On Buying A House Versus A Home

Homewatch Newsletter Archive


If you’re new to the real estate market, we’ve got one little tip to start off your search. Purchasing a “House” is a completely different experience than buying a “Home”.

A house is an edifice, an investment or shelter. A Home however, is the space in which you lay your roots, seek comfort and express yourself best.

It’s no wonder then, when you consider the vast connection between heart and home, that the journey can be complex.

Not only will you be subjugated to the push-and-pull dynamics typical of the competitive Toronto real estate market, but you’ll be tested emotionally in the process of seeking out “THE ONE”- the space you will ultimately call home.

House hunting is the property equivalent of dating for a mate. While a purchase is transactional, the process has a human element. And as human beings we adopt certain behaviours and traits. House hunting is no different.

A recent poll from The Bank of Montreal, entitled the ”Psychology of House Hunting Report” examined behaviours of Canadians going through the house hunting process. Some of the interesting facts gleaned from this poll show that Canadians spent on average five months house hunting and physically viewed ten homes before committing to buying. The poll showed that house hunters experienced a range of emotions, with excitement, cautiousness and optimism among the most commonly felt. Seemingly, based on the poll findings, the house hunting process is a source of anxiety for many.

The poll also showed that first time home owners (not surprisingly, as they’ve never navigated these waters before) were the group most likely to express anxiety and feel stressed when trying to make a decision about buying a home. First timers also felt more rushed than their experienced counterparts into making a purchase. Truthfully, fear is most often a construct of lack of understanding or control. The good news is that for first timers, and for everyone in general, your best strategy to make the best purchase possible has measurable steps that put you, the purchaser, firmly in the driver’s seat.

One way to introduce pragmatism into the process is to be clear on what you are looking for before you even start. Articulate the difference between must-have, nice-to-have and no way! In doing so, expectations are more clearly defined, and while there will no doubt be an emotional sweep once the process begins, there is balance. Also, it is critical to have established your budget and to ensure you have a financing commitment from a mortgage lender before your search begins.
Beyond shelter, people have different motivations for buying a home. The poll shows that while most people list their purchase motivation as investment-based, others based their decision on market timing and the feeling that now is the right time to get in. Some are lifestyle based, with a desire to change neighbourhoods to meet their family’s needs or improve their quality of life. Of all the things that people worry about the most post-purchase, according to this poll, is finding out that there is something wrong with the home. The good news is much of the fear surrounding this particular element can be put to rest with a solid home inspection. It is important to note that in doing so, you may not always like what you find. You have to have the emotional fortitude to walk away from a purchase that invites more problems than solutions.

Additionally, the poll showed that the vast majority of house hunters (80 percent to be exact) actually make their minds up about whether or not they are in the presence of their ideal property by the time they have crossed the threshold. Isn’t that amazing? It’s the equivalent of ‘falling in love’ without truly getting to know the person you’re bedding.

This underscores the importance of curb appeal and in promoting a given space to make it unique and appealing to the target market. Urbaneer offers a free Style Enhancement service where we guide homeowners on how to prepare their home for sale in a fresh, current style that will help it show to its maximum potential and best use. Enhancing the space helps support the emotional connection that a prospective buyer has, which is ultimately what sets the wheels in motion towards the decision to purchase.

While we believe everyone should ‘fall in love with their Home’, remaining pragmatic is critical. After all, your Home will likely be (at least for many) your largest asset. For most as well, your Home can represent your most sizable liability in the form of a mortgage. As a result, it underscores the importance for your realtor to be your rational and sensible ally when property hunting. You can draw on their knowledge, practical experience and negotiating skills to help ensure the smartest purchase possible.

If we had to offer the most valuable tools in the house hunting process, it’s keeping a balance in vision, prudence, faith and patience. At Urbaneer, our goal is to support you in your quest to find your “perfect” property. And in the process, it’s our pleasure to help advise, guide and laugh with you along the way. In fact, as a testament to our steadfast belief in this principle, we spend more time talking clients out of a purchase than actually ‘selling’ them a Home. For whatever the emotional draw in the moment, we rely on our own experience and insight to serve your needs for your long time housing future. Like all meaningful relationships, we’re committed for the long haul.

Ready to take the next steps?

Steven Fudge, Sales Representative
& The Urbaneer Team
Bosley Real Estate Ltd., Brokerage
(416) 322-8000


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