Planning for What You Need – and Want

When you buy a home, it’s important to think both short- and longer-term. Ideally, you want to buy a home that meets your needs for the next 5 to 10 years, or one with spaces that can adapt with your needs. Here are some things to consider.


  • How many bedrooms do you need? 
  • How many bathrooms do you need?
  • Do you need space for a home office?
  • What sort of common living space will best suit your family and lifestyle (e.g., living/family rooms, outside spaces, etc.)
  • What kind of parking facilities do you need? For how many cars?

Special features

  • Do you have family members with special needs that require a specific floor plan (e.g., ground-floor bedroom, or wheelchair/walker accessible bathroom and kitchen)?
  • What are your storage or hobby space needs?
  • Is a fireplace or a swimming pool high on your list?
  • Do you want special features to save energy, enhance indoor air quality, and reduce environmental impact?

Lifestyles and Life Stages

It’s important to have a clear idea of your needs today and in the future. Here are some of the things you should consider:

  • Do you need a home office?
  • If you have children, how will their needs change in the coming years?
  • If you don’t have children, do you plan to start a family?
  • If you have teenagers, will they be moving away to college or university soon?
  • Are you close to retirement?
  • As you get older, do you plan on staying in your home, and if so, how will your needs change?
  • Do you have an older relative/parent who might come to live with you at some point?

You can use CMHC's downloadable Home Features Checklist to help you think about and record what you need today, and what you may need in the future.



Location is important. A great home in the wrong location is probably not the right home for you. Here are some things to consider:

  • What sort of neighbourhood do you want to live in? Downtown, suburban or rural? A new community or an older one? 
  • Where do you work, and how will you travel between your home and workplace? If you plan on car commuting, what length of commute is acceptable? If you plan on using transit, what transit routes make sense for your commute? And if you will be a commuter, what travel time and cost do you need to plan on?
  • If you have children or plan on starting a family, where will your children go to school? How will they get there? If you require childcare, what is available in the communities or neighbourhoods you are interested in?
  • What recreational facilities are you looking for in terms of bike paths, parks and community centres?
  • How close would you like to be to family and friends?

As you begin to look at homes and communities, make use of our Home Summary Worksheet to keep track of what each home offers you.