Before Investing

Buying a new home is large investment, both in terms of time and money. To help you realise your dream, two organizations that promote access to property—Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation and the Provincial Home Builders Association of Quebec—suggest that you ask yourself 10 questions before signing.

Who will be able to help me with the process?

A real estate agent, as well as a building inspector who is a member of a professional association, will help you find a nice house at a good price; an architect and a designer will help you personalize your future residence; a notary will revise all contracts to be signed; an insurance broker will find the best housing insurance as well as mortgage life insurance for you.

What amount can I invest now?

Financial institutions generally calculate that we can devote 30% to 32% of our income to the home (including interest, taxes, and heating). The Senior Research Advisor of the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, Jacqueline Meunet, suggests that it would be wise to not take out the largest loan consented to us.

How much money should I put aside for maintenance and renovations?

Given that a house in bad shape loses value, repairs such as replacing used floor facing, should definitely be carried out. It would be wise to open an account especially for renovations, in which you would pay a sum between 0.5% and 1% of your property value each year.

How do you choose the best mortgage loan?

Banks, trust companies, credit unions, pension funds, life insurance companies, and finance companies offer different types of mortgage loans. Mortgage brokers do not lend money but do put you in contact with people who do, such as private lenders.

Between the city, the suburbs and the countryside, which is the most convenient for me?

That not only depends on your income, but also on the lifestyle that you are looking for. Proximity to the workplace, to schools and to recreational facilities is to be taken into account, as well access to public transportation. The availability of certain services is also to be considered.

What information should I find out about my future neighbourhood?

Porperty value and land tax can have an effect on future projects. It would also be wise to contact the municipality for information concerning zoning planning and regulations. Make sure that the neighbothood is stable or expanding, and that you can set up a home office there if you so desire.

How much inhabitable space do I need?

Jacgueline Meunier of the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation suggests avoiding the urge to buy a gigantic home. Energy costs will continue to rise in the years to come. Operating costs, maintenance costs, moving costs and other expenses will also be on the rise.

What type of accommodation best suits my lifestyle?

Whether you opt for a loft, a condo, a bungalow or a cottage, make sure to choose a place that will evolve around you, in terms of space. Multiple-use rooms can be adapted to different uses. As such, you will save on costly renovations and an expensive move.

What about energy consumption?

Good thermal insulation, good-quality windows, and an efficient ventilation system will allow you to make considerable energy savings. New heating appliances, like the natural gas ones, renew the air in your home while maintaining an ideal room temperature. Energy Star, the international symbol of energy efficiency, quickly helps identify products whose energy effiency is 10% to 20% greater than regular models.

Should I favour any specific material?

There are healthful and durable materials that are environmentally friendly.