The average Canadian homebuyer takes 11 months to plan their purchase, according to CMHC. If you're thinking about buying in the next year, our four-part series will explain how you should be dividing your time.
Part 4: The Home Search
Now that you've been preapproved for a mortgage and know your housing price range, it's time to start looking!
While a Realtor can definitely help you find that ideal home (at no cost to you, since the seller pays their commission), it's wise to have a sense of what you're looking for before heading in.
If you're worried about the direction of the real estate market in your area, your best bet is to find a home that will suit your needs for the next five years or more, if you can afford it. Sit down and think about what your short-term and long-term priorities are, how many bedrooms you'll need to grow into, what your ideal area looks like, and whether your lifestyle is best suited to a condo or house. You might also want to take into consideration such things as commute times and proximity to sports teams and other community activities.
If your price point doesn't allow you to purchase a home that you can grow into, try to find one that will give you the most bang for your buck and the biggest return on your investment. This can mean purchasing in an up-and-coming area, or buying close to soon-to-be-built infrastructure improvements like public transit lines. The old real estate adage, location, location, location?, still rings true, so if you can buy the worst house on a nice street it is likely worth the investment. In the same sense, you may want to buy a home that's a little more expensive but well-located, so that you can rent out the basement for some extra income.
Again, a Realtor is probably the best person to discuss your strategies with. They'll be able to highlight areas that make sense for you, your budget and your current lifestyle.