Look before you leap into buying a new home

Posted: February 2, 2011 in Buyers, General Information
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(NC)—Got the bug to buy a home this spring? You’re not alone. Millions of Canadians get the urge to splurge on new digs this time of year.

If house hunting is on your spring to–do list, follow this advice from federal, provincial and territorial governments in the Canadian Consumer Handbook at http://www.consumerhandbook.ca. The information is factual, unbiased and contains practical advice for making what could be the biggest purchase of your life.

Really think about what is important to you in your new home – a two–car garage, main floor laundry, no rear neighbours or a view of the city. Once you’ve established your priority list, establish your price range based on your financial situation. Compare mortgage rates, terms and conditions at a number of financial institutions. Mortgage rates and conditions vary widely so shop around.

Unless you’re in a building trade, you won’t necessarily see the faults in a home you’re considering, so you may want to hire a home inspector. Keep in mind that home inspectors are not subject to industry regulation in most provinces. You will want to do some homework to find a reliable inspector. Ask friends and neighbours for references, and ask those inspectors you’re thinking of hiring about their training, experience and membership in professional organizations. Your inspector should always provide you with a written report.

If condo living is what you’re after, research the building thoroughly – who built it, how old it is, maintenance fees, by–laws, rules and restrictions for such things as gardens, outside decorating or pets.

These are just some of the topics covered in the ‘housing’ section of the Canadian Consumer Handbook. For further information on housing, the Handbook offers contact information for each province and territory. The sections on landlord and tenant problems, mortgages and moving are worth reading so that buying the house of your dreams doesn’t turn into a nightmare.

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