to your life circumstances.
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Start With Your Budget
When it comes to looking for your new home, you really need to start with your budget. Knowing how much home you can afford will ensure you look at home within your range. By identifying your budget, you can focus more on the types of homes you seek instead of wasting your time looking at those that are beyond your means.
Evaluate your current finances and check on your debt. Take a look at the interest rates and find the best fit for you. Try using a monthly budget worksheet and a loan calculator to get some numbers you can work with.
Choosing a Location
The location of your home is as important as the building itself, so you need to make sure to think about where you want to live. Do you need a quieter community in the suburbs? A busier neighbourhood close to downtown amenities?
This is important to consider first because the location you choose can affect the overall price of your home.
For example: if you’re a first-time buyer who wants to live closer to downtown Edmonton, a condo, townhouse or duplex will offer the same features and luxuries of a single-family home without the higher prices associated with inner-city neighbourhoods.
On the other hand, if you don’t mind a short commute, you could look at a single-family home at a more affordable price in a bedroom community. In short, the closer to downtown the higher the cost so you’ll need to decide which is most important to you.
Finding the Right Community
The next step will be finding a community with the right amenities. It’s important to consider your lifestyle and what you’re sure to want nearby to support your and your family’s lifestyle. While new communities are developed with everything you need in mind, some like to emphasize certain amenities in particular.
Having plenty of green spaces nearby is a perk for most homeowners, especially active families. This means walking trails, playgrounds and even dog parks may be on your list of needs and wants. If you’re a pet owner, it will make both your family and your pet happy to have a place to play. For instance, the community of Westerra in Stony Plain offers an enormous amount of green space and is perfect for those who want acres of land to explore.
Entertainment, Restaurants and Shopping
If you enjoy meeting up with friends for dinner, catching the latest movies or are always in need of a last-minute trip to the grocery store, these amenities will be your top priority. This is why it’s important to take a look at what’s close to your ideal neighbourhood. Communities like Aster are just minutes from South Edmonton Common, for example.
Finding a home that’s close to essential medical services (eg. a doctors’ office, a dentist, hospital etc.) can make a lot of difference in your day-to-day life, especially if you’re an older couple looking to downsize and don’t want to travel a long distance for medical issues, or if you have a chronic health condition. When looking for a community to live in, consider its proximity to these services and how much easier they could make your day-to-day life.
For those needing to commute to work, transit options can have a major influence over where you choose to live. If you have older kids, you’ll likely want a family-friendly neighbourhood with nearby bus stops. It’s also not uncommon to have to commute downtown for work – so close proximity to the LRT may be important to you as well.
Communities such as McConachie Heights in the city’s north end take your commute into account. Located close to the Anthony Henday, it’s accessible by many bus routes – not to mention, it’s also very close to the Clairview LRT station.
As your children grow, it’ll be important to know there are educational opportunities nearby. Think about the age of your kids; are there multiple schools available within a reasonable distance? This consideration will make your life in a new community much more simple knowing you’ve taken care of your children’s needs.
Take the community of Crimson in Creekwood Chappelle for example. Located in the beautiful Heritage Valley, this neighbourhood offers many different schooling options for kids of all ages.
Speculate on Space
The square footage of the home will be dependent on what kind of changes have taken place in your life. Regardless of the size of the home, you need functionality – this means something different to every buyer.
Here are a few features you may want to consider for your floor plan.
For Growing Families
- Larger families can benefit from having a finished basement
- Attached mudrooms and garages will make getting out the door and coming home easier
- Walk-through pantries are perfect for grocery drop-off and storage
- Larger rooms with more storage may be ideal (walk-in closets, more cabinetry, etc.)
For Those Looking to Downsize
- Fewer bedrooms and reduced living areas will decrease your monthly bills
- Smaller outdoor spaces (like what you’ll find in a townhome or duplex) mean less maintenance
- A single or double attached garage will ensure you still have plenty of storage while keeping vehicles protected from the elements.
For Multigenerational Families
- A separate basement suite will allow older relatives to live in the same home, while still retaining their independence.
- You can even add a separate entrance to the suite so that your relatives can come and go without worrying about disturbing anyone.
- For even more living space and independence, you could add a garage/garden suite to your lot.
In terms of square footage, it generally comes down to layout and functionality. Consider a few of the points above so you can choose a home with the layout you need.
Now that you know how the layout will affect your home it’s time to look consider your lot options:
- You’re going to want to think about the direction the sun faces in relation to your home. If you’re a family that likes to spend plenty of time in the yard, for example, you’ll want to ensure the rear of the home sees plenty of sunlight.
- If you don’t have animals or kids you can opt for a smaller lot that includes less yard and more home (vs. a pie-shaped lot that’s perfect for those who want plenty of yard space).
Be sure to talk to your home builder about lot sizes and options that will fit your needs.
Choose Your Preferred Build Timeline
Once you have a handle on where you’d like to live, how much square footage you need and which lot appeals to you, it’s time to think about whether you want to purchase a move-in ready home or if you want to build from the ground up. No matter what your schedule is, a good builder will have the perfect option for you.
New builds can take anywhere from nine to twelve months – not a lot of time to wait for the home of your dreams. Building your home is very rewarding as it will be to your exact specifications and you’ll be part of the process every step of the way.
An option for those that don’t want to build from scratch but still want to have some input is a spec build. This is a partially built home with a standard structure design – but you can have a say on some of the final touches, depending on its stage of construction.
Move-In Ready Homes
Diverse builders will also offer an array of quick possessions – which means you can occupy a new home in no time at all. Move-in ready homes are fitted with modern design concepts and feature the most popular layouts – taking the guesswork out of buying a home.
Additional Costs to Consider
When buying a new home, there are some costs that may come as a surprise. Here are a few additional costs to prepare for when you buy a home:
With purchasing a new home you have an added advantage because your utility costs can be significantly lower – you will have new appliances and the highest quality of insulation to name just a few energy-saving additions. Just keep in mind you’ll want to budget for your utilities at least for the first two months when you move in.
A brand new home comes built to the best industry standards – taking away many added expenses. One thing to note is that the exterior may not be landscaped. While a good builder will be happy to work with you to create your ideal outdoor escape, you may have to set some additional funds aside. It is recommended you put 10-15% of your home’s overall value towards landscaping.
Depending on where you’re moving from and how much stuff you had at your previous home, you may need to keep moving costs in mind. Movers, renting moving trucks, or just purchasing bins and boxes to transport your items can add up if you’re not ready ahead of time. If you can’t convince your friends to help you over the weekend, we recommend calling around to different moving companies for quotes.
Fees and Taxes
Closing costs generally add up to around five percent of your total home purchase. You’ll also want to plan for property taxes which are determined by your assessed property value.
In short, all you need to do to find the right home is evaluate your current lifestyle and how it may change in the near future. Keep the above in mind and you’re sure to find a home to make you happy now and for many years to come.
Originally published Feb 8, 2021, updated March 22, 2022
Photo credit: depositphotos.com
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