So you have decided you are ready to buy your dream home.  Where do you begin?

The first step is to identify several key factors that will ensure you find a home that is right for you.  First, consider your current and future housing needs:

  • What type of property do you need? A condo, townhouse, or detached house?
  • How many bedrooms and bathrooms do you need?
  • What city and or neighborhood do you want to call home?
  • How long to plan to own the home?

For example, a one bedroom condo may be fine today but you may want to start a family in a year. Will that same size home still work? Do you need a home office space or does the home offer a convenient commute into work?

The next step is to determine what you can afford for a monthly payment.  Nothing takes the joy out of new home ownership faster than worrying each month whether you’ll be able to pay your mortgage.  Use a helpful Mortage Calculator to determine what monthly payment works for your budget. Are you shopping for the lowest price possible or are you making a long term investment?  This will determine which houses you should look at when buying a home.

Now that you have assessed your housing needs and have a budget, the final step is to make a list of specific features of houses for sale broken into three categories:

  1. Essential
  2. Important
  3. Desirable

This list will likely include amenities such as fireplace, dishwasher, air conditioner, office, storage, walk in closet, and so on.  This list can be helpful when deciding between several homes for sale and which has more of the essential features than the others.

Once you have started looking at houses for sale there are several other considerations that may not be on your list. Be sure to ask these questions about each home for sale on your list:

  • Does the location and local features (schools, transportation, work, family, recreations) make sense for your needs?
  • Are there views from the home and is window placement good?
  • Are children and / or pets allowed?
  • What is the condition of the home? Is it move in ready or are you prepared to perform the renovations needed?
  • What is the construction quality and finishing/appliance quality?
  • What is your cost and ease of maintenance?
  • What are potential sound issues, such as traffic or upstairs neighbors?
  • What is the size of the yard, garden, and/ or patio?

As professional Sutton WestCoast Realtors serving Surrey, White Rock, Langley, and other Great Vancouver neighborhoods we can help you find the home of your dreams. Call or text our Sutton real estate agents at 778-316-4290 to get started.  We look forward to hearing from you!

Editor’s Note: This original post published in October 2011 has recently been updated for relevance and accuracy.