Defining your needs
Once you have an accurate picture of your financial capacity and have established your budget, the next step is to define your needs. This exercise will allow you to reflect on your priorities, which will help you in your search and will guide me to help you. Following are the main elements to consider when defining your expectations.
Type of property
Are you looking for a single-family dwelling, a duplex or a townhouse? Do you prefer a new or older house? Do you want to own the house and the land or would you prefer a condominium in which only one unit is yours?
Are you looking for a home downtown or in the suburbs? Do you prefer a new area? What is your tolerance to noise and pollution? Are you looking to avoid high-traffic areas? Is the state of development of the area where you will be living important to you? Do zoning regulations allow room for change?
Proximity of services
What are your needs in terms of public transit and public or commercial services? Is being close to work or to schools, etc. important to you? Will you feel safer living close to a hospital or a police or fire station?
What are your needs in terms of space? How many bedrooms and bathrooms are necessary? Do you want air conditioning? How much storage room do you need? Do you need a laundry room and a workshop?
What are your needs in terms of parking? Do you like gardening? If so, what are the sunlight requirements? Do you want a terrace, a patio, a balcony, a pool?
Need for renovations
Are you looking for a house that needs no improvements? If you are thinking of doing the work yourself, do you have the necessary skills? If not, have you evaluated the cost of repairs?
Organizing your search
Organizing the search for your home is not a simple step. It is the most important and often the longest. It is recommended to take all the time you need before buying a home. The key to choosing the right home is to really know your needs. Talk to your broker or agent about your priorities and try to identify the features you are looking for but that could be subject to compromises. This way, you will avoid wasting time viewing houses that are too expensive, too big or that are simply not what you are looking for.
When you have found the home you are looking for, try to see it at least twice, once during the day and once at night both during the week and on the weekend. This way, you can see for yourself the activity level in the neighborhood at those hours when you will likely be at home. You can also appreciate the amount of traffic, ambient noise, street lighting, etc. Check everything: carpets, drapes, light fixtures, etc.
Remember that the Description sheet provided by the seller’s broker can also help you evaluate a property in which you are interested. This document contains a detailed description of the property in its current state and allows you to learn all the details which can help you form an enlightened opinion before you make a decision. The same goes for the form entitled “Declarations by the Seller”, in which the seller reports on the condition of the immovable to the best of his knowledge. Review your list of priorities and take time to think without rushing. Buying a house that is not suited to your needs or which has a major flaw can have serious consequences.
Elements to verify
Check the general state of the house: roof, gutters, siding, paint, etc.
Is the house energy-efficient?
Is it well insulated?
Are heating costs high?
How is the air quality and circulation?
Is the house damp?
Are there traces of mildew? If so, check for cracks or water infiltration.
Do you have any reason to believe there are structural problems? Stuck windows or uneven floors point to this sort of problem.
Flush the toilets and check faucets to make sure there is sufficient pressure.
Setting the fair market value of a property
If you are interested in a property, it is important to get an idea of its actual value on the market. With the help of your broker or agent, compare the house you like to other properties in the neighborhood and try to identify the elements which could have a positive or a negative impact on the asking price: location, size, year of construction and state of preservation of the property, number and layout of rooms, materials used, landscaping, features specific to the area, etc. This information will help you determine the price you will offer the seller.
As your realtor I can help you to find the home that’s right for you. I would love the opportunity to work with you and I am confident that I will be of value to you