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Becoming a homeowner

Define your needs and expectations

Buying a property is an exhilarating project, an important stage in your life. But you must properly evaluate your needs and expectations.

Your personal situation, conveniences you want and your priorities in life

You need to consider all the financial and practical consequences of your purchase for the next 3 to 5 years. Remember especially that the choice of location is of prime importance.

Also think about your other life goals, your specific needs and of and forthcoming changes in your lifestyle.

Learn more - Your personal situation

Economic activity and potential increase in value

The place and location of your property will have repercussions on your budget as well as on the resale value of your property. Is the community sought after? Are taxes reasonable? Is the zoning appropriate?

Your expectations in terms of energy efficiency and health

Some criteria that can guide you for these issues:

  • type and size home
  • heating and ventilation system
  • quality of insulation (air tightness of the house)
  • performance of windows and doors
  • materials used and repercussions on the health of the occupants
  • air and water quality

Different types of houses

Single-family home, condominium, income generating property, etc. What type of property best suits your needs?

Learn more - Different types of houses

Building green

There are many benefits to green homes: they provide a healthy and comfortable environment for occupants and they leave a smaller environmental footprint on the planet. Since they're more energy-efficient, they also save you money year after year.

Learn more - Green Homes Program

Elements to consider when buying an existing house

A common trap to first-time buyers is that of love at first sight: the desire to own your own home, to finally have a place of your own and the illusion of a house that seems to suit you perfectly.

Here is some advice to allow you to be more confident in your decision:

  • Check and make note of when you can take possession of it
  • When you visit the house, be curious and take your time. Take note of your observations in writing. Pay attention to additions and their state of repair (shed, pool, landscaping, basement, heat pump, etc.).
  • Explore the neighbourhood. Notice the location of local conveniences. Do this again in the evening and on weekends. Observe and be aware of the environment and the area.
  • Ensure that the lot and its arrangement suit you and that the improvements you want to carry out are feasible.
  • Real estate agents are there to help and represent you. They should answer all your questions. You will have a lot of information to absorb, so take notes. The seller's agent represents the seller first and foremost but must give equal treatment to all parties.
  • Take the time to evaluate the transaction. Be patient and impartial. Keep your emotions for your loved ones.
  • Before committing yourself by signing an offer to purchase or other binding document, it should ideally be inspected by an experienced, certified building inspector. If you do decide to sign an offer before the inspection, ensure that it contains a clause allowing you a way out if the report is not entirely to your satisfaction.
  • There are not any usual sales taxes when you buy an existing property. The land transfer taxes ("welcome tax" in Quebec) will, however, need to be paid to the municipality.

Elements to consider when buying a new home

  • Choose the contractor carefully. Have a clear understanding with the contractor as to what you want for your house. A "preliminary contract" (equivalent to an offer to purchase) must be signed before the sale of a residential building, already built or to be built.
  • Check which guarantees are applicable, especially new home guarantees.
  • It's not easy to see what your house will look like from a plan or a model. Wander around the residential project being built. Meet the contractors and visit several model homes. If the house is in a new area, it will be relatively uniform in style.
  • Do your research on the contractor: years of experience, validity of his licence, building permits, complaints about him, membership in a new home guarantee plan.
  • Carefully check the coverage of the new home guarantee program offered by the contractor.
  • Take the time to properly analyze the blueprint of the home. The plan must suit your needs.
  • Before signing the preliminary contract, be specific about your needs and expectations. Be sure to be fully aware of them ahead of time. Read the preliminary contract carefully and ensure you understand it, particularly if a cancellation clause is included.
  • During construction, check in regularly to make sure that the work is being done according to the contract. It is easier to correct things as you go along than to wait until the work is done. The more often you visit (ideally every day), the greater your satisfaction will be.

      Other elements about which you should know

    • Sales taxes (PST and GST in Quebec, HST in Ontario) are applicable to new home purchases.
    • If the land was previously contaminated or is prone to flooding, your home insurance will cost more.
    • Plan for additional expenses for landscaping.
    • Energy costs are generally lower, since more recent construction standards are more strict.

Elements to consider when building a home

  • Most of the considerations for a new home purchase will apply here as well. The main difference: the contractor or sub-contractors will depend on your independence, your sense of organization and planning and your instructions to finish the work. You will therefore have to spend much more time and energy to bring your project to completion.
  • Be aware that building your own home requires a great deal of preparation and knowledge.

To find out more about the challenges that building your own home entails, consult the Building your own home section and our Summary D.I.Y. Homebuilders' Guide (PDF, 1.61 MB).

Building green

There are many benefits to green homes: they provide a healthy and comfortable environment for occupants and they leave a smaller environmental footprint on the planet. Since they're more energy-efficient, they also save you money year after year.

Learn more - Green Homes Program

  • Personal financial advisor from your Desjardins caisse
  • Desjardins mortgage representative, our mobile team
  • Desjardins property and casualty insurance representative
  • Real estate agent
  • Certified evaluator
  • Building inspector
  • Surveyor
  • Notary1

Learn more - 8 professionals to help you achieve your goal

  1. A lawyer for residents of Ontario.