Tips for a stress-free home buying experience: House hunting

By Nathalie Rivard

Buying a house is a huge decision that can send you on a roller coaster of emotions. However, proper preparation and working with a Realtor can go a long way towards reducing the stress that comes with this big purchase.

In this three-part series, we examine three topics: budget, house hunting, and purchasing and negotiating.

This week’s topic: house hunting.


Tip #1: consider that your first home is only a springboard

First-time home buyers, particularly those who are moving to a bigger city or a popular neighbourhood, often make a few compromises so they don’t go over budget. This is normal unless you have an unlimited budget.

In real estate, a first home is often used as a springboard for building up the equity that will eventually allow you to buy your dream home. You may need to expand your search if you’re finding that your desired neighbourhood is out of your price range. You can go for a fixer-upper but then you’ll have to factor in building material and labour costs.

Take the time to find the property that’s right for you; this is no time to rush.


Tip #2: location, location, location!

Yes, it sounds like a cliché, but there is a reason everyone knows about this one. If you aren’t willing to compromise on location, are you willing to concede on the size, condition or type of house to keep within budget? On the other hand, although some properties may seem more affordable outside your desired neighbourhood, if you find your neighbourhood does not have your required amenities, you may end up regretting your choice.


Tip #3: use a Realtor for peace of mind

A Realtor is your ally throughout the purchase and sale process. A Realtor is not just a licensed or registered broker or salesperson – they are a member of The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) who complies with a code of ethics. Only Realtors have access to real estate board MLS® Systems, which in return gives them access to a network of other participating Realtor as well as a wealth of property information. If you’re the seller, a Realtor can help you find buyers and the next property that fits your needs, wants and budget. He or she can give you complete peace of mind. They can help you ask the right questions, successfully negotiate the offer to purchase or the counter-offer and can point out details that you might miss, particularly if you’re a first-time home buyer.

For optimum results, determine what you’re looking for before you meet with your Realtor for the first time.

Next week, stay tuned for tips on purchasing and negotiating.