The Difference Between Purchasing A House And A Home


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 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.

It’s practically like 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 report 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 commonly experienced excitement (48 per cent), cautiousness (41 per cent) and optimism (31 per cent).  Seemingly, this process is a source of anxiety for many. 25 percent of respondents said that buying a home was stressful, while 21 percent said that they experienced anxiety.

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 purchasing 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 most post-purchase, according to this poll, is finding out that there is something wrong with the home. The good news is that 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 (click HERE to read about urbaneer’s free Style Enhancement service that does just that). Enhancing the space helps support that emotional connection that a prospective buyer has, which is ultimately what sets the wheels in motion towards the decision to purchase. There are realists among the house hunters though, with 68 percent of poll respondents indicating that they would accept a property that was “less than perfect”.

While making the decision to purchase should stem from an emotional connection to a property, we think it’s important to meld heart with head thoroughly. 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 mortgage. As a result, it underscores the importance for your realtor to be your rational and sensible ally when property hunting, who 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 foresight based to serve your needs for your long time housing future. Like all meaningful relationships, we’re committed for the long haul.

Photo Courtesy of Italy’s 3ndy Studio

Ready to take the next steps?

For those of you who are seeking a realtor who can calmly navigate the purchasing process while educating you thru a step by step process, consider checking out our Testimonial Page or read Why I’m A Top Ten Realtor to get a better insight on why we’re well-liked, well-regarded, and highly referred.

Not quite ready but want to learn more about real estate? Just provide us your email address in the sign-up box below to receive our monthly newsletter educating on the different facets of the Toronto real estate market. We’re here to earn your trust, then your business.

~ Steven and the urbaneer team

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