Archive for buying a home in Cambridge

Is Home Ownership Right for You?


Things to consider before making this big decision

Things to consider before making this big decision


Purchasing a home can be a big, scary decision. It means not only committing to a mortgage payment but to a town, a neighborhood, a particular place in the universe for (in all likelihood) a fairly long time. The financial commitment is no joke – it’s probably the biggest investment you will make. But the emotional commitment might be enough to put you off of a purchase for years as well. It’s not the kind of thing you jump into unprepared!

You need to get yourself ready in several ways before choosing to buy a home. You’ll need to have more than one area of your life under control before deciding that home ownership is for you. Your finances of course need to be in order and not just for the down payment. Your life needs to be in a certain place too. Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation website has a thought-provoking worksheet to help you consider the pros and cons of homeownership (you can find the worksheet here). If you’ve decided that home ownership is your dream, here are a few ways to determine if that dream could be realized now or if it’s better left for a little later down the road.

Financial Considerations

Owning a home is typically a good move in terms of improving your personal finances. Your mortgage interest is deductible, you have real property that will increase in value, and your monthly payments are going towards an investment that is yours. Part of your mortgage payment goes to the principle, which is like putting those funds away for your future. Many people think that their mortgage payment and rent could or should be roughly the same, but that’s only a starting point.

Although you can do it with a lot less, a down payment of around 20% will secure financing at a reasonable interest rate. So saving up is of course a priority. If you haven’t been able to stash away enough for a down payment, then getting an affordable mortgage may not be possible. Saving up that kind of money takes concerted effort and time, especially if you are paying rent while trying to save. However, it’s essential to securing financing.

Saving won’t stop after you’ve purchased a home. You’ll also need to plan for the extra expenses that home ownership requires and which means your savings account needs a little padding. If you’ve been renting, you probably haven’t had to worry about taxes, repairs and maintenance. Your landlord has dealt with all those things for you but as a homeowner, this will become your responsibility.

A home has no sense of timing! If the roof springs a leak or the water heater goes kaput two weeks before Christmas and you haven’t finished your shopping, you still have to take care of these issues. Plan your price point so that you’ll still have a little leftover to save up for emergencies and yearly taxes.

If your finances are unstable or insufficient, there is help out there for you. Talk to your favorite banker or financial advisor about getting on track. There could be low or no-cost options in your town as well; ask your realtor for a referral. Look for financial counseling if you’re having trouble putting your money in the right places. You may have to make some adjustments to your lifestyle but when you move into your new home, you’ll know it was worthwhile.

Emotional Considerations

Choosing to buy a home certainly involves a great deal of financial planning but your emotional matters weigh heavily on the choice as well. You’re looking for a place where your life will unfold, not just a place to hang your hat. Make sure your mind and heart are ready for homeownership as well as your bank accounts. Ask yourself a few important questions.

Are you settled in your city, town or region?

If you aren’t sure you want or will be able to stay in your city or town for at least a few years, buying a home may not be wise. It takes a little time to build up equity in your investment. If you have to sell rather quickly it can affect you financially. Of course, you can’t account for sudden life changes like a job transfer or a death in the family but you can take an honest look at your life as it is right now.

Do you have the time and means to care for a home?

A home takes care and maintenance. From fixing a running toilet to mowing the lawn, all the little tasks will be up to you to manage. Ask yourself if you’re ready to manage these responsibilities and if you have the time to. If you are handy or if you’re willing to learn, you’ll need to make time to get the job done.

Is this what you really want right now?

Undeniably, this is a big step. It’s probably not the best idea to purchase a home just because someone else expects it of you, says that it’s what you need to do, or that you have to because “you’re married now.” Conversely, don’t let anyone else deter you by saying you’re too young or too old, inexperienced or single. This is your life and your dream! Make your plans, get your finances in order and find a good realtor if you’ve decided homeownership is right for you right now.

The Perfect Blend: Living in Cambridge Ontario

CAMBRIDGE: A Modern City with a Small Town Feel

CAMBRIDGE: A Modern City with a Small Town Feel

Few places can boast that they “have it all” but Cambridge, Ontario sure comes close. Blending the best of urban life with the quaint and quiet rural lifestyle, it’s a small town atmosphere with just a touch of big city style. Walking trails and green spaces sit comfortably next to a fun city center while historic architecture pairs well with affordable housing. This blended family of townships will make you feel right at home.

Cambridge was born from the merger of a city (Galt), two towns (Hespeler and Preston), and the village of Blair. In 1973, these locales set aside their rivalries and joined forces to form what is now the City of Cambridge. Each area has retained its own identity within the larger composite city creating a diverse, eclectic and interesting community. Most residents will tell outsiders that Cambridge is their home but amongst themselves, they’ll identify with their original community (e.g. “I love living in Hespeler”). Each community has its own history that has been carefully recorded in the Cambridge City Archives, has its own center core and unique attitude.

The History of Galt, Hespeler, Preston, and Blair

The City of Galt

Galt was once the largest township in this area. Kitchener eventually overtook it in the early part of the 20th century but until then it served the surrounding farming communities well for a very long time. The land now home to Galt was once given to the people of the Six Nations. Six Nations set aside reserve lands and plots for sale at which time the Honorable William Dickson, who was also a developer, purchased 90,000 acres along the Grand River.

Dickson decided to name the post office and thus the community after John Galt, a Scottish novelist and the Commissioner of the Canada Company. Residents weren’t sold on the name until Mr. Galt paid them a visit personally. Somehow the name caught on well after that! The Old Post Office, built in 1886, still stands in Galt. It has been classified as a National Historic Site and a beautiful example of the architecture of the 1800s. Designed by famed architect Thomas Fuller, it incorporates elements of Romanesque, Gothic and Second Empire styles. More recently an impressive budget of $12 million has been allocated to restore The Old Post Office.

Today, Galt is a thriving community known for its stunning Victorian homes and streets lined with maple trees.

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The Old Post Office in Galt, Built 1886                                         (PHOTO CREDIT: Gary Strong)

The Town of Hespeler

Richard Beasley purchased the land now under the community of Hespeler from the Six Nations people, led by Joseph Brant. The land that Beasley and his partners had for sale attracted the attention of a group of Mennonite farmers in Pennsylvania, USA. These farmers were looking for good farmland and the freedom to practice their religion, so Hespeler seemed like a haven to them.

The first settlers, Michael and Susanna Bergey, lent the town its original name, Bergeytown. This was soon replaced with the more melodic moniker New Hope. Jacob Hespeler brought his own hopes to New Hope and it later took his name. Jacob built an industrial complex that was integral to the long-term growth and economic strength the town enjoys even to this day.

The Town of Preston

Beasley and his Mennonite customers also gave birth to the town of Preston. John Erb and his wife settled on the Speed River and built a sawmill. A gristmill followed and while the sawmill has long since faded into history, the gristmill is now the oldest continuously operating industrial site in the region.

purchasing a home in Cambridge Ontario

Industrialized Preston Ontario                                                                                                                         PHOTO CREDIT: These Are Only Words/Flickr

The mills were collectively called Cambridge Mills and this industrial center attracted talented people and encouraged the growth of a settlement. Since the Mennonite farmers spoke primarily German, many German immigrants were drawn to Preston. Newly arrived tradesmen and artisans set up shops and businesses in this growing community.

Word of the town’s mineral springs (or “stinky water” as the locals called it at the time) was industriously spread by some enterprising businessmen and doctors. People in poor health of various types made the trek to this small town seeking the purported curative effects of the water’s high sulfur content. Despite the influx of travelers, it wasn’t until a railway connected Preston to the surrounding towns that it truly began to flourish.

The Village of Blair

Mennonites were once again responsible for the genesis of what started off as the little village of Blair. Samuel Betzner was the first resident but perhaps not the most notable or influential. That honour would go to the Bowman and the Betchel families.

Allan Bowman built the Sheaves Tower on Bowman Creek to supply the flourmill with a boost of power. This earned it the nickname “Power Tower.” This is an early example of the type of technology that was behind the mechanical transfer of power, and set the village of Blair apart from Galt and Hespeler.

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The Sheaves Tower in the Village of Blair
PHOTO CREDIT: Brian Krouskie

Linking the unique communities of Galt, Hespeler, and Blair was an important part of making them into a single, unified township. Since they each started as a particular settlement, they each have their own center. The communities have grown together and most of the spaces between have filled in. Commuting from one area to the other is an important part of daily life for the residents.

The communities that make up the City of Cambridge come together for its many festivals and fairs that populate the calendar. Cultures, food and art are celebrated throughout the year. Residents of Cambridge share a love of the outdoors and support many parks and recreation areas. All of this comes at a surprisingly affordable price. Homes in smaller cities like Cambridge, Ontario are far less expensive than the same square footage in a big city. Fewer bidding wars mean faster closings, too.

Cambridge is the perfect combination of old and new, big and small. The communities of Cambridge really are considered to be the perfect blend.

If you are looking to buy a home in Cambridge, let us show you around. Call The Mark Maurer Team at 310-SOLD or contact us here.