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The one question you must ask yourself before buying a home

November 3, 2022
min read

“Where should I live?” Every home buyer has asked themselves this question when purchasing a home. We answer this question and break down the best neighbourhoods in Winnipeg and Selkirk to save you time and simplify your home buying process.

Buying the right home requires a lot of forethought and isn’t as simple as looking at homes for sale in your price range. There are many things to consider to help you narrow down the homes that meet your criteria.

Before deciding on a neighbourhood, you should know a few things about the current Winnipeg housing market to increase the chances of securing your home.

Finding your Home

Finding a home in the current market is the result of planning, flexibility and luck. The more specific your criteria, the more difficult it will be to find that perfect home at a reasonable price. This is particularly true if you are only open to a small geographic area. However, if you’re open to multiple neighbourhoods and shopping according to lifestyle, price and location, you will have a greater selection and should find your home quickly.

When looking for a home in the current market, you may not get the first home you put an offer on. Be patient and try not to let your emotions get the best of you; there are always more homes on the market to consider.

Set Yourself up for Success

In the current housing market, you need every advantage you can get. Blair Sonnichsen, a Winnipeg realtor, strongly encourages those looking for a home to get pre-approved for a mortgage before starting to house hunt.

Another thing to consider is working with a realtor. A realtor will know what you are looking for in a home. They will forward you properties that meet the criteria you are looking for and advise you on the offer you should be making.

A new home on the market may not be there for long. Set up notifications so that when a property that matches your criteria comes on the market, you can make arrangements to view it without delay.

Compromise, Compromise, Compromise

Do you absolutely need a home now? If you are on a tight timeline, Sonnichsen suggests viewing three homes that fit your criteria and then writing an aggressive offer on your second or third choice.

“If a home is your first choice, it is likely the first choice for several other people. Most buyers will bid aggressively on their first choice and over-pay, or pay more than if they’d gone to their second or third choice.” If you go for a home in Winnipeg that is your second or third choice, it is less likely that you will find yourself in a bidding war.

By compromising a little bit on your wish list, you will still get a great home that you can make perfect.

Making an Offer

“Try not to complicate your offer with unnecessary requests for appliances or furniture to be left behind as it could negatively influence the acceptance of your offer,” he says. Before making an offer, explore 7 Tips to Win a Bidding War on a Home (Without Over Bidding) to learn how to handle a bidding war in a hot market.

Now that you know how to increase your chances of getting your dream home, it is time to ask yourself an important question: “Where should I live?”

The answer to this question will depend on your preferences and budget. If you don’t know what to consider when deciding on a neighbourhood, here are some things to think about:

Are Some Neighbourhoods Better for First Time Home Buyers?

When buying your first home in Winnipeg, people often think certain neighbourhoods are better for first time home buyers than others. Blair Sonnichsen, a Winnipeg Realtor, wants future homeowners to know that every Winnipeg community has starter homes.

“Every community has to, by design, have entry-level housing. So whether you are looking in St. James, Fort Garry or North Kildonan, you will have options available to you,” Sonnichsen says. Therefore, it’s not a matter of finding the ‘best neighbourhood in Winnipeg for a first time home buyer, but choosing a home in a neighbourhood that best fits your lifestyle and future goals.

What is your Lifestyle?

Lifestyle and culture are important to consider when looking for your home, Sonnichsen says. “If you have children, do you want them to learn French on the playground? If so, you may wish to consider St. Boniface or St. Vital, for example.”

Are good schools, parks and recreational facilities a priority for you, or would you prefer to be nearby restaurants, retail and entertainment facilities? Are you looking to be closest to the hottest restaurants in a more central area such as Corydon or downtown? Or would you rather live in a new development such as Bridgwater Forest? Really think about how you want your life to look – both now and over the next few years.

What Type of Home do you Want?

The type of home that you are looking for is also important. Are you looking to buy a single family home, or would you be happy in a condo or side-by-side? The type of home you are looking for will influence what neighbourhoods you’ll be considering. If you’re looking to buy a single family bungalow, you might want to consider looking in St. James; or downtown if you want luxury condo living, for instance. If you’re considering a condo, read about the differences between purchasing a condo vs. purchasing a house.

One strategy Sonnichsen often suggests is to buy a home just as a community’s demographics are shifting. This happens when the older homeowners leave the community to move into assisted living, condos or a senior resident community. “This can be a good way to purchase a nice-sized home for a good price,” Sonnichsen says.

Don’t let the outdated look of a home in one of these communities stop you – Sonnichsen encourages buyers not to look for the “perfect home” – instead, “focus on making your home perfect”. Outdated flooring, an old kitchen and dated washrooms can be upgraded. The benefit of an older community is that amenities such as schools, public transit and recreation facilities are readily available.

If you need to renovate the home you are purchasing, Cambrian can help with our “purchase plus improvements mortgage”, allowing you to make your new home just the way you like it.

With a purchase plus improvements mortgage, you can borrow up to 10% of the home's projected value once the renovations are complete. Let’s say your dream home is listed for $300,000, and the projected value once renovations are complete is $350,000. That means you can borrow up to 10% of $350,000 or $35,000 for renovations. This amount would be added to your mortgage. Speak to one of our advisors to learn more about Home Renovation Mortgages.

If you’re looking for a newer home, Sonnichsen says that the new developments in Winnipeg such as Bridgwater Forest, Sage Creek, Ridgewood West, and Aurora offer housing options at a variety of price points. This allows you to get a move-in-ready home without the need for renovations.

The Winnipeg Neighborhoods Where We Live and WorkCambrian Credit Union is proud to call Winnipeg and Selkirk home. After countless conversations with members and staff about their homes, we wanted to help you choose your ideal neighbourhood by outlining what it feels like to live in the communities we serve. Looking for beautiful green space, a short commute to downtown or a specific culinary scene? Explore the tree-lined streets of the neighbourhoods where we live and work.

Knowing how much home you can afford is an important first step when thinking about buying your first home. Take 2 minutes and complete Cambrian’s Mortgage Affordability Calculator to find out what you can afford.

Today’s Rates

*All rates and yields subject to change without notice.
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