Have you decided that it's time to get a jump on Spring House Hunting? Wondering where to start? Here are some tips from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation to help you maneuver the choppy waters of searching for a new home.
Tell everyone you know that you are looking for a new home. Surprising things sometimes happen. For example, you might hear about a home that is just becoming available on the market.
- Newspapers and real estate magazines
Check the new homes section in daily newspapers. Look for the free real estate magazines available at newsstands, convenience stores and other outlets. These publications are free and give pictures and short descriptions of homes for sale.
- The Internet
Check out real estate websites, such as realtor.ca. These websites give information and pictures of a wide range of properties. Most sites let you search by location, price, number of bedrooms, and other features.
- “For Sale” signs
Drive, bike or walk around a neighbourhood that interests you and look for “For Sale” signs. This is a good way to find homes that are being sold by the owner and are not listed with an agent.
- Visit new development sites
If you are looking for a newly built home, you can see available models and get information from builders.
- Work with a realtor
For most buyers, a realtor is key to finding the right home.
Useful Tips for Your Search
- Keep records
Whether you have a realtor or are looking by yourself, visit lots of homes before choosing one. Some things to compare are the home’s energy rating, utility costs, property taxes and major repairs. These will affect your monthly housing expenses. You can ask to see copies of utility and other bills. Use the CMHC Home Hunting Comparison Worksheet to make sure you get all the information you need to compare homes.
- Check out the property’s current financing
If the existing mortgage on the home is favourable, it may be possible to take it over from the vendor. It may even be possible to get a vendor take backmortgage, to help close the deal.
- Think twice
Even if a home seems perfect, go back and take a closer, more critical look at it. Visit it on different days and different times of the day. Chat with the neighbours. Look deeper — don’t be distracted by attractive surface details.
- Energy Rating
Some houses and new homes in Canada have an Energy Rating that describes the energy efficiency of the home. An energy-rated home usually has a sticker with the rating on the electrical panel. The energy rating is on a 0 – 100 scale. The higher the rating, the more energy-efficient is the home, and the less it costs to operate.
- CMHC statistics and analysis
CMHC has the latest statistical information and analysis of housing trends. Our Market Analysis Centre tracks information for local, provincial and national markets.
The best thing you can do is to start deciding what are your highest priorities; Location? Amenities? Price? Move-In Readiness? Once you know what you want most in a house, you can get started on searching for a home in the area you want to live in. For more information, visit the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation website.