Whether you already live in Whistler and have decided you’d rather pay off a monthly mortgage than farewelling rent payments to your landlord. You’ve found out your family is expanding and you’re in need of a little extra space to move and grow. Or you’ve decided you’d like to invest in a little vacay property to escape to for the weekends. Whatever your reason for buying a home, there are always going to be considerations you should ask yourself to find out “is this the right home for me”?Some questions might be no-brainers, but there are always a few that have more layers to weigh up.As a buyer in today’s market, we always recommend having a licensed home inspection done on any property that you’re serious about investing in. However, most people like to compare several different properties in the lead-up to finding ‘the one’, and it can be costly to get a professional check done for each.For that reason, we’ve put together a self-checklist to help you identify the good bits and the bits that don’t quite meet your needs when searching for your new havn…
- What schools are in the area? Are there both elementary and secondary? Is there a Tertiary institute nearby?
- What would the commute time be to take the kids to/from school in morning/afternoon traffic? Will this fit in with your work schedule?
- Is there a school bus and bus route nearby?
- Would you feel safe about your children walking/biking to school?
- Can your children attend that school – fees, zoning, etc?
- Is there a supermarket, gas station, hospital or police precinct nearby?
- How far is the home from other amenities that you might need/use regularly – walking and/or driving distance?
- Is the home near to a beach, park, river, trails or fitness centre?
- Is the home close to your friends or family?
- Are you near a highway or easy access to one if you often head out of town?
- Is the house on a quiet street? Cars, highway, dogs, loud music, etc.?
- What do the houses look like on the street/in the area? Do they look well cared for?
- Can you imagine yourself feeling happy and safe in this neighbourhood – walking the dog, children playing in the yard?
- Is there enough privacy – bedrooms, backyard, etc.?
- Can you see or talk with any locals to gauge their feelings on the area?
- Are there any local groups or community centres to join?
- Can you research the crime rate in the area?
- Does the ground look dry, are there plenty of trees and landscaped areas?
- Is the home near public transport? An airport?
- What are the most recent updates to the home and is there a list of repairs required – plumbing, carpets, electrical, etc.?
- Is the basement finished or roughed in?
- Do all the doors and windows close properly? Can you feel any obvious drafts around them?
- Are the windows single, double, or triple paned? Are there any visible cracks?
- How are the walls? Do they look like they need new paint or wallpaper?
- Does the layout match your preference? E.g., Is the kitchen spacious and bright or long and narrow without windows?
- How old is the hot water cylinder and does it need replacing soon?
- Can you see any signs of mold or condensation damage?
- If there is a basement, can you see any water or dampness?
- Is the fireplace functioning correctly? Does it need updating or repair?
- Is there a security system? Inside and outside?
- Are there curtains and blinds on all windows?
- How much storage does the house have? Will it be enough for your needs?
- Are there cracks in the ceiling or floor foundations?
- Does the house have heating and/or air conditioning installed?
- Can you spot smoke alarms where needed?
- Does the home currently have all of the main appliances?
- Is there enough space in the home to meet your needs now as well as in the near future – bedrooms, outdoor area, kitchen, bathrooms, etc.?
- Is there a bathtub for young children?
- What is your first opinion of the property from the street? Is it appealing and welcoming to you?
- Is there enough privacy from the street and/or neighbours?
- Do the neighbours’ properties look well cared for?
- Are there trees and garden areas?
- Do power lines run directly across the house?
- Are trees close to any power lines or do they overhand any gutters? Do any need removing?
- How new is the roof? What is it made of? Does it require any replacement or repair?
- Can you see any visible foundation issues on the home?
- What is the exterior material? Does it need any upgrades or repairs? E.g., when was it last painted?
- Is there a chimney? Is it straight and in working order?
- Take a peek at the gutters and drains – are they clear and functional?
- How close are the neighbours?
- Is there a right of way for storm or sewage access? Do you know where it’s located on the property?
- Is it connected to a municipal or private sewage system?
- What are the limits or regulations for building on your property – a garden shed, carport, fencing, etc.
- Is the home accessible for seniors or those needing assistance?
- If there’s a pool, does it need repair? Does it need fencing for pets or smaller children?
- If there’s any brickwork around the pool or patio, are they in good condition or would they require repair and/or replacement?
- What is the driveway made of? If concrete, are there any major cracks or damage?
- What is the parking like? Is there a garage (single or double)? Is there enough space on the driveway or property, and/or is there street parking available?
- If there is street parking, are there times you cannot park there? If so, does that work for you?
- Is there enough of an outside area? Is there a deck, a patio, room for your kids and pets to roam and play?
- Is there enough space and opportunity to renovate, build and extend on areas of the home?
- Do you have enough to cover the listing price, or the required down payment?
- Do you need to obtain a mortgage? Are you pre-approved?
- Do you have any major expenses (current or upcoming) that could affect your ability to meet any mortgage repayments?
- Do you have a reliable and stable source of income?
- Can you afford any early needed repairs?
- Do you have additional finances to cover any improvements you might like to make – e.g., the bathroom, kitchen, painting, etc.?
- Do you have enough additional income over to cover utilities including power, hydro, and property taxes?
- If the property is part of a Strata, are you able to cover the Strata fees?
- Do you have enough additional income to cover any unexpected costs? Perhaps a window gets broken, there’s a roof leak or the HVAC breaks down?
THE BIGGER PICTURE
- Do you plan to have children in the next few years? Will this home be big enough and have enough space for you to grow?
- Are your children now older and perhaps thinking of moving out of home in the next couple of years? Will the home possibly be too big if that happens?
- Do you have elderly parents nearby that might need somewhere to live if you step in as caregivers?
- Are you rush buying or feeling pressure to get into the property market?
- Is the price of rent rising?
- Is it better to buy a home that you can work on repairing and doing up yourself as opposed to a newer home with all the bells and whistles?
- Is the location of your job stable? Or is there potential for you to be transferred elsewhere at some point soon?
- Is there any reason your current job(s) might not continue long-term?
- Do you have any significant debt? Do you have a set plan for payments?
- What condition is the current real estate market in? Is it a competitive seller or buyers’ market? Are mortgage rates high or low? Is there a good level of inventory?
- Are you happy looking yourself or would it be easier to have an experienced agent helping to guide you through the process?