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Have patience, a plan when dream-home shopping

October, 2010

It is difficult to write about a dream home because it is very specific to each buyer.

You might not be conscious of how much your dream home reflects different dimensions of who you are. If you go beyond just the renovations, you will discover psychological, sociological and physical dimensions that are interconnected and vary in importance.

Psychological: There is a sense of pride to owning a home. As a broker, I can really feel the seller’s pride, especially when we discuss price. A home is a reflection of the “self” and is part of a dream most Canadians share. We are aware of the advantages of owning a home and there is an investment in family, friendship and community. A home owner will express aspects of their personality in various renovations, including painting, decorating, landscaping, staging and the like. These changes suit lifestyles and interests.

However, there is more to consider than just the renovations. Other than a mortgage payment, you will pay municipal and school taxes, home insurance, heat, electricity and cable/Internet. You might have to pay condominium fees. The financial stress could be overwhelming. If not properly planned, a dream could become a nightmare. You might have to either rent your home or sell it. Neither is an attractive option. You should be comfortable with market fluctuations, but overall, property values increase with time. It is all about having patience and a plan.

Consider the burden of home maintenance. The roof, furnace, brick and terrain must be preserved to maintain property values. Also, you will have to protect your property value against the incursion of a home owner who neglects the property beside yours.

Finally, privacy is an important consideration. Your dream home might be that oasis you have always wanted, which could provide you with peace, contentment and freedom from stress.

Sociological: One cannot place a monetary value on the sociological benefits of owning a home. It is possible to confirm, however, the social consequences of home ownership, which are related to social outcomes for each individual, household and community. These consequences include feeling stable and having a need for social and political involvement.

What about the religious influence in the area you want to buy? There is the environment to consider, also. Considerations for positive child outcomes, health and a lack of crime in the community are important. You must consider the social influences around you when seeking your dream home. A good social support system can make your dream come true.

Physical: The physical dimension is easier to understand because it must at least meet your immediate, basic needs. But don’t forget about the future potential of your dream home.

Here are some examples to consider: Even if there are enough rooms for now, what about in three years? Consider the location of the property. Is it close to the services you need? What about playgrounds, parks and sports facilities?

Consider the terrain. Maybe you want a pool but cannot afford it yet. The lot is something you have to maintain and a larger lot with a pool and plenty of trees or a garden is more to manage.

What about renovations to the kitchen and bathrooms? Are these rooms sufficient for your immediate use? Can you add another bathroom or powder room in the future?

With work, a home can grow to become your dream home. Remember to have vision to see the potential of the property you are going to buy.

Your home will represent various aspects of your personality and will have to be supported by sociological and physical dimensions. Neither dimension alone will represent your dream home but the dimensions will be interconnected. Often, a dream home will not be your first purchase. It will probably come later in life or will be a work in progress.

Keep an open eye as to what your home could be. It might be worth your while to call a real estate broker and/or a contractor to help in seeing the “forest through the trees.” After all, real-estate agents and contractors see hundreds of properties a year and have access to information you may not.



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