Category Archives: Buying a House

Sound Advice for Buying a House

Buying a new home on Ottawa is typically the single largest investment decision that a person or couple will ever make in their lifetime. There is loads of advice out there… from friends, family and even TV personalities. Some of it is sound and some of it is bogus. Here are our thoughts on the matter:

Be Pre-approved for a Loan

To be clear, this advice does not mean “pre-qualified.” The latter is just a marketing technique that lenders use to solicit your business. Pre-approved, however, means that the lender has examined your financials and is willing to actually lend you the amount they indicate. In short, being the first means nothing to sellers while the second yields you tremendous bargaining power.

Drive the Neighbourhood Beforehand

This process is best done at least twice – once during the day and once at night… even if it is a brand new neighbourhood. It will let you know about your new neighbourhood’s atmosphere. In addition, make a trial-run commute – at the appropriate time  from the potential new home to see if you can deal with the route and the traffic. Finally, it is a good idea to identify where all the essential services are located like grocery and drug stores for everyday needs as well as fast-food restaurants and pubs for entertainment.

Eliminate the Emotion

Arguably the most difficult suggestion on this list to accomplish, it is also one of the most important. In short, falling in love with a property – before you purchase it, that is – is one of the worst mistakes a buyer can make. Instead, a potential buyer should take a detached approach and make reasoned decisions about a property including its condition, the price and its functionality.

Get the New Home Warranty

Any reputable builder of new homes will offer a guarantee on the quality of their product by providing a warranty. This document should cover everything from the basement to the roof. If it doesn’t, the builder is not really a reputable one. Seriously, a newly built home should last for a decade or more without problems. Why would a good builder not guarantee that?


Recognize the Associated Costs of Home Ownership

Many potential new homeowners are beguiled by a low mortgage payment and erroneously compare it to their monthly rental cost. Homes have a slew of associated costs that should also be considered. In particular, a homeowner will have to carry insurance, pay real estate taxes and absorb any maintenance costs. In addition, a home’s utility bills will most likely be higher than an apartment’s. While not significant on an individual basis, these items can easily add 40-70% to the cost of a home.

Stay within Your Budget

Sensible advice as no one wants to be pacing the floor wondering how they will pay the mortgage when one of life’s uncertainties enters the picture and causes a financial drain. Leave some “wiggle room” when it comes to your final mortgage payment as you will undoubtedly need it at some point in the next 30 years.