When it comes to looking for a house, especially if you’re buying with an entire family in mind, window shopping and listings page searches can really only take you so far.
Sure, they’re always fun to look through and are great for inspiration, but as professional Realtors®, our home search is made infinitely easier when you’ve got a house hunting checklist.
Think of house hunting checklists like real estate grocery lists — once you’re actually in the market, you can rely on your predetermined list of needs and wants to help guide your decision-making process with foresight. One important difference? You need to make sure your Realtor® can actually read the handwriting on your house hunting checklist.
For the rest of our tips on creating an effective and helpful house hunting checklist, refer to our guide below.
What’s Your Budget?
Before you ever put pen to paper on your house hunting checklist, the crucial first step is to determine your home-buying budget. There’s nothing quite as disheartening as seeing clients’ new home expectations fall much shorter than they’d hoped because they didn’t start out by planning their finances.
There are a lot of additional costs of buying a home, and they can add up before you know it. That’s why our first step to creating a realistic house hunting checklist is to get an idea of what you can actually spend right out of the gate. If you’re in need of planning assistance from a financial planner or mortgage lender, we can help connect you with the right person.
Assessing Your Needs
Now that the financial stuff’s out of the way, it’s time to really take stock of your needs and wants. While you might’ve always dreamed of having a backyard big enough for a pool, it might not be as immediately important to the needs of you and your family as a finished basement, or two-car parking.
The best way to iron out a firm list of needs is to sit down with your professional real estate representative and have an honest discussion. If they’ve taken the time to get to know you and your family, you’ll get their advice on what features and amenities you might be overlooking on your house hunting checklist.
Once you’ve got a firm idea of what your new home needs are, it’s time to think about where you can find them within your price range. The most desirable neighbourhoods in Toronto are likely to already have everything — large homes, safe streets, nearby schools, public parks — but will cost much more than less developed areas.
Finding a neighbourhood that has most of what you want, shows good long-term investment potential, and is within your price range is where you should be aiming. Finding a neighbourhood like that can be difficult, but that’s when it pays to work with a real estate agent who’s a neighbourhood expert.
Looking At Listings
Now that your house hunting checklist has been finalized and you know which neighbourhood you want to start searching in, it’s time to compare the homes for sale in your target community with your checklist.
Whether it’s an online listings page or a hard copy of a feature sheet, look through the important aspects of each listing and compare them to the details on your house hunting checklist. Does the number of bedrooms and bathrooms align with your list? What about parking spots? Are the closest schools within walking distance?
Knowing these details before going to see a home in person will not only save you time, but it’ll stop you from falling in love with the wrong home in the first place.
Finding The Right Realtor®
Found your dream home that perfectly matches the criteria on your house hunting checklist? It’s time to go after it. To do that, you really need to find the right Realtor® for you.
As stated above, the right Realtor® for you should know you and your family’s needs inside and out, they should be able to connect you with a long list of industry professionals, they should be neighbourhood experts, and finally, they should be able to get you the home of your dreams for the best price possible.