7 Things to Consider Before Buying A New Home in Nova Scotia

From the location of your future property to the down payment you can afford to make, these seven factors will help ensure a smoother homebuying experience.

By Emily Southey | 3 minute read

Sep 21

Home to about a million people, Nova Scotia offers homebuyers a maritime lifestyle, employment opportunities, and more.

Whether you’re looking at homes for sale in Milton, Nova Scotia or homes for sale in Halifax, there is a lot to consider. From the location of your future property to the down payment you can afford to make, these seven factors will help ensure a smoother homebuying experience.


1. Location 

Let’s face it — location matters. In fact, for most Nova Scotia homebuyers, it is one of the most important factors they consider when purchasing a home. When thinking about location, you will need to contemplate your lifestyle and what you’re hoping to get out of the place you live. For example, have you always wanted to live near the water? Do you prefer an urban setting or a rural one? On top of that, if you have children or you commute to work each day, you will also want to think about whether a certain location has quality schools and how long it would take to commute to work from there. 


2. Renovations and Updates 

 Although most homebuyers would prefer a turnkey solution, the reality is that there are usually at least one or two things that a buyer wants to tweak in the home that they purchase. If you have your heart set on certain features, like an updated kitchen or a fancy outdoor space with a built-in barbecue, you should prepare to make these renovations yourself — and this should be factored into your budget. For the best idea of how much such renovations will cost, reach out to contractors in your area to obtain a quote.


3. Mortgage Rates and Options  

Before making an offer on a home, it’s important to speak with a mortgage lender (or multiple) to find out how much you will realistically be approved for. This is known as mortgage pre-approval, and it is a vital part of the homebuying process. For most people, this information will help them determine their budget, which in turn, will help them narrow down their house hunt. For example, armed with this information, you might decide that you want to look at homes for sale in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, instead of in Halifax. Three key pieces of information that you should obtain from a lender and think about for yourself include the principal amount, amortization, and payment frequency.

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4. Your Future Goals and Lifestyle  

Another consideration when buying a home anywhere in Canada, including in Nova Scotia, is to think about your future goals and lifestyle. If you want to buy a home that you plan to live in for years or even decades to come, it is wise to consider what you want your life to look like in that time span. For example, if you want to start a family in the near future, buying a home with a backyard and multiple bedrooms may be a smarter decision than buying a one-bedroom condo and then having to turn around and sell it in a few years. Consider what you envision your future as before buying a property. 


5. Home Inspection  

Anytime you are buying a new home, it is critical that you do your due diligence by having the property inspected. To do this, you will need to hire a professional home inspector. A home inspector will examine the entire home, evaluating the roof, walls, foundation, and HVAC units, as well as the electrical and plumbing systems. They will then issue a report, informing you of any issues (both major and minor). Not only will this make you more aware of what you’re buying, potentially allowing you to avoid a big mistake, but it can give you more power when negotiating with the seller.


6. Downpayment Amount  

As a homebuyer in Nova Scotia, one of the biggest upfront costs that you will need to be prepared to pay is the down payment. While most people believe that they can’t buy a home until they are able to afford a 20% down payment, the reality is that many people buy a home with a smaller down payment than this. The only thing to note here is that if you buy a home in Canada with less than a 20% down payment, you will be required to purchase mortgage loan insurance. Mortgage loan insurance payments range widely, typically amounting to anywhere between 0.6% and 4.5% of the total mortgage amount.


7. Hidden Fees  

Hidden fees are another factor that Nova Scotia homebuyers must consider. Beyond the down payment, buyers should budget for other costs, including but not limited to legal fees, property taxes, appraisal and home inspection fees, and maintenance fees (if you’re moving into a condo). Many buyers don’t bother budgeting for these hidden costs, but they add up quickly.

Emily Southey

Wahi Writer

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