How To Choose A Home To Match Your New Lifestyle
Is it time to choose a new home? As your lifestyle evolves, so should your home. Maybe you’ve outgrown your current home and need something bigger. You may need more room for the kids, more storage space or a bigger yard. Or, maybe you’re just looking for a more modern (or smaller) version of what you already have with less maintenance and better amenities.
If any of the above sounds familiar, it’s time to find a new home. Here are a few tips to help you choose the home that’s perfectly suited to your unique life circumstance.
Choose a Location
Think where you want to live. Is it a quieter community in the suburbs? A busier neighbourhood close to downtown? This is important to get a handle on in advance because the neighbourhood will affect the overall price.
For example. if you’re a first-time buyer wanting to live closer to downtown Edmonton, a 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 may be able to purchase 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 want to decide which is most important to you.
Consider the 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 (or 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 but can be especially important for 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
Having these things nearby makes life fun and easy. 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 the Orchards in Summerside are just minutes from South Edmonton Common, for example.
For those needing to commute to work, transit might have a major influence over where you’re going to want 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 into downtown for work – so close proximity to the LRT may be important to you as well. Communities such as Newcastle in the city’s north end take your commute into account. Located just off
the Anthony Henday, Newcastle is accessible by many bus routes – not to mention, it’s also very close to the Clairview LRT station.
As your children grow, it will 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 dependant on what kind of changes have taken place in your life. Regardless of the size of home, you’ll want functionality but this could mean something different to every buyer. Here are a few features you may want to consider for your floor plan.
For Growing Families
- Larger families may benefit from having a finished basement
- Attached mudrooms and garages will make getting out the door 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 are likely to reduce 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.
In terms of square footage, it often comes down to layout and functionality. Consider a few of the points above so you can choose a home with the square footage you need.
Now that you know how square footage 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 builder about lot sizes that might be right for your needs.
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 up to nine or ten 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 (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 a few or all 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 month when you move in.
A brand new home comes built to the best industry standards – taking away many added expenses. One thing to note, though, 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 commonly recommended that 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 Mar 8, 2020, updated Feb 8, 2021