8 years ago when we bought our townhome, I can say without any bashfulness that we were totally clueless about what went into buying and owning a home in Canada. We looked at over 30 homes in 3 neighbourhoods, had a very tense offer go bad last minute and faced with nowhere to live, decided to rent with the only landlord that would sign a lease on the last Friday of the month without a background check and let us move in the next week. We ended up liking the neighbourhood so much that 6 months later when our lease expired, we decided to buy a townhome that had come up for sale in the complex. Eight years and one additional kid later, we were ready to move on to the "grownup" home. Earlier this month, we closed out on that home and now I can share the steps that got us here.
- City/Area: First step was to determine which part of the city we wanted to live in. Calgary is divided into quadrants and each quadrant has it's own quirks and personalities. We started out living in the South-West quadrant and decided we wanted to remain here.
- Neighbouhood: Next up was to narrow down on which neighbourhood in Calgary Southwest would work best for us as a family. Here's where school choice, proximity to office, road network access, parks and recreational facility access played a role. Since I wanted a home that we could live in for the next 20 years, I had to consider high school choices and locations even though my kids are still in elementary school.
- Living Space Size: Depending on which opinion you read, the square footage requirement for a family home can vary from 100 - 700 sq.ft per person. Our current home is 2100 sq.ft of living space and just a tad too small. I settled on needing 500 sq.ft per person which equated to at least 2500 sq.ft of living space for our family of 5. The home we eventually bought is ~2700 sq.ft so bang on.
- Living space = Above grade area + finished basement space.
- Downpayment + Home loan amount = how much home we can buy
- Income - Mandatory expenses - chosen optional expenses - savings = Housing expenses
- Housing expenses = Mortgage + property tax + home insurance + maintenance + HOA fees