How to buy the perfect home (For you. For right now.)

October 28, 2011 | By | Add a Comment

So, you’ve decided to buy a home? Congratulations!

When my husband and I were house-hunting, it was such an exciting time.We looked for almost 2 years before we found a place we fell in love with (our real estate agents had the patience of saints!). The reason it took so long was: a) we kept thinking prices HAD to go lower – which they didn’t, and b) there was a slight disconnect in what my hubby and I were prepared to live with – I would have been okay with a fixer-upper, but my hubby was totally NOT okay with a fixer-upper. As it turns out, we ended up somewhere in the middle.

Being fairly analytical types, we had a list of ten “must-haves” for our house:

1. Within certain price range
2. Maximum commute time from work
3. Four bedrooms
4. Two-car garage
5. Lots of space between us and neighbours
6. Neighbourhood with character
7. Backyard for kids to play in
8. Lots of windows
9. Basement that my 6’2” husband didn’t have to crouch in
10. Within walking distance of good school

In the end, we got almost everything we wanted from our list, although we did go over on # 1.You’ll notice that one thing was not on our list – a big modern kitchen. That is why we are now considering a pain-in-the-neck kitchen reno. Anyway, I digress.

Here are my recommendations for finding the perfect home:

1. Decide on your top ten “must-haves” and rank them in order of priority. Doing some research on helpful sites such as and will get you thinking about points you might not have considered. Check out CMHC’s “Homebuying Step by Step” guide as well as their great home features checklist.

2. Get pre-approved for a mortgage. A good mortgage specialist will help you develop a mortgage plan. This gives you several key pieces of information. Not only should you understand exactly how much you can qualify for, but you should also get advice on whether you need to fix anything credit-wise to get the best mortgage rates, and whether you need to increase your savings for down payment and/or closing costs.

3. Connect with a great real estate agent. If you don’t already have one, ask around for recommendations. A skilled real estate agent will sit down with you and provide guidance on where in the city you can get a home that fits with your budget and your requirements. Be sure to keep the lines of communication open, so that after every viewing, you can provide feedback on what you liked and didn’t like about the place. This can save you a lot of time and effort.

4. Make your offer. Your real estate agent will guide you here as well, based on their experience and understanding of the market. Make sure to include clauses in your offer to give you time to finalize your financing and to get a home inspection.

A little planning can go a long way to relieving any stress associated with this big step in your life. Take your time in doing the research, talk to friends and real estate professionals, and then, trust your instincts. And make sure that you take a good hard look at that kitchen!

Photo credit: [c] Miroslav Vajdic for

Filed in: Purchase

About the Author (Author Profile)

I'm a Toronto Mortgage Broker. My focus is on saving people time and money in financing and re-financing their homes. Am passionate about helping people make informed choices, giving back, and helping to improve financial literacy in Canada.

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