First Steps to Home Buying

How to buy the BEST possible home


Buying a home may initially seem daunting but following these steps can help to simplify the process.  I see many first time buyers unsure of how to begin searching for a home and these are the tips I give them.

1- Price Range.  Find out how much you can afford — start with your personal bank. Unless you can pay cash for a home, you will need a mortgage. Most people will deal with a Canadian bank to get their mortgage but a private mortgage broker can be a better option. I’m happy to help with recommendations and information. It is important to understand how much you can afford and what it will mean to your personal cashflow.

2- Location.  Consider different locations and types of homes. Consider where you work, where you play, where your friends and family live and how different commutes will affect your lifestyle and happiness. The location of your future home may dictate housing options. For the same price range you can buy a one bedroom condo downtown, a smaller detached home in one suburb, a row unit in another suburb, or a small farm 45 minutes out of town. There will be pluses and minuses, but you get to pick and choose your priorities.

3- Learn from others.  Ask friends and family about their experiences (good and bad) and what they have learned about the type of home and location that they chose. Experience is an amazing teacher — benefit from others’ mistakes.

4- Ask for referrals.  Most people only buy a home a few times in their lives. They may not be able to truly give knowledgeable referrals. On the other hand, if they had a great experience with their last move there is a good chance that the Realtor®, mortgage specialist, lawyer and other professionals did a great job.

5- Be Patient.  DO NOT ALLOW YOURSELF TO BE RUSHED. Rushed decisions, before proper investigation and education, can be costly. The cost could be monetary, future difficulties selling or even extra time spent commuting.  Later in the process you may have to move quickly, but a quick, educated and rational decision is wiser than a rushed decision.

6- Interview realtors — don’t commit until you get to know one — referrals are great, but not always the best fit. According to surveys, the most important characteristic people say they are looking for in a realtor is that (s)he is “trustworthy”. Unfortunately, people often mistake “likeable” with trustworthy even though likeable is important too 🙂

Get referrals from friends and colleagues for multiple Realtor®s. Interview them. Visit a few homes with your prospective realtor of choice in the neighbourhoods you are considering. Get to know the Realtor®. Ask lots of questions. Ensure that they have experience and knowledge that will help you make the best long-term housing decision.

Do they share personal experiences or past client experiences?
Do you feel more educated about homes and the process after meeting?
Does this person have time to help you or will you be referred to another member of the “team”?
Does your Realtor® of choice listen to you?
Don’t be fooled by big smiles, fancy slogans, “#1 Salesperson” awards and such. Ensure that you trust this person to help you decide on the best home for your situation.

7- View homes.  Go look at homes, lots of different homes if possible, homes in different locations that work for you. You may reconsider locations or housing types as the education process proceeds. If your Realtor® of choice does not agree to showing you everything you think you need to see to make an informed decision, then maybe you have chosen the wrong Realtor®. It can happen. Discuss changing Realtor®s and move on.

It’s all about education up to now

8- Make an offer.  Narrow down your search and make an offer. The right home may be for sale right now, or next week, or next month. Remember, DO NOT RUSH!

Once you have found a potential home, your Realtor® will walk you through the process. It can be stressful at times, but you will be surprised how smoothly the process flows once you understand your options, are educated about the market, and have the right professionals working on your behalf.

I am always happy to answer real estate questions. I am a teacher, advisor and negotiator.

For those who already own a home, be sure to watch for the upcoming discussions on whether it is better to buy or sell first, how to get ready for a sale and a discussion on bridge financing.

Reminder: referrals of your friends and family members is highly appreciated.

Be sure to contact Dan Moloughney, Broker of Record at Ottawa Urban Realty Inc. to discuss further.

See videos in the BLOG for commentary and Statistics: