Housing is the biggest investment that we generally make in life, so we have to take into account a number of factors to make the right purchase. It is common for experts to recommend doing the calculations of the monthly mortgage payment or comparing the mortgage offers that are currently available on the market, but there is more to purchasing a house than simply the mortgage aspect.
Picking a home among the many attractive Montreal real estate listings is a daunting task. You have many factors to consider, such as the price, the size of the home, the number of bedrooms and baths, and the location.
But you also have to know not just whether you can afford to buy a home, but also whether you can afford to live in it. You may find out to your regret that your beautiful home will actually cost you a lot in your utility bills, and it may cost you a fortune to implement energy-efficient remodeling.
So how do you know whether a home is energy-efficient? Here are some tips that can help:
- Ask for copies of the owner’s previous utility bills. How much the owners’ pay for electricity, heating, and water can shed a light on how the home works, and how much you’ll have to pay if you don’t make certain improvements.
- Have the home go through an energy audit. In Canada, you can get an EnerGuide home evaluation regarding the energy performance of the house. The audit can check the insulation, measure the air leakage, and specify any problematic areas that must be addressed. This will give you a very clear idea of home much you will have to add to the cost of the house to make it truly livable.
- Look for brand new windows. This is a great sign for you as the homebuyer, because it’ll set you back anywhere from $8,000 to $24,000 to put in new windows. The problem with old windows is that they can get drafty, and that’s a problem that can cost you a lot. In the summer, such windows can let the heat seep in, so your air conditioning works over time and uses up greater power. In the winter, the cold air gets in so the heating needs to work harder as well.
With new windows, you get a better look and you don’t even need to repaint it. They also block much of the noise from outside. It’s even better if the new windows are Energy Star-qualified. These can reduce your energy bills by as much as 15%.
- Check the condition of the roof. The roof needs to be properly maintained. After all, they’re susceptible to winds, heavy rains, snow, and ice. Without proper maintenance, you may end up having to shoulder the expensive repairs later on.
You should have an expert look over the roofing in a comprehensive inspection. If any repairs are needed, make sure that you use the repair price as part of your negotiation. Also, check if the roofing materials are Energy Star-qualified. These qualified roof materials can reflect more of the rays of the sun, which can then help reduce the workload of your air conditioning system.
- See if the appliances are also Energy Star-qualified. Some homes have the appliances as part of the deal. If that’s the case, you should make sure that they’re all energy-efficient. The ES-qualified refrigerators use up 20% less energy. The ES dishwashers use 10% less energy and 18% less water. An ES washer uses 20% less energy and 35% less water. All these savings add up over a year.
It just makes sense, that when you’re picking a home in the Montreal real estate listings that you also factor in the monthly costs of the utility bills. By taking energy-efficiency into account, you can really have a more accurate idea of how much your new Montreal home really costs.
If you’re planning on buying a condo, there are several ways to go about it. You can buy a unit that needs a considerable amount of renovation. Or you can buy a condo unit while it’s still in the planning and construction phase. Of course, there’s also the option of choosing from among the move-in ready condos.