Is This Neighbourhood Right For Me?

When buying a home, there are some key factors to consider before you jump on the internet or into your car to begin your research. Get out a piece of paper and start writing down yours and your family’s criteria.

(1) Your budget

Knowing what you can afford is critical and you should never waiver from this amount. Determining the right budget will also help you to eliminate neighbourhoods that may be out of your price range right now.

(2) Your list of non-negotiables

Make a list of the features that are really important to you and never compromise. When Renée and I were looking for a new home, one of my “must-have’s” was a swimming pool. The home I grew up in had a pool and I spent countless hours hanging out there with my friends. Cooking and family dinners are important to Renée so one of her core desires was an eat-in kitchen with lots of counter and storage space.

(3) Your housing requirements

What type of home do you really want? How many bedrooms do you need? Is a home office on the main floor a must or is a rec room in the basement for the kids more important?

(4) Your lifestyle needs

How close do you want to be to your work, family and friends? How important is it to have convenient access to day care, schools, restaurants, public transportation, etc.?

So what makes a neighbourhood special to you?  The options are endless.

  • An up-and-coming neighbourhood where the entry prices are lower?
  • Older neighbourhoods with mature trees and established gardens ?
  • Or a newer development where you can start from scratch?
  • Quiet streets or a busier, active area where popular “walking streets” are just a short walking distance away?
  • Close to parks, conservation and walking trails or a skateboarding park?
  • Near big box stores or local boutiques and Farmer’s market?

The best way to make sure you’re going to like your new neighbourhood is to spend time there. Be there on a Saturday morning to see what’s happening. Shop in area stores. Pick up or subscribe to the local newspaper. Visit nearby parks and ride the local bus. It’s a good idea to spend some time walking through the neighbourhood during the day and evening to get to see its highs and lows.

 Happy neighbourhood hunting!

John Procenko is with CENTURY 21 Leading Edge Realty in Markham, ON.

How to Put a Winning Bid on a Home

You finally found the home of your dreams and you’re ready to make the purchase. Here are the steps you can expect to take during the process of making an offer on a property.
Real Estate Purchase Contract

Determine with your real estate agent what price you will offer and fill out a Real Estate Purchase Contract form. An offer can be made with or without conditions. Some typical conditions are dependent on such things as financial approval, the sale of the buyer’s house or a home inspection approval. Your real estate agent will present your offer to the home’s seller or their agent. The seller will then accept, reject or make a counter-offer.


If your offer is rejected, that is the end of the transaction. If the seller presents a counter-offer with a change in terms, the potential buyer is free to accept, reject or make their own counter-offer. This is when the seller may decide to change terms such as the price, closing date or conditions. Counter-offers can go back and forth until the seller or buyer accepts or rejects the terms presented.


Once an offer is finally accepted, the buyer is expected to make a deposit to the seller as a sign of intention to purchase the property in question; the amount of the deposit is applied against the selling price of the home once the transaction has closed. The buyer’s real estate agent can help to determine an appropriate amount to offer as a deposit.

The Final Steps

Get a professional inspection done, finalize your mortgage with your lender and purchase homeowner’s insurance. You’ll also want to hire a lawyer to take care of the last crucial items such as ensuring the money has been transferred from buyer to seller and registering you as the owner of the property.

Once everything is in order and completed and the sale has closed, the home is yours — congratulations!

Angela Slager is with CENTURY 21 Heritage House Ltd. in Woodstock, ON.