If it’s time to trade in your starter home for something bigger, try these four tips to ensure a great outcome…
Are you ready to upsize your living space? Few things are as exciting as realizing you can afford more square footage. If your family is at this stage, now is a time to celebrate. It’s also a time to take stock of what you really want in a larger home—and ensure that you make the smartest move possible. If you’re thinking of upsizing or selling your first home and buying your second, here’s what you should know.
1) Think about your specific upsizing requirements
Perhaps your household income has seen a boost, and you can finally afford your dream house. Maybe your family is growing, and you’ve saved enough to find a place that will better accommodate you. Either way, you’re ready for a bigger home—just don’t make the mistake of believing square footage is all that matters.
When you’re selling your first home and buying your second, think carefully about how your family uses your current space. Do the kids like to do their homework at the kitchen table? Are all of your loved ones often in the living room together, or does everyone prefer to retreat to their own rooms? How often do you have guests stay with you?
Put simply, layout matters. If you want to live as comfortably and harmoniously as possible, keep your family’s lifestyle in mind during viewings.
2) Consider location
The neighbourhood you live in—and how well it matches your needs—can have a huge impact on your quality of life. What many home hunters don’t realize is that the decision to upsize often has implications for where they’ll wind up living.
In many suburban communities, you’ll find no shortage of spacious homes that sit on large lots. In contrast, single-family homes are harder to come by in most of Toronto’s central neighbourhoods. When you do find that 3-bedroom Victorian in the Trinity Bellwoods, you can bet that its listing price will at least partially reflect its hip address.
Of course, both suburban and city living are accompanied by pros and cons. It all comes down to the lifestyle you want. The right real estate agent can help you find a neighbourhood that matches your needs—and negotiate for the best price possible once you locate the home you want.
3) Budget thoroughly
If you’ve bought a house before, you know that there are additional costs involved beyond the sticker price. That said, it’s easy to forget that the size of a new home can affect how much more you’ll pay.
All too often, upsizers budget for costs such as utilities, maintenance, and landscaping using the same numbers that were applicable for a smaller house.
The problem is, a bigger home means greater square footage to heat in the winter. It usually means more pipes that could start leaking, a larger roof that may require replacement down the line, and (often) more lawn to care for. These costs can have a major impact on how much home you can afford, so consider them carefully before making a purchase.
4) Decide whether to buy or sell first
If you’re selling your first home and buying your second, you’ll want to put plenty of thought into your timeline. This point doesn’t only apply to people who are purchasing large houses, but upsizers are often most impacted by the decision to buy or sell first. Here’s why.
Purchasing a home before you sell the one you currently live in can mean floating two mortgages at once. Some buyers can afford to do this, but many can’t. Since larger homes typically require more sizeable financing, it’s possible to get yourself into some serious hot water if you buy first.
On the flip side, selling first can leave you with nowhere to stay while you search for a new house. In many circumstances, finding a place that will work in the short term can be costly, inconvenient, or both.
The bottom line? Buying a bigger home is exciting, but it comes with several challenges. Fortunately, a bit of forethought, preparation, and expert guidance can help ensure that you purchase the right space—without hitting too many bumps along the way.
Thinking of upsizing soon? Want help selling your first home and buying your second? I can help ensure that the process is smooth. Get in touch, and we can set up a time to discuss your needs.