Faulkner: Realtors can help figure out housing needs and wants

Realtors’ experience and advice can help your search for your dream home in a more informed way.

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Homes in our “first world” have similar things.

They have a space to prepare food, a space to sit and relax, a space to sleep and one or more bathrooms. They will have roofs, walls and windows, that is — shelter.

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They have power, heat, running water and plumbing.

If we have a home to live in, we have a good measure of wealth.

Wants will be specific to each of us. Each of us will value different elements and features in our home. Those “wants,” the elements we value, are always in flux. They change as we move along and through the stages of our life journey.

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Realtors love serving as teachers and putting on our advisor hats to become guides, using our knowledge and experience to inform and guide our clients as they navigate the purchase of their new homes.

And then it is always the clients who decide and choose what they want.

Let’s take a look at some of the elements found in homes.

Space. A wise person once said the most important thing in a room is the space. I would add natural light as a second.

Natural light and flow (layout) are important. Personally, we highly value both.

Many prefer lighter-coloured finishes to bounce all the available light around. Some prefer richer, darker colours.

Attached garages will have advantages. Detached garages do, too. A detached garage can offer more windows and natural light and perhaps slightly reduced insurance costs.

Today, with rising costs, many want or prioritize affordability. Many will choose an energy-efficient home to reduce living costs. Some seek out an income suite in their home to reduce living costs. An income suite also offers shelter for others; that is a win-win.

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Location is, of course, very important. We have all heard the saying: Location, location, location. If somehow you haven’t heard that, now you have.

Choosing a location can be a bit of a tightrope to walk as there is yin and yang to location, and often, there are competing interests among the family.

When showing a home, I will often speak about the advantages and disadvantages of the direction the home faces, Again, it is yin and yang. The buyer chooses what they value.

Some buyers prefer a home where the living space faces south, which allows the limited light and solar heat to stream in during the winter months.

Do we want the morning sun, the evening sun or both? If a home has large windows facing west in a bedroom or bonus room, you may also want air-conditioning.

Many will prefer covered and even heated parking in our northern climate. In terms of available parking, we point out things like bus stops, fire hydrants, busy streets and talk about corner lots that can afford more parking but also more shovelling.

Bedrooms that are near bus stops and face bus stops will likely have some noise from a diesel bus engine that is accelerating.

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Buying a new home may mean there will be more construction noise, dust and limited daytime parking for one or two years.

Fur babies will appreciate a window that goes to the floor. Then, they can easily see the squirrels and birds and patiently wait and watch their family’s return.

Different vintages of homes have strengths and weaknesses. We talk about asbestos, aluminum wiring, poly-B plumbing, lead pipes, insulation, thermodynamics in various vintages and many more things.

Privacy. Many will like a little oasis where they and their families and friends can sit outside, relax and rest, nestled in nature or simply out of the line of sight of neighbours and passers-by.

Ownership costs are also very important, not just the purchase cost. Those costs include, but are not limited to, taxes, insurance, utilities, transportation costs and time, and maintenance.

One of my favourite things to say to clients is that they consider creating an area of joy near their “sleepy place.” A space to decorate with things that bring them joy so that they see them just before they go to bed and when they wake up to start their day.

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In order to best serve clients, a realtor will learn and know things that are important to their clients and what they value.

A home purchase is not like buying a coffee table. The home buying process is precisely that: a process and a journey, and it should rarely be rushed. It is likely the most important and the most significant purchase of our lives. We should treat it as such.

The home-buying journey will often have twists and turns. Buyers, more than sometimes, arrive somewhere a little or a lot different than where they initially thought they would.

It is an adventure that many realtors love to be invited on, whether it is with an old friend or a brand-new friend.

I sometimes joke about this very phenomenon, that is working with clients. It is like meeting a new best friend with whom we spend our days on a most exciting adventure, and then our friends get transferred to a different school.

Experienced realtors could write a book about the different elements of a home, the location, the various property types and vintages.

Many realtors love their profession, and they love being a “trusted advisor.” My wife and I do, too.

Working with an experienced, knowledgeable realtor can be of tremendous value to walk alongside you on your adventure, bringing this to light in order to help you find your new home, your “castle,” and, hopefully, the best available castle for you and your family.

Which, of course, includes your precious fur babies.

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