by Farhaneh Haque
Homes are rarely, if ever, one-size-fits-all. As your life changes, so can your housing needs. At some point, the big question arises: Should we stay or should we go?
A layout that’s spacious and convenient to a first-time buyer can seem cramped and congested by the time you add kids, pets or a home office to your life. Whether to sell or to stay put depends on many factors, both financial and emotional. Consider these key questions before staking the “For Sale” sign.
Will your current home fit your changing lifestyle?
“A new job, a growing family, an empty nest — these are a few of the most common triggers for moving,” says Sheila Johnson, a TD Canada Trust Mobile Mortgage Specialist based in Toronto. “And financial priorities are most often changing right in step with household needs, so it makes sense to look at your whole picture with respect to housing and financing costs,” she says.
Could renovation be the answer?
If lack of space is your biggest concern, options may include finishing the basement or attic, adding an extension or reconfiguring a floor plan to suit your needs. Or, if it’s a change of scene you’re looking for, think about whether an updated décor, new appliances or finishes would be enough to help you fall in love with your dwelling all over again. “The equity you’ve already built in your home may be able to help secure financing for the renovations you want,” says Johnson.
Would it be more cost-effective to renovate or move?
It could be cheaper to buy your dream home ready-made rather than create it, depending on the features you’re looking for. Visiting open houses that meet your wish list, and then comparing those prices with what you’d have to spend to get similar results in your existing home, may prove helpful.
What’s the market like in your area?
When considering whether or not to put a home up for sale, a market analysis may be a good early step to take. The biggest factor in your home’s sale could be the market conditions in your neighbourhood — even on your particular street — compared with other homes. Your professional real estate agent should be able to help you with these comparisons.
How attached are you to your neighbourhood and your neighbours?
Sure, you’ll plan to keep in touch, but moving away from a beloved community can be a big change for family members. How much do you each rely on your neighbours and local amenities like schools, churches, libraries and shops?
Are you willing to take on a new mortgage?
Stepping up the property ladder can be a way to build more equity for the future, while downsizing can help you work toward becoming mortgage-free sooner. “Mortgage options aren’t ‘one-size-fits-all’ today,” says Johnson. “While homeowners might be focused on the property search, we try to look for financing ideas geared to individual goals and circumstances.”
Before you make a move, consult with a TD Canada Trust Mobile Mortgage Specialist, who can outline options you might not have thought about.
About the Author
Farhaneh Haque is the Director of Mortgage Advice with TD Canada Trust, a leader in residential real estate mortgages and home equity lines of credit. With over 18 years of lending experience, she is entrusted with the responsibility of offering mortgage advice to help Canadians make informed decisions about home financing and ownership.
Farhaneh and her team draw upon research commissioned by TD Canada Trust, which reveals consumer attitudes and behavior related to home ownership such as choosing and buying a first home, renovating and greening a home, as well as understanding gender, regional and other demographic preferences. They also have access to proprietary research from TD Economics on topics such as Canadian interest rate forecasts and Canadian housing market insights
In her personal time, Farhaneh is an active member of community groups promoting youth education; in particular helping high school students in securing funding to pursue post secondary education.