What Canada’s Home Buyers are Looking For

Canadians who are house shopping in 2013 are looking for more than granite countertops and hardwood floors. According to recent research, it’s all about the family – a trait we share with our neighbours across the border.

Both Canadians and Americans cite growing families as the main deciding factor in purchasing a new home. According to real estate professionals, almost three-quarters of their clients are motivated to look for a new home when they outgrow the old one thanks to their growing families.

But once the decision is made, Canadians and Americans may be looking for different things in their new homes. While top priorities remain the same – a safe neighbourhood, proximity to amenities and affordability – Canadians are more energy-conscious and maintenance-shy.

According to a study of Ontarians planning to purchase a home in 2013, ongoing home maintenance is an important consideration. Conducted by the Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA), the OREA State of the Market survey released in mid-2012 indicated 85% of buyers were concerned about maintenance of big yards and what’s covered by condo management fees.

Energy costs remain a major issue for most Canadians, as many sellers conduct energy audits and invest in energy-saving renovations to make their properties more saleable.

Growing families find quality of neighbourhood schools an important factor in the purchasing decision and want to be closer to jobs to carve out more family time.

So Canadians with growing families are looking for safe neighbourhoods close to work and amenities. They prefer single-family housing but are concerned about maintenance and energy costs. Their preference is for a home that is move-in ready, and they want to feel they’ve gotten a great deal.

In a way, it’s not that different from previous generations seeking homes where their families can grow up in safe neighbourhoods with the local grocery store and schools nearby.

Gifts First-time Homeowners Will Really Use

Spring is home-buying season, and if you have friends moving into their first home, you know a housewarming gift is in order.

While flowers and candles are lovely, why not pick up something practical, particularly for those first-time homeowners? Read on for ideas that are sure to be appreciated.

Pay a visit to your local bookstore and check out the home improvement shelves. Books on do-it-yourself home projects or a first-time owner’s guide are great options. Alternatively, pick up a beautiful coffee table book on a subject your friends are interested in.

Gift baskets
Don’t pay big bucks for someone else to put one together; get creative and personalize a gift basket yourself. Try items a homeowner would find handy, such as dish towels, hand soap, linen spray, funky paper napkins and monogrammed coffee mugs. Or go with a theme, such as movies: Pick up a few classics on DVD and add some gourmet snacks.

Gift cards
Buy them a gift card for home improvement, decor, gardening or grocery stores. Or give them a break with a restaurant gift certificate or a one-time visit by a cleaning service.

A collection of essential tools is something that every homeowner will need at some point. Buy a basic toolbox and fill it with items such as a hammer, various screwdrivers, pliers, a wrench and a tape measure. Or choose one tool – a drill or a hammer – and buy the best quality item you can afford. Include drill bits or nails.