Home is where you make it: 8 Tips on Choosing your new Home

When I was looking at condos in downtown Montreal during a short sojourn, I came up with a list of the things I thought were important in finding my new home. Turns out, most of my ideas were right on the money, and now I’m living in one the world’s most beautiful cities. So, I came up with a few tips on how you can choose a home that you can be happy and content with for years to come.

1.     Make a List of Priorities

Make a list of the things you want in your new home, and then arrange them in order of their importance. Number of rooms, a porch, a home office and a yard are some of the main things people put in lists. Throw in extra storage space while you’re at it. If your daily commute to the office is important to you, choose a home or condo near public transportation hubs if you don’t own a car. If you have kids and want your home to be near their school, write it down.

2.     Scope out the Neighborhood and surrounding Area

Perhaps the biggest determining factor in your next home purchase would be the neighborhood and surrounding area. Is it going to be surrounded with great things to do like parks and hiking trails? Does the downtown area have all the shops and restaurants to keep you and your family happy during the weekends? Where’s the nearest pub? Is it safe to walk the dog at night? Is the street noisy and busy? These are just some of the factors you should be considering when choosing your next home.

3.     Know Thy Future Neighbors

Nobody wants to live next door to bad neighbors. That would be a nightmare. So, before you decide to plant your roots for good, canvas the neighborhood first and talk to people. You never know what you’ll dig up from the nosy (but helpful!) neighbors.

4.     Visit at Different times of the day

Make a couple of passes during different times of the day to get a better feel for the place. Just don’t be creepy about it, lest you get lynched by a mob of angry locals because they think you’re a burglar or worse. Let them know why you’re there. It always pays to be friendly, especially if they’re going to be your future neighbors. Take a look at the other houses if the residents are sitting on the porch enjoying conversation or if the there are children playing on the street. You can tell a good neighborhood with decent people from a bad one.

5.     Bring the necessary Tools

Based on personal experience, just bring your smartphone and a tape measure with you when looking at potential future property. Write your list down using a Memo app on your phone (all platforms have one) and save it in the cloud so you can share it with your spouse if you go at it alone. If your phone has a decent camera, use that to take pictures and video of the place. It’s important you do this because our memories are pretty unreliable. You can capture on video how you felt when you first walked in through the front door. The tape measure is there for you to measure the rooms or existing furniture so you can figure out a way you can fit your existing stuff.

6.     Phone a Friend

Make a call in every room and check your 4G connection. This will ensure your new home isn’t a black hole for communications.

7.     Play CSI

Play building inspector and check every nook and cranny of the house. Check under the rug for floor scratches, inside the cabinets for termites and in the basement for dampness and moisture. Knock on the tiles to check if they were plastered well, check for peeling paint and knock or tap on everything you come in contact with. You don’t want to have to spend a fortune on renovating the place when you move in.

8.     Walk around and take it all in

Being in the moment, walk around the house and take it all in. Visualize yourself living there. Visualize the way you want the furniture to look like when you move in. Sit on the couch and the front porch. If it feels good, trust your instincts. You gut feeling is usually right.

Choosing your new home should be a fun and enjoyable experience. It should feel like an adventure and not a chore. Always trust your instincts and don’t lose sight of your priorities. This list also works for condos. Check out the common areas of the building for kids playing, etc. Happy house hunting!