Buyer’s Guide

As you get ready to embark upon the next phase of your life, it’s a good idea to get a sense of what to expect when you are buying your new home. Our step-by-step guide will make it easier for you to navigate this process.

First-time home-buyer?

Here’s Nick’s ultimate guide to buying a home in Ottawa

Buying a home in Ottawa involves a lot of people and parts, but by following this guide, you’ll have no problem getting through it smoothly.

The steps

Watch each video to learn about all the steps you’ll need to take when buying your first home.

1. Prepare

You’ll learn to: Choose a lender, arrange a rate hold, write your lists, meet and work with us, and setup your personal account.

2. Showings and Offers

You’ll learn to: Search via process of elimination, decide on an offer strategy, and write an offer that protects you.

3. Negotiation and due diligence

You’ll learn to: Counter-offer until both parties agree, remind yourself of your needs and wants list, acquire an inspection, gain financial approval, and use your team to deal with surprises

4. Close smoothly

You’ll learn to: Book your mover early, use your checklists and your team, do a final walkthrough, and keep Nick on speed dial for all of your questions

Buy or sell first?

Have a home to sell, too? Every situation is different, so we examine a few factors before advising which is best for you.

For example: what are the current market conditions? Are you financially capable of carrying two properties without feeling stressed? If we’re in a Seller’s market you might want to find a new home first, but if we’re in a buyer’s market it’s probably best to sell your property first. Let’s take a look at the advantages of both.

Buy first

Works best when:

  • There is a lot of competition in the market and property prices are rising
  • You’re confident there will be a high level of demand for your existing property
  • You can negotiate or make it conditional upon selling your own home
  • You’re prepared to accept an offer that lets you move on or pay bridging financing

Sell first

Works best when:

  • Property prices are flat or declining
  • If you want greater certainty about how much you have to spend on your next home
  • If you’re moving locations and buying in a different and slower market
  • If you can negotiate a long closing or know that you’ll be able to find something that suits your requirements

Home operating costs

All homes have additional operating costs aside from your mortgage. Here are some other major costs to take note of when you’re budgeting for your new home.


Property taxes are a major source of income and used to help pay for city services. Each municipality determines their own tax rate every year.


The services that run your home including: hydro, water and gas. The cost of utilities can vary widely depending upon the home and the season.


Home insurance protects you against all types of damage to your home, such as flooding, vandalism and theft. Most lenders require you to have home insurance to protect their assets.

Choosing a neighbourhood

If you’re planning on purchasing a home, keep in mind that you’re not just buying a house, you’re investing in a neighbourhood. Here are some questions to consider.

What kind of home?

Are you interested in single-family, condo or townhouse? Do some research on what different types of home can offer you, and this will help you narrow your search.

What about your commute?

Do you need a car to get to work? Will you need access to public transit? Do a test run from your new potential home to work before committing.

An old or new house?

Older neighbourhoods are great for their charm and character, but older homes may require more repairs. Newer homes in newer areas might require less.

What kind of community?

What would you like to see in your new community? Are there coffee shops? Events? Will you have access to nature? Whatever you’d like to have, write it down and choose from areas that have some of these features.

How about the walk score?

How important is it to you to be walking distance from things like schools, shopping, parks and groceries? Think of what you want, write it down, and then choose from areas that support walkability.

What don’t you want?

Everyone has wants, but have you considered the things that you don’t want? If you hate noise you might want to steer clear of the area around the universities, and if you don’t like wildlife you may want to reconsider that cabin in the woods.

Making the offer

Once we’ve found the right place for you, it’s time to make a formal, written offer. In Ontario, all offers must be in writing and can be signed with electronic signatures or on traditional paper forms.

Draft the offer

We will draft an offer that protects you and include any clauses that are needed. Keep in mind that this offer is just an offer, until it is accepted.

Accept: The Seller may accept your offer — Congratulations! Time to celebrate, but now we will move ahead with any conditions laid out in the offer like home inspection. Once completed we wait for closing and then move in!
Reject: The Seller may reject your offer. We will ask questions to discover why and if there is anything we can do to make the offer more appealing. If not, we move on and find the home that you were meant to have!
Counter: In this case, we will review the terms with you and continue to negotiate until we have reached a mutually acceptable agreement or until it becomes clear that no agreement can be reached.
Closing costs

All homes have closing costs to factor into your overall home buying budget. Here is what to expect in Ottawa:


Before closing

• Deposit
• Property Appraisal
• Home Inspection


On closing

• Land Transfer Tax
• Property Tax
• Mortgage Insurance
• Legal Fees


After closing

• Moving expenses

• Utility connections

• Renovations

• Immediate repairs and maintenance

Our most asked

Here are a few of the most commonly asked questions we get when we’re working with first-time home buyers.

How long does the process usually take? 

Buying a new home can happen in a week, or it can take months. We will work on your timeline to make it happen as quickly as you are comfortable with. 

What is a buyer vs seller market?

A Seller’s market happens when there’s a shortage in housing. A Buyer’s market occurs when there are more homes for sale than buyers.

How do we know what we can afford?

We’ll walk you through the process of figuring out how much you can afford, and the first step is making an appointment with a mortgage broker.

Avoid these killer mistakes

Don’t let your homebuying dream become a nightmare. Here are some common mistakes to avoid.

Skipping the inspection

A home inspection gives you insight into a home’s flaws and potential problems. Paying for an inspection before you make a firm purchase could save you from an expensive surprise.

Buying the finishes, not the location

There’s a reason that the first rule of Real Estate is “Location, Location, Location.” A great location affects your commute, noise level, lifestyle and resale value. Styles fade, but location is forever, and a well-located home can be updated.

Messing with your credit

Don’t buy a car, open new credit cards or lines of credit or change your job in between purchase and closing. It could disqualify you from your mortgage and lose you the home.

Screenshot 2023-03-08 at 10.18.38
Screenshot 2023-03-08 at 10.18.38

Our home-buyer’s checklist

Are you ready to get started?