Looking for a new home can be a fun and stressful process. There are so many things to consider when making one of the largest purchases of your life. It can be tough to put your emotions to the side and think logically. Don’t worry, you can do a few things to make this process easier! Be sure to have a pen and paper handy when you are looking at homes so you can write down things you like and don’t like. It is also a good idea to take a look at the home you currently live in and figure out what you do and don’t like about it. So, if you’re ready to buy a new house, here is how to effectively look for a home!
The first thing you should do when you are starting the process of buying a home is to speak with a mortgage broker. Your mortgage broker will give you a breakdown of how much money you are able to spend for your down payment. They will also give you an understanding of how much you can spend per month on mortgage payments. You will need to start saving for a down payment if you haven’t already. When purchasing a home for under $500,000, you will need to put at least 5% down, so make sure that your bank account will allow for this. A great tool for calculating your rate expenses is the RateHub calculator. If you don’t have a mortgage broker, let us know. We have a trusted broker who we do a lot of business with and we are happy to pass along his information!
Once your budget has been determined, you can start looking for a home. A good place to start is the location. Do you want to continue living in the same area as you currently reside in, or are you looking to move closer to friends or family? Research the neighbourhood you are thinking of as well. Drive down the streets and even get out and go for a walk to get a feel for the area.
Some things to take note of when picking your location are:
• How long is your commute to work?
• What schools are in the area? (Looking for a list of the top high schools and public schools in Ottawa? Check out our blog post here!)
• Is it close to parks, lakes or greenspace?
• How far are grocery stores?
• Are you close to entertainment?
• What is the walking score like?
When it comes to choosing the style of your home, you want to decide what makes sense for this stage of your life. Younger families may be okay with living in smaller 2 or 3 storey townhomes. Empty nesters who are becoming more elderly might want a bungalow with only 1 floor. Perhaps you are a growing family who needs a larger home with lots of space. Are you okay with your house being attached to another house or would you rather have a detached? Maybe you want a home with a basement for extra storage or you might want to add a rental unit for extra income. Figuring out which style of home is a good idea so that you can narrow down your search. Perhaps the style of home really doesn’t matter that much to you, in that case, you can keep your options open!
You need to fully understand what you need and what you want in a house. Needs are things such as location, # of bedrooms and bathrooms, storage space, etc. Wants are things like granite countertops, swimming pools, paint colours, specific kitchen cabinets etc. Generally speaking, your needs list should be the things that are attached to the house that are harder to change. The wants are more like the aesthetics of the house that can be changed down the road. When purchasing a home with your significant other, make sure that the two of you are on the same page when it comes to your needs and wants. Establish your needs and wants list together, or separately and then combine the 2. Be sure not to skip this step and really understand the difference between the two. What are you willing to sacrifice for the perfect house?
Older homes will require more work and upkeep so you will need to decide if you are OK to take on the work of home renovations or not. Figure out your own capabilities and how much of the work you can do yourself. If you’re not going to be taking on the job yourself, you will need to establish a budget to pay contractors who can do the work for you. You can also speak with your mortgage broker about the “Purchase Plus Home Improvements” program if you are looking to do a large renovation. This program allows you to purchase a property and include the cost of the home improvements in your mortgage financing. You will want to make sure that you are able to cover the upfront renovation costs. The money will not be released to you until after the work has been completed.
Buying a new home can be an emotional process and its best to try and think with your head rather than your heart. There might be something about a home that reminds you of Grandma’s house or maybe you are starting to get stuck on something aesthetic about the home. Though it is OK to be picky with your new home, you need to remember to be realistic. Getting too hung up on one thing will make it easier to miss out on other homes that may have been more ideal for you. Try not to be persuaded by the “wow” factor of a home. Just because the interior looks great, it might not mean that the location or neighbourhood will work perfectly for you. Remember your “needs and wants list” and follow it respectively. Bring it with you to showings if you need to.
Yes, of course, we are saying this, but it really is true! Buying a home is pretty tough without a professional with excellent negotiation skills helping you throughout your transaction! Especially during the hot markets. The Susan & Moe Team have strategies to effectively navigate you through bidding wars. We will make sure that you will find a home you love and make sure you do not overpay for it. Our team performs a comparative market analysis on every home you look at to make sure that you are paying the right price for it. We are always happy to offer any insight we have on the Ottawa market. We are also happy to give you advice on location, neighbourhood or any other random thing you might need! When you work with The Susan & Moe Team, you become part of our family!
We understand better than anyone that though purchasing a new home is fun and exciting. We also know that it can be stressful and hard as well. Especially when you are on a tight timeline. We hope that these 6 tips will help you to feel a little more at ease when looking for a new home. Once you purchase your home and are looking for ways to unpack, we can also help to take the stress out of unpacking! Check out our great article on What to Unpack First!
Whenever you are looking to purchase a new home, know that The Susan & Moe Team will be here with you every step of the way. Give us a call, we would love to help find the perfect home for you!