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Canadian's Home-made Decisions

Written by Posted On Tuesday, 29 August 2000 00:00

Canadians are now 8 months into the watershed Year 2000 – the year that was to mark the beginning of a new age. Since this column's chief concern is housing issues, let's ask, "Have you adopted new approaches to achieving real estate-related goals and improved your financial decision making?"

Hoopla and resolutions heralded the Year 2000. However, do you find that in spite of good intentions, you've reverted to lifelong habits and continue to let things go until circumstances force you into a decision? You may be interested in a second chance for improvement.

Because there never was a year zero, January 1, 2001 is actually the first day of the new Millennium. Labor Day, an annual milestone for most Canadians, will leave you 119 days until the new Millennium – time for another shot at your real estate and financial dreams and goals.

The housing decisions we work on, wrestle with and live with are founded on our vision of the future and on our individual belief in the power and value of home. As I have helped people tackle these "home-made" decisions and related issues over the years, three questions keep emerging. Here with these concerns are a few suggestions for good home-made decisions:

1. How can I be sure my housing plans will turn out the way I want them too?

  • You can never be sure about the future. Plans are a way to ensure flexibility, nurture resilience and encourage resourcefulness. Pre-evaluated alternatives and up-to-date knowledge prepare us should circumstances change unexpectedly.

  • Home is more than bricks and mortar. Look beyond buildings and decor to find out what elements and policies ensure independence and financial security into the future.

  • We have been trained by developers, builders and the real estate industry to think about moving whenever we have a lifestyle change. If you find staying in your home and community an attractive option, select a home that can be easily and affordably adapted to changing physical or lifestyle needs.

    2. Where can I get the unbiased housing information I need to evaluate my choices?

  • Most information carries the biases of the provider. Knowing these biases and getting balanced information from several sources lays the foundation for informed decisions.

  • Current residents of the housing facility or complex you are considering, or the type of housing you are interested in, may be good sources of information but be wary of their biases and objectives. For instance, residents may promote the selling of other units in order to have the amenities they desire constructed as soon as possible.

  • Everyone is selling something so practice constructive scepticism. Web sites, advertisements, publications and booklets may appear to offer independent information but often a sponsor is limiting the range of ideas offered.

  • Ask a lot of questions and listen to the answers. Fear of seeming to be stupid by asking a lot of questions has trapped many people in poor decisions.

    3. How can I be sure I am making the best housing decisions?

  • The best decisions we make are based on knowledge, not merely information, and on clear thinking. These are decisions that we continue reviewing, clarifying and updating as the full impact unfolds. They are decisions based on needs and dreams that are coupled with the commitment to follow through.

  • Get involved in creating more choice. Don't let others dictate the housing options you will have in the future If you would like to stay in the community when you're 90 get busy now to be sure there will be a range of housing choices and support services available.

  • Adopt a lifelong learning attitude. New housing options, materials, financial products and housing ideas are appearing each year.

  • Know your rights. Once a contract is signed, you are bound by the terms. Make sure you understand everything before you sign.
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    PJ Wade

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