“When you leave a beautiful place, you carry it with you wherever you go.” - Alexandra Stoddard
“There is a saying that every nice piece of work needs the right person in the right place at the right time.”- Benoit Mandelbrot
Undeniably, buying or selling a home is no small undertaking. In fact, it is a monumental decision that requires the utmost planning, organization and careful thought. When compared to renting, it is not easy to ‘get out’ of a hastily made decision. Hopefully, we can avoid the ‘waste from haste’ by working with a competent, intelligent and timely real estate professional: a decision that can save us time, money and headache.
Over the course of working in the real estate industry, both as a destination service consultant and a licensed real estate associate, I have come up with three key questions that one must honestly and transparently answer for themselves before buying or selling. They are:
Where do you want to move to - sounds simple enough, but many people do not actually have this narrowed down; or they think they do, but can be distracted easily by the ‘shiny penny’ of yet another bigger, better community or location. You need to sit down and have a heart to heart with yourself as to where it is YOU want to live, and for what reasons. Is it convenience you are looking for? Status? Access to public/separate system schools? The best off leash dog park in the city? What is it about your lifestyle that you want to bring with you to this new location and does this new location offer? Finally, what are the deal breakers? For instance, it has access to public transport, but not LRT, and are you ok with taking the bus? There are many resources in print, on line and with your real estate professional’s experience to help you decide. No question is a small question.
When do you want to move - sure, one might think ‘as soon as possible’, but that isn’t necessarily the way that it is going to work, especially if you are trying to list and sell a house in order to buy a new home. Again, we need to sit down and consider what the market is doing, the inventory available and are we ok with what is on market presently, work/school considerations (i.e. being settled into a new home before school starts in the fall clearly makes a lot of sense), seasonal restraints of moving in the winter and schlepping stuff through snow banks, and such financial considerations as mortgage rates, cash flow, and much more (for financial advice, best to check in with your bank or mortgage broker). The timing of a move can make or break the euphoria of actually buying the dream home, in many ways, so good to have this well thought out as your real estate professional will most certainly ask you.
What do you want to move in to - regardless of whether it is your dream home you are ready to locate and move into, or a first time buyer/starter home, this question needs careful consideration or it can be costly, let alone a potential relationship divider. Start with where you currently live and what you like or dislike about it, even if it is a temporary rental or you are living with your parents. From there, you can map out (perhaps literally with pen/paper) your lifestyle and what your happiness requires in terms of space. I am not saying that you will necessarily be able to get it all in one, but you might be able to arrive at certain deal breakers, or areas that are negotiable. Are you looking to renovate if what you buy doesn’t have it already? What are the finances of that, and is it feasible? Spaces that generally require attention are the following: bedrooms (number, size, and location), kitchen, and living room vs. family room, bathrooms, developed or semi-finished basement, garage. Another question is will your family be expanding? Do you have pets? All of these questions need to be well thought out and discussed with yourself and family members before seeking the assistance of your real estate professional. Of course, she can assist you in looking at ways to make things work, but at the end of the day, the decision will ultimately be yours as you have to live with and within it.
So, before getting in front of a real estate professional, make sure you are prepared - where to, when is the optimal time and what is the best fit. Here are some additional resources: