Finding the right home for you and your family can be a very daunting task. There are a wide variety of housing styles, layouts, and locations. The initial impact of the search can sometimes be debilitating. Where do you start? What resources do you need? What websites should you use? How do you find answers to all of your questions? Finding the right resources and learning where to start can be difficult, but you don’t want to enter into the world of real estate blind. Regina is a great city to call home. It is constantly developing and offers a city feel fused with the comfort of local neighbourhood communities. It is vibrant and there is always something going on. It is also a great area to invest into real estate that is affordable.You are looking for the right place to call home. You want to feel safe, relaxed, comfortable, and proud of where you live. You want to the peace of mind that comes with knowing that you have made the right decision. You want to feel amazing every time you see your home and get that comfortable, welcoming feeling when you walk in the door after a long day at work. In the overwhelming world of home buying, knowing where to start is the first big decision – do you want a townhouse, an apartment, a 2-storey, or maybe a bi-level or bungalow? How do you know what type of home is perfect for you and your needs? If you are looking for practical ways to make starting your search easier, stress-free, and confident in the home that you choose, then you will absolutely love this home buyers guide!
What can Regina offer that other places cannot?
Regina is a great place to call home and the city is vibrant & full of culture. While offering so much its residents can agree that the people you will meet and the friends you will make are what make Regina truly special and unique. The city is constantly moving forward and evolving; this is manifested in the numerous festivals, activities, and events constantly taking place within the city limits. The downtown center is full of life, there are always music festivals and cultural events taking place as well as the weekly farmers market in the warmer months, which is also home to the very renowned Globe Theatre.
The city is built around Wascana Lake which offers beautiful sites and gorgeous walking/biking paths. The lake is host to many events including music festivals, wakeboarding competitions, and the annual dragon boat races. Here you can rent a canoe and travel around the lake in the warmer months or have a beautifully prepared local meal at The Willow while you watch the sun set over the lake. There is also a very energetic and dynamic nightlife in the city’s center where you will find plenty of restaurants, businesses, as well as pubs & bars featuring live entertainment. The city also has an extremely reputable and ever growing university, the U of R, which students from all over the world are proud to attend. Regina has seen a real growth in its offering of food and restaurants due to the increase in population and influx of immigrants from all over the world which has really benefited the city and brought many high quality food options to our perfect little city.
Seriously small-town feel.
The people of Regina are a very unique and special breed. They are ever welcoming and optimistic. People from Regina retain a very friendly, local outlook on life despite their busy schedules. Any Regina native will be more than willing to show you around the city and share a drink (or two) with you afterwards. You may need to pick up on some local idiosyncrasies/local slang (like what the heck is a bunny-hug?!) but once you start experiencing the community & culture, and learn the local language, you will never want to leave. Regina has something really special, which is why so many love calling it home.
Regina is a city that is constantly growing meanwhile being improved and developed. The outer limit of the city is continually expanding and introducing new neighbourhoods and communities, as well as lots of new commercial opportunities. This constant development is great for the city’s economic standing and it creates plenty of jobs for contractors, tradesmen, and other career opportunities. Regina faces all four seasons, which means there is snow in the winter. The city provides exemplary snow removal services plus many other necessary services to its residents. The roads are always being updated and repaired and daily commutes are quite minimal – usually taking no longer than 15 minutes door to door. The summers in Regina can be very hot but luckily there are plenty of outdoor swimming pools and waterparks within the city limits. Or, take a drive out to the cute little resort community of Regina Beach, which is only 30 minutes out of the city. Regina Beach has many establishments, including The Waterfront Beach Bar and Grill which features Saskatchewan’s largest patio – and it overlooks main beach & the lake! Regina Beach/Buena Vista/Kinookimaw also offers many property ownership opportunities at an excellent price!
Come on in – stay a while!
Regina is a great city to invest in and own property. The Real Estate market in the city fluctuates roughly within 5% in terms of asking/purchase price for single-family dwellings. We have seen a significant drop in the selling price for condominiums due to the influx of overbuilding of this type of dwelling, however, this makes for a great opportunity for buyers that are looking for this type of property and/or want to purchase an affordable revenue unit.
Saskatchewan may be well-known as being a farming province but our major cities still have many employment opportunities in both private and government sectors, both steel & oil industries, education, construction, trades, and plenty more. An added benefit of Regina-living is the very affordable and manageable overall housing costs with the average sale price of a home in Regina for 2017 being $316,156.
The central quadrant of Regina is as it sounds – the centre of the city. This quadrant is home to the following neighbourhoods: Al Ritchie, Cathedral, Core, Downtown, Eastview, Gladmer Park, North Central, and the Transition area. This area is very diverse and varies drastically based on the neighbourhood within the quadrant. In this quadrant is the downtown centre, where you find countless amenities including malls, hotels, shops, restaurants, bars, gas stations, doctor’s offices, and plenty more. The area as a whole has plenty of elementary and high schools. The more southern neighbourhoods in this area such as Cathedral and the Crescents are much more desirable and safer than those to the north. There is a very solid and sharp line dividing the area. General rule of thumb is that everything north of Saskatchewan drive is less desirable as it is home the Regina’s North Central/Washington Park neighbourhood, which are infamously known for having a high rate of crime. The homes in the northern neighbourhoods of the central quadrant are usually poorly maintained and not very desirable but this also allows for opportunity to find inexpensive real estate for an income property or infill here (infill means to knock down an existing home and build new). The homes in the southern neighbourhoods of the central quadrant are typically in much better condition as these areas are, for the most part, looked after and maintained better by their proud residents.
The main neighbourhoods in the East quadrant include Arcola East-North, Arcola East-South, Boothill, Glencairn, GlenElm, The Creeks, Greens on Gardiner, and many other newly developing neighbourhoods. This area is considered the most wealthy area of the city with the average household income exceeding that of most other areas. This, however, does not apply to the Glencairn and Glenelm neighbourhoods; these two neighbourhoods are less safe and poorly maintained in comparison to other areas found in the east quadrant of the city. This quadrant is constantly being developed with new neighbourhoods, commercial buildings, and new business always popping up. All of its residents are in very close proximity to the many amenities that the east end has to offer. This includes shopping malls, electronic stores, sporting good stores, department stores, hardware stores, car dealerships, restaurants, doctor’s offices, coffee shops, furniture stores, grocery stores, general shopping, elementary schools, high schools, and plenty more.
The North quadrant of the city includes the neighbourhoods of Argyle Park/Englewood, Coronation Park, Normanview, Lakeridge, Walsh Acres, Westhill, Fairways West, Uplands, as well as some newer developing neighbourhoods like Lakeridge Addition and Kensington Greens. This quadrant is mostly older homes but has both older homes and newer homes; both well-maintained and not so well-maintained. North Regina has many high-end homes and walk-out properties that back lakes and have beautiful walking parks, as well as some of the best schools in the city. This area, for the most part, is safe but gets less safe the further east you go within the quadrant. All the residents of this area benefit form all the amenities found in the North end which, besides a Costco, are pretty much the same as you’d find in East Regina.
The West Quadrant of the city includes the neighbourhoods Dieppe, Mcnab, Normanview, Normanview West, Prairie View, Regent Park, Rosemont/Mount Royal, Sherwood/McCarthy, Twin Lakes, Walsh Acres/Lakeridge, Westerra, West Hill, and more. This area is another great and desirable area of the city as it is safe and boasts a great community atmosphere. This area has tons of amenities including elementary schools, high schools, malls, general shopping, grocery stores, department stores, hardware stores, restaurants, doctor’s offices, vets, car dealerships, pet stores, sporting good stores, gyms, fitness centers, movie theatres and plenty more!
With our help, buying a home is easy!
Buying your first home can be easy with the right information and the help of a professional. There are numerous options and plenty of properties out there that will fit your needs and price range. Starting the search can be overwhelming with there being a large amount of properties for sale while not knowing the best way to really narrow down your search. The best place to start is to really reflect on what you need in a home. What you need is very different than what you want. Wants are things you can live without, or for the time being – usually a want is something that can be added to a home. Needs, however, are usually static and consistent. A need is something along the lines of location, layout, type of construction, lot size, number of bedrooms, number of bathrooms, and so forth. Figuring out these important items will really help you narrow down your search and eliminate properties that do not fit your criteria. Doing this at the beginning of your search will save you an immense amount of time and confusion. When you look for homes, if a property fits 80% of your needs, that is considered excellent in our opinion as the only way you’re going to get 100% is building new – but even then many newer lots are small in comparison which may not meet your criteria. Also, likely the most important thing to do, is get pre-approved for a mortgage by a lender or bank. This gives you specific insight and really helps narrow down your search as well as prevents you from wasting your time looking at potential homes that are not within your current budget. Many listing agents, including us, ask buyer’s agents if their clients are pre-approved to try and eliminate tire kickers so not to waste our Sellers’ time – because of this you’re really going to want to have this figured out before even booking your first showing.
That feeling you get when you pull up to YOUR property…
There is no better feeling than owning your own home. Having the pride and control of ownership is much better than being subject to a landlord. Most of the time a monthly mortgage payment is not very much more, if not even cheaper than paying rent, and the major difference is that with a mortgage you are building equity for YOU – when you rent, you are building equity for someone else. Owning a home gives you full control to put your personal stamp on your living space, allowing you to really showcase you and your family’s personalities. A home is a direct representation of those who live in it and there is no better feeling than pulling up to your own property. Having a place that you and your family can call your own, feel proud of, and feel relaxed and safe in, is something very special! Living in a home affords you more privacy and less restrictions than that of being a renter or living in a condominium or townhouse, especially since you have your own backyard. You have no noise restrictions, no restrictions on animals, and you can have a fenced yard and finally get that family pet your kids have been begging you for. Being a homeowner allows you absolute freedom and control over how you live.
To buy resale or to buy new?
In Regina, a city that is constantly growing, you have the option of buying a resale home, buying an existing new spec home, or building a new custom home. There are many advantages and disadvantages to buying new. Buying a new home means that you are the first people to live there so you will have no wear and tear or depreciation on your property. You will live in a newer neighbourhood with similar situated people and you will also qualify for the new home owners warranty program. If you decide to build you can have your home built to your exact specifications, ensuring all your needs and wants are met. The biggest downside to buying new is the cost is much higher and you will being paying tax, both GST at 5% and PST at 6%, on the purchase. These homes are in new communities and are clean and modern but usually further away from most amenities – for now. As an area matures more services and amenities will develop in the area.
Single Family/House or Condominium?
Condominiums are another great living opportunity in Regina and vary in both shape and size, as well as apartment style or row/townhouse style. Condominiums can be a great opportunity for first time home buyers and working families as overall they are accompanied by a lower price tag than houses and require much less maintenance. They are perfect for those with busy lifestyles who do not have the time to upkeep lawns and gardens or remove snow in the winter. Most condominiums have common areas for all of their residences that include, but are not limited to, lounges, exercise rooms, and swimming pools. There are great condominium opportunities throughout the city including in and around all professional areas and the downtown center. The biggest downside to living in a condominium is your close proximity to neighbours and having to always adhere to the rules of the condominium association. This could mean you may not be able to have pets in the building amongst other potential bylaws/guidelines. Another downside with living in a condo is the potentiality of not having adequate parking for guests as most units come with a single parking spot, although there is usually an option to purchase a secondary stall if available.
Instead of living IN the city, you may prefer an acreage or town close by.
Regina may be the place to be for most but others truly love the freedom and wide open space that an acreage has to offer. Acreages are truly little pockets of paradise and are always located outside of the city limits but sometimes closer than you may think. They offer plenty of land, living space, and don’t force you to completely sacrifice the city lifestyle as many acreages are within 20-30 minutes of the city. Acreages are great for families who need lots of outdoor space and have larger family pets. They are great for playing on your outdoor toys such as ATV’s, dirt bikes, and snowmobiles and usually have ample space to store them too. The biggest downside to an acreage is that there is a longer commute time being located out of the city and the land will require much more upkeep and maintenance than your average home, including plowing the snow from your driveway to the highway.
How much do I need to put down to buy a home?
Qualifying for a home is a lot simpler than you may think. The ability to obtain a mortgage can scare and prevent many individuals or families from even considering the potential of home ownership. Yet, lenders & financial institutions are more creative than ever and have plenty of programs to help your and your current financial situation qualify you for a mortgage including cash back on mortgages and even borrowing you money for a downpayment! For a first time home buyer, all you need is 5% for a downpayment, yet most first time buyers still think that they require 20% to purchase a home (this 5% down also applies to those buying a new primary residence, even if it isn’t their first). Keep in mind, although you can buy a home with only 5% down this is still considered a high ratio mortgage and because of this you will have to pay default insurance through companies such as CMHC (Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation) or Genworth to protect your lender against potential mortgage default/foreclosure – this default insurance goes down the more you put down, whether it be 10% or 15% etc. If you can save up 20% instead, though, your mortgage will be considered a “conventional mortgage” and, for the most part, you won’t have to pay the default insurance (although with a conventional mortgage also comes with potentially higher interest rates, as well as higher stress testing). Your best strategy is to meet with a mortgage specialist or bank and get pre-approved but shop around – don’t just go to your bank and accept whatever they offer you! There are plenty of experienced and knowledgeable lenders/brokers who would be more than happy to help you and they want to see you approved and qualified! Lenders all offer different programs and different rates so find a program that fits you, your lifestyle, and your financial situation before committing. Doing this ahead of time will not only make your search more effective and easy, it will make the process of actually offering and purchasing a home so much easier and stress free when the time comes.
Don’t make the mistake of doing it alone.
We know our opinions are biased but you are without a doubt going to want to hire a REALTOR® to help you. Hiring a professional agent will make sure that you find exactly what you are looking for easily and effectively. Also, as a buyer you need to keep in mind that the seller pays the commissions – this also applies to FSBO’s almost 100% of the time (for sale by owners like ComFree or Property Guys). Why wouldn’t you hire a professional when it’s a free service to you as a Buyer?
Your REALTOR® will make sure all the t’s are crossed, the i’s are dotted, and will have an extensive list of some of the best industry professionals to assist you in any situation including, but not limited to, home inspectors, plumbers, electricians, mould/asbestos/Radon specialists, sewer experts, engineers, basement contractors, damage restoration specialists, flooring companies, countertop specialists, and lawyers. We work with our clients best interests at heart to provide exceptional, knowledgeable, and personal service, making sure YOU are satisfied with your home while aiming to make the process as comfortable, relaxing, and stress-free as possible. We refuse to put our clients into homes that we wouldn’t buy ourselves and we want our clients to be as informed as possible so that they can make a purchase that they are satisfied with. We will always dedicate as much time as needed so that our clients can make the best decisions.
With our extensive experience, knowledge, and exemplary negotiating skills we ensure our clients are never over paying for their homes. We are your residential, rural, and resort real estate specialists.