Important Factors When Buying A Home

What factors affect the value of a home?

* Location: Real estate people always say “Location, location, location.” That’s because the area you live in will be the biggest factor affecting your home’s price. It’s smart to buy a home where housing prices are likely to increase. Also, the people who may buy your home from you one day may be willing to pay more for a home that is close to schools, sports centres, stores, services, and so on. Keep that in mind as you look.
* The condition of the home and the property it is on: Does the home need a lot of repairs? How is the roof, plumbing, and electrical wiring? A home in good repair may be worth more. Also, the condition of the outside of the home, the lawn, gardens, driveway, and trees will all affect the value of a home. These are the first things that buyers see, and are together known as curb appeal.
* Renovations and updates: An older home might need some work to keep it safe, modern, and comfortable. If you are buying at a home that has had some renovations, check the quality. When you do work on a home you own, do it as well as you can. Poor work can lower the value.
* The economy: There are some things you can’t control that affect house prices, like interest rates. Higher interest rates mean it costs more for a mortgage, so fewer people buy homes. When that happens, the prices of homes can fall. Lower interest rates, on the other hand, can boost buying and drive prices up. House prices often go up for a while, and then come down a bit. Try to find out as much as you can about how prices are changing, or may change, when deciding to buy or sell a home. Often there will be stories in the paper about housing prices.

How much is my home worth today?

If you’re considering buying a home, or you just bought one, you know how much it’s worth. But if you’ve owned your home for a while, its value has probably changed. Here’s how you can find out how much it’s worth now:

* Call a real estate agent: Ask them for an estimate of your home’s value. You may be able to get an agent to do this for free, because they hope to get your business in the future.
* Ask an appraiser: Your bank or a real estate agent should know a number of appraisers. Banks use them to estimate house values before they approve mortgages. You can also look in the yellow pages. An appraiser will charge a fee for the service.
* Check to see what other homes in your area have sold for recently: Compare your home with similar ones that have sold. Unless you keep up with what’s happening in your area, this information may be hard to get. Ask your real estate agent if you can’t find it yourself.

How much will my home be worth in the future?

To estimate a home’s future value, you will have to do some informed guessing. Start with finding out what has happened to prices in your location over several years.

This chart shows how house and condo prices in several Canadian cities changed from 1990 to 2010. Note that real estate prices in Toronto went down a lot between 1990 and 1996 and took a number of years to climb back. Still, the average growth for these cities since 1990 was almost 8 per cent, almost double the historical average of 5 per cent a year.

Toronto
(value in 2009): $254,890
(Value in 2005): $336,176
(Value in 2010): $409,000
Total% increase, 1990-2010: 60.46
Average % increase per year: 3.02
(From CREA)

(There are more cities included in the original article on the Globe and Mail site, an interesting point is that Toronto’s year on year growth is amongst Canada’s lowest %…)


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