New Calgary Home Buyers Guide to Choosing the Right House
Are you thinking about buying a new home in Calgary sometime soon? Whether you’re building from the ground up or are buying an already-built residence, you’ll want to make sure that you choose the right house and end up 100 percent satisfied with your purchase.
So how do you know if the house you’re considering is good for you? Here are steps you can take to ensure that you end up choosing the right one.
Building a new house
The starting point when building from the ground up is lot choice. There are three main things you need to know about your lot: price, lot coverage and what (if any) architectural controls there are in place. Also see our New Calgary Home Buyers Guide to Choosing a Lot.
A lot with wider dimensions and away from a main highway is likely to cost more than a skinnier one with a sound-barrier as its back fence, for example. A bigger lot may be ideal if you’re looking for more backyard space for the kids or to entertain guests. It also may give you more options when it comes to floor plans.
Lot coverage is determined by the lot developer (usually a different company than the home builder) and dictates how long and wide your home can be. New suburban home builders typically have pre-existing builds which already comply with the lot coverage for a specified lot. Keep in mind that the allowable length and width can restrict which floor plans there are to choose from as some of these require the homes dimensions to be expanded.
Architectural controls are a set of rules made by the developer that determine the design details of new homes. Some examples include the type of exterior, allowable colours, type of roofs and architectural style all together. New home builders will be familiar with all architectural controls in new suburban communities and provide several design options if you choose to build from the ground up. It’s important you choose a community with architectural controls that you like!
Picking from floor plans
Some new home buyers prefer to browse floor plans before considering the lot. Builders always have a vast selection of plans to choose from; it’s important that you take your time and really consider what features will fit your lifestyle best – not just in the now, but in 2, 5 and even 10 years down the road.
Also see our New Calgary Home Buyers Guide to Choosing a Builder.
Some important questions to ask:
- How long do you plan to stay in your home for?
- Do you plan on having kids in the future?
- Do you plan on having pets in the future?
- Do you enjoy entertaining guests on a regular basis?
- Do you like to play sports such as pool or darts at home?
Answering these questions and any others you can think of will help guide you to picking a space that has the size necessary to grow into and layout that’s compatible with your life.
The amount of additional rooms and other functional spaces you end up getting will also affect your resale value down the road.
Changing the floor plan can sometimes change the exterior look of the home. I recommend you determine what inside features you want first before considering exterior aesthetics as the living space is much more important.
New home builders will typically have a few show suites to give you an idea of the floor plan and interior features. Make sure to visit them all as well as many inventory homes if possible. If the floor plan you’re considering is different from the show home, try to imagine what the space would look like as best you can.
One of the most exciting parts about buying a new home is getting to have a say in the finishings. While most floor plans are pre-determined and customization is somewhat limited, there’s typically much more leadway when it comes selection of finishings. Some considerations:
- Granite, quartz or stone countertops
- Kitchen, bathroom and lighting fixtures
- Wood, tile, carpet or stone flooring
- Doors and trim
- Paint colours
- Kitchen and bathroom cabinetry
- Appliance package
- Window treatments – blinds, shutters
- Architectural detailing
- Storage options
Once again, make sure to visit as many model homes from the home builder as possible. Not just one or two, but as many as you can! Home builders typically add a ton of upgrades to show homes which are chosen based on past demographics for that particular market.
Visiting all the model homes available will give you an idea of how upgrades look in actual spaces and can help you determine exactly which ones you want in your home. Ask for a feature sheet that outlines which ones are add-ons and keep track of any you do like for further consideration later on.
There are a number of online resources that can help you determine which look you want in your home. Pinterest and Houzz are two websites that offer inspiring photographs of finished interiors.
The home builder’s design centre will also give you several ideas of how to combine flooring, paint, trim and other finishings. It’s worth taking a visit before your actual design appointment to get an idea of what you want.
Use an experienced buyers’ agent
Last, but not least is to acquire the services of a real estate agent who has extensive experience in helping people buy new homes from builders. At the end of the day, the home builders’ representatives work for the company, not for you, therefore its best to have a third-party representative with you when visiting the sales centre or show suite.
An experienced real estate agent will have your best interests at heart and help guide you through every step of the way, not to mention that they are paid by the home builder for their services – not by you! Ask your agent of choice for more information on how they can help you traverse a new home purchase with success.
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As a top-producing REMAX real estate agent in Calgary, I promise to provide you with only the best third-party representation when buying from a home builder while taking care of all your real estate needs.
Call me anytime at 403-370-4180 or message me below for a prompt response. I am looking forward to helping you accomplish your real estate plans!