- Doing it alone
While most of your time will be spent looking at homes online, you will want to hire an agent as soon as you’ve made your decision to buy. An agent can give you valuable insight into the market and provide you with the latest listings before they are published online.
- Not researching the neighbourhood
During the exciting house hunt, it is very easy to forget about the neighbourhood itself and what it has to offer. Always take the time to research the neighbourhood and surrounding areas including upcoming developments, schools, crime rate and demographics. Don’t be afraid to ask your agent for details.
- Not hiring a home inspector
Is a home inspector necessary? Absolutely. The comfort of having an expert fully assess every part of your intended purchase can help put your mind at ease during a stressful time. This process can also help advance your negotiating position when it comes to certain improvements that may be required. Unless you have the experience necessary to perform your own inspection, the cost to hire an inspector is quite minor and should be factored in to your expenses when buying a home.
- Buying more than you can afford
First thing to do is to speak with your bank or mortgage broker and discuss what they are willing to lend you. Keep in mind, this number can be higher than what you feel comfortable borrowing. I would recommend lowering your budget from the prequalification to ensure you can handle the payments now and in the future.
- Not looking at the home objectively
House hunting can be very exciting and finding your next dream home can bring out plenty of emotions that may blind you to possible dangers. Always look at a home objectively and without emotion. Remember your wish list and must haves and stick to it. Your agent should help keep you on track.
- Forgetting about all the added costs to home ownership
It’s pretty easy to forget one expense or another while figuring out your mortgage payment and closing costs. Buying a home involves many expenses that can easily be overlooked. Here’s a short list of some of the major costs to expect:
– Mortgage payment
– Land Transfer Tax
– Home Inspection
– Mortgage Insurance (if high ratio mortgage)
– Legal Fees
– Moving costs (Moving truck, gas, boxes and storage)
– Celebrating the new home (eating out, drinks, housewarming)
- Not considering resale value
It’s tough to think about selling a home when you’re in the buying mindset but it’s important to look at all homes as though you may eventually sell it down the line. Can you work with the home in its current state or do you need to complete major renovations? Will those renovations increase your home value? Is the neighbourhood stagnant or growing? What about surrounding homes? Are you looking at the most or least expensive home in the area? These are some of many questions that should be floating around during your house hunt.
- Not being familiar with the current market
This is where your agent will shine. During the entire home buying process, you should be updated on what is happening in the Ottawa market as a whole including your desired neighbourhoods. Detailed statistics on pricing, comparable properties, days on market, and overall neighbourhood growth will be invaluable when buying (and selling) a home. It doesn’t hurt to strengthen your negotiating power while making the best decision for current and future needs.
- Receiving mediocre service
Working with an agent to find and buy a home is more than simply sending you listings and walking you through homes until you find one you want to buy. Your agent should remain honest, informed, available and responsive. Timing and flexibility is crucial when your future home is at stake. Your agent should be there to keep you on track with your goals and protect your interests during contract negotiations. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or walk away if you’re not the right fit for each other.