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Finding shelter has always been a top priority for humans. Caves and other types of protection were occupied and transformed into a cozy place that protected against the elements and allowed for socialization. These days, it’s a bit more complicated to find a home you love and decide whether or not to purchase it for the long term or find another home to rent for a short term. Financially, buying a home can be a very smart decision, but there are times when it doesn’t make sense. There are many reasons why you may make the decision to purchase a home. It may be the right time in your life – both financially and personally – and you may have found a home you love offered at the right price.

Know for sure that you can afford the home. That is determined by your collective income and financial assets. Much of your income will be spent toward your home payment and some of your assets may be used (liquidated) toward the down payment, closing costs and other matters.

Once you decide if you can afford the home, you should consider the area, how easily accessed, security, condition of home, amenities, reputation of the contractor (if new) and the clean history of the home.

When you’re ready to negotiate a price with a builder or seller, research some data on the home other than what has been provided by the seller. For example, you can find data published by other agencies on the appreciation value of homes in the area.

One major reason people decide to buy rather than rent is the Income Tax Act which provides a rebate (Section 24 of the 1961 Income Tax Act). You can get a limited exemption of interest if the property is occupied by you – and if renting, there’s no limit on the exemption of interest.

You’ll want to get the best value for your money when purchasing a home and that happens during the negotiation phase with the builder or seller. By conducting your own research and consulting the realtor, you can be sure to optimize the money you’re spending.

Keep in mind that if you’re only planning to be in a home for two years or less, you likely won’t get much, if any, return on your investment. You will, however, have a place that you love in which to live and that will give you pleasure.

Buying a home is one of the most emotional decisions you’ll ever make. That’s why it’s a good idea to detach yourself from the home and look at the financial and long term aspects of purchasing the home so you don’t end up getting a money pit that will make you miserable in due time.