Life just seems to get busier and busier. How do you search for a home when you have a million things on your plate? Here are a few steps you can take to help save time and energy on your new home search.
Be very specific when creating your "needs" and "wants" lists for your future home. Here are some of the most important points to hit while planning your house hunting strategy:
- What price range are you comfortable in?
- What areas are you interested living in? (try to narrow it down to neighbourhoods, or even streets you really like!)
- What type of property(ies) are you interested in? (detatched, semi-detatched, condo, two story, bungalow...etc)
- How many bedrooms and bathrooms do you need?
- Do you want a bigger kitchen? More green space? Larger space for entertaining? Guest bedrooms? An In-Law suite? Two car garage? All of these are important!
- How close do you want to be to amenities like grocery stores, movie theatres, arenas, shopping malls...etc?
- Do you have children? Do you need to be close to daycare, school, playground, or family for help?
- Do you want central A/C? What type of heating system do you prefer?
- Do you want to be close to public transportation?
- How recent of a build do you want?
- What are your ultimate deal breakers?
Be sure to split this list in to two categories; "needs" and "wants". This way both you and your agent can focus on the "needs" while keeping an eye out for properties that check items off the wants list as well. If you want more information about creating your "needs" and "wants" lists, check this out!
Be as specific as possible about the areas you want to live in and keep this at the forefront of your mind while you browse available listings. Ask your agent to book all of your showings in a similar area on the same day to minimize the amount of times you have to drive around the city. You may have to stop, drop, and see a prospective home relatively quickly with how competitive the Ottawa real estate market is, so
It is much easier to narrow your search when you have a relatively solid idea of the costs associated with your future home. Having a pre- approved mortgage will make your offer more competitive as the removal of a condition like financing is very attractive to a Seller. It shows that you are a serious Buyer who has put their ducks in order ahead of time. In order to choose the right lender for you, check out this episode of my podcast Realtor in Your Pocket!
Virtual showings and open houses have become a normal occurrence during this pandemic. Although in Ottawa, with lightened restrictions as we move into Phase 3, you are able to view most properties in person, these virtual options, along with the pictures and floor plans included with the vast majority of listings, allows you to get a pretty good idea of which properties you are most interested in.
Try to block off at least a few weekend days and an evening or two per week from your schedule to view the homes you are very interested in and aim to have as few distractions as possible during this time.
Get as much information as possible about the listings you are interested in. Take notes while you are at the showing, talk to neighbours, and explore the neighbourhood. This will help you stay organized during your home search and allow you to compare each property you have seen easily before offering, without an additional visit.
While these time-saving tips can help, the best way to find a home on a busy schedule is to work with a good and experienced real estate agent.
Want more advice on buying your dream home? Call or email me today.