09 Jul 2021

The home buying process can be overwhelming, intimidating, exciting, scary, and absolutely incredible all at once! It’s a confusing mix of emotions that all homebuyers go through, so don’t let it get to you. If you let it, this experience can be one of the most memorable and exciting times of your life! 

When it comes to acquiring your dream home, you want to make sure everything is just so and that you’re going to get exactly what you’ve been envisioning. To help you get to that point, we’ve compiled a list of six tips to help you plan your dream home! 

1. Don’t let your budget fall to the wayside. 

It’s so easy to get caught up in the beautiful fixtures, the fancy flooring, and the top-tier appliances. When you first decide to seek out your dream home, you need to first figure out how much you can afford and what you’re willing to spend. A set budget is going to be your best friend during the whole process! 

When you begin the actual planning phase (meeting with a builder, picking out materials, fixtures, and appliances) be sure to keep your budget in mind. It’s not to say that you can’t splurge a little on your dream home, far from it. If this is to be your Forever Home, you’ll definitely want to make sure you get everything that you want. If you’re sticking to a tight budget, decide which fixtures you’re willing to spend a little extra on. Maybe you have always dreamed of the top-of-the-line appliances and choose to spend more on that area than the light fixtures. Set your priorities and keep track of your spending to stay on top of your budget. 

2. Hire a team of professionals who will help you acquire your dream. 

To ensure you get the most out of your dream home, you need to acquire a dream team. There are a few key people that you’ll want on your side to help you through the process of buying your ideal home: 

  • an experienced real estate agent
  • a financial consultant and lender
  • a local builder

When it comes to real estate agents, you’ll want someone who is familiar with new construction homes. Not all agents are the same or have the same background; some specialize in condo buildings, some work primarily with building companies, and some do a little bit of everything. Do some research, read the reviews, and find someone who is compatible with you. 

Consulting with financial lenders will give you an idea of how much you’re able to sink into your dream home. They’ll also guide you towards the right type of loan for your real estate needs. When you’re building a home, you’ll want to acquire a home construction loan, which differs slightly from the typical mortgage used in standard real estate transactions. 

Lastly, your builder is going to be your go-to throughout the whole process. Make sure you interview multiple builders and find the company that best suits your desires. Every company offers unique packages and home designs, and the agreements you make will differ from builder to builder. For example, some ask that you use their partnered vendors when it comes to materials and appliances while others offer more flexibility. 

3. Scout out potential locations and find your ideal match.

Choosing where you’re going to live is a major factor in the decision-making process. Your location is going to affect your entire lifestyle: where you buy your groceries, the new neighbours you’ll be socializing with, the school your children will attend, your new favourite restaurant. Take your time and figure out what’s most important to you in a community. 

4. Examine your options and don’t be afraid to negotiate. 

If you walk through a model home to get an idea of what you’re after, keep in mind that builders typically showcase their top fixtures and materials upfront in order to amaze and entice potential homebuyers. If your budget is at the forefront of your mind, understand that you do have options. You don’t have to buy what’s first presented to you, there are always standard as well as upgraded features. 

Negotiations are a large part of real estate agreements and that’s no different when purchasing a pre-existing home or building a brand new one. With the help of your experienced real estate agent, you can work together to get the very most out of your purchase. 

Another factor to keep in mind is warranties. Not all warranties are equal and you’ll want to be sure that all your fancy new fixtures are covered. Builders acquiring materials from a variety of manufacturers and suppliers will present separate warranties for each product. It’s a good idea to keep a documented list or file just in case something goes wrong. 

5. Get absolutely everything put into writing. 

This is possibly one of the most important things to keep in mind throughout your whole homebuying experience. Every agreement you make, every promise made by realtor or builder, ask to have it in writing. Verbal agreements won’t hold up if there’s any issues, your safest bet is to have it written down. 

A written guarantee is another term you’ll want to be familiar with. When you sign on with a builder, they’ll give you a timeframe for the completion of your new home. When this date is suggested, ask for a written guarantee to keep you covered if any surprise delays in materials or extreme weather holds construction at bay. Sometimes, these occurrences may cost the homebuyer extra, but a written guarantee will provide you with the most coverage.

6. Consider some of these money-saving tips. 

Acquiring your dream home can be a costly affair. Between the cost of materials, new fixtures and appliances, paying the builder, realtor commissions, and home inspections, all these prices add up. That being said, you can definitely find ways to save some money on such a major purchase. Here’s just a few examples:

  • Opt for DIY projects: If at all possible, there’s always the option of doing some of the work yourself. If you have any skills in electrical work, flooring, painting, or plumbing, you won’t need to hire someone to do the work for you. 
  • Go green: Many appliances and utilities offer energy-efficient options. These eco-friendly designs may cost more initially, but can save you plenty in the long run and as an added perk, will help to protect the environment. 
  • Research your appliances: Those who have the flexibility to bring in their own appliances have more options to save a few dollars. Appliances, as it turns out, can be extremely expensive. Buying used is a great way to cut costs, as long as you do your research and determine what kind of wear and tear has been done on them. 

There’s an incredible amount of decisions to be made when you’re planning out your dream home. Everything from finding the right builder to choosing a floor design to managing your budget will affect your experience. Hopefully, all for the better! Be sure to make the most of this experience and enjoy every minute of this exciting endeavor!

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Use this worksheet when going through the building process to help identify the priorities for your dream home!