As I'm sure we all know, Ottawa's housing market has been red hot as of late. With an average price of $743,204 in the residential class and $427,145 in the Condominium class, the average price in the Ottawa Real Estate market as of April 2021 was $671,755. (Ottawa Real Estate Board). As a real estate agent I often get asked, what can I do to start the home buying process? When purchasing one of the largest investments in your life it goes without saying that lots of planning is necessary.
Evaluate your current situation and see if homeownership is right for you. Are you set up financially to be able to meet mortgage payments? Are you aware of the upfront and ongoing costs associated with purchasing a home? These are a few factors to consider because ultimately making the decision to purchase a home is a big responsibility and you do not want to be "House Poor" which can be defined as a large portion of your income going solely towards your house, and other facets of your life not being as suitable given so much of your income is tied to your home.
Let's talk mortgages. How much can you afford? It is of utmost importance to meet with a mortgage professional and provide the necessary documents to get pre-approved for a mortgage prior to beginning your home search. In doing this step, you are able to establish the maximum price that you are pre-approved for and can then work with your real estate agent to shop for homes within your price range. When working with a mortgage professional, you can get pre-approved through a mortgage specialist at a Financial Institution such as your bank or you can get pre approved through a mortgage broker. The main difference is mortgage specialists are employed by a financial institution and sell their particular product, whereas mortgage brokers have access to lenders across various institutions and can help buyers secure the most competitive rate.
Get in touch with a real estate agent who you trust and will represent you and your best interests from start to finish in the home buying process. Buying a home can definitely be a stressful and at times daunting task, however when working with a real estate agent, they are able to relieve the stress from the buyer and guide them through the steps necessary. Your real estate agent is your one-stop-shop for everything from setting up your home search criteria to if you need a contractor for some home repairs; they are working for YOU and to represent your best interests; the best part about it is it costs nothing as the commissions are paid out by the seller.
Identifying the home search criteria need/wants, non-negotiables, and factors such as price point, desired location, neighborhood influences, bedrooms/bathrooms are all integral in your home search. Without having a handle on these elements, it can hinder the home buying process as it is hard to purchase a home if the buyer does not even know what the ideal home is. Your real estate agent will walk you through the search criteria and be able to provide valuable insight into the price points in the desired areas outlined.
Whether you are planning a move in the near future or a few years out, it is important to have a plan in place and take the steps necessary to get the process started! If you have any questions on the process feel free to reach out or DM me for my Buyer’s Guide!