What do we want in a home?
Once we decided to take the plunge and explore home ownership, our next step was to try to decide what we wanted in a home, and what was a must-have versus what would be nice.
It was a lot tougher than I had expected. After throwing out the ridiculous and impractical ideas (such as Mr. Speedy requesting space for a suit of armour), we found that our list of priorities was actually pretty small — basically, we wanted something with two or more bedrooms in a safe neighbourhood close to the subway.
Which neighbourhood is still up for debate. We love living in the east end, where we have rented since coming to Toronto, but we don't want to rule out any other fabulous, and yet-undiscovered, hoods either. Plus, with our price range, we figure a little bit of flexibility is important! As long as it's safe and close to public transit, we'll be willing to consider it.
As for size, we really want to find a place we'll be happy living for the next 10 years (which, based on our nomadic moving history, is pretty epic). So that means that cramped one bedrooms are definitely out. A two bedroom could suit our needs, while a two plus den or rec room would be divine!
We also decided we're not looking for a project. We don't want to keep renting while undergoing an enormous renovation on our new place, or, heaven forbid, trying to live in a house through the overhaul. Small projects are OK, but places described as having "a great lot" or "good bones" are certainly not on our radar.
So, with these things in mind, we've started looking at listings, which is also helping us add to our "nice to have" list.
Prowling the listings with home ownership in mind, rather than simply window shopping, has helped us decide that a laundry room would be nice, and that having our own laundry is a must, even if it means a plumbing project. And an outdoor space would be a great perk, but, given my lack of a green thumb, a gorgeous garden isn't going to add much to the value for us.
Obviously, we've still got a lot of decisions to make before we find our "dream" home (or condo, or townhouse, or condo townhouse ... we haven't decided on that yet either!), but we're ready to start crunching the numbers, working with pros and, very soon, taking real-life instead of virtual property tours!