Houses & Homes: House hunting - 4 Things to do before you start your search

Have you been daydreaming about your perfect new house, with large bay windows an enormous yard, and stunning views on the lake?  Before you get all wined up fantasizing about your future property, figuring some key details is crucial to make sure this dream is indeed achievable. 

Whether you’re in the market to buy your 1st, 2nd, 3rd, or even 4th property, house hunting is an exciting process yet if not planned properly it can rapidly become overwhelming. 

To help you prepare for a successful and smooth house search, I have prepared a checklist of things to do before you start.

Step #1: Get a pre-approval

Before you start shopping for your new house, you must know the amount you are pre-approved for. This will allow you to narrow your search to properties that are within your budget. You’ll know where you stand and what kind of homes you can look at without wasting any time.

When sellers are faced with a multiple offer situation, pre-approval is one of the first things they look at to make a decision. This is why pre-approval is so important. You’re already in competition with other buyers for the price, this helps you stay ahead of the bunch. It’s a plus!

Step #2: Write down your key selection criteria

This may sound obvious but determining which specific criteria is essential to you and your family in a new house can change the course of your house hunt. Decide ahead of your search, what you are not willing to compromise for. If you are planning on expanding your family, then one criteria can be four bedrooms or a finished basement. Think about what you and your family need to ensure a better quality of life. Is there room to grown in this house? Will it fit with your lifestyle in the long-term? These are all important questions to ask yourself.

Step #3: Location! Location! Location!

Explore neighbourhoods that speak to you, where you can raise your family, and that are conveniently located near public transport, highways, grocery stores, schools, and parks. You can identify more than one place where you can see yourself and your family live, but my recommendation is to figure it out before you start your house search. One option to determine the perfect location for your family is by doing a tour with your kids during the weekends and look at schools and parks. When you will start house hunting you’ll have a better idea of which area suits your family the best! Don’t be shy to talk with your broker and explain exactly what your needs are!  Trust me your broker will provide you with the ups and downs, the goods and bads of all the different locations. 

Step #4: Keep an open mind

You might have an idea of what you really want in a house, but remember to keep an open mind. You won’t necessarily get exactly what you want and you might have to compromise. Stick to your top criteria, but don’t be too rigid about other details that are not priorities. Depending on your budget and properties available on the market, finding the perfect home can be challenging. But with an open mind, you’ll find just what you need and make it your own kind of perfect. For example, if you absolutely wanted to live in a certain area but halfway through your search process you realized that you couldn't find exactly what you wanted…keep an open mind and go see a different area that will give you exactly what you looking for.

I hope you found this checklist helpful. If you have any other questions or concerns before you start your house hunt or if you are ready to start looking, please feel free to contact me and I will be happy to assist you as you begin this exciting process. 

Claudia Lefebvre is a Chartered Real Estate Broker who thrives on delivering impeccable customer experience. Her passion for beautiful homes, building relationships while exceeding her customers’ expectations paved the way to her brilliant 10 year career in leading real estate companies like Remax du Cartier and Sotheby’s. 

Now with Profusion Realty, Christie’s International Real Estate, she is recognized for her talent as a negotiator, her impeccable quality and highly personalized service for her carefully selected clients. When it comes to selling or buying a house, do not hesitate to contact her at (514) 581-1286, or visit her website