5 tips to making a better home-buying decision

Purchasing a home can be a daunting process, but it doesn’t have to be. We live in a world where there are so many tools and resources available to us; you simply need to know which ones to use and how to use them. To help with this, I’ve come up with five tips to help you make a better home-buying decision.

#1. Meet with a lender or financial adviser to pre-qualify

Most people searching for a home know to get pre-approved to determine their budget.

However, I am a firm believer in making sure you seek out financial advice in person rather than online. In-person pre-approvals tend to be a lot more accurate than basic online forms.


For starters, the financial adviser or lender will be looking at the big picture. They will ask you things like:

  • Do you have kids?
  • Are you saving?
  • Do you have enough for a down payment, etc.

They will also help you consider all the extras that come with owning and maintaining a home that are often overlooked such as ordering window coverings, buying a lawn mower and factoring in daily maintenance costs.

By meeting with a lender or adviser, you might also find that you are qualified for a larger mortgage than you originally thought. For example, you might qualify for a longer mortgage term of 30 years.


#2. Do your research

Once you have a solid picture of your financial situation and how much you can afford, you will be in a better position to start your home search.

When doing your research, I recommend starting big and narrowing down. One way to do this is to first decide where you want to live by considering what amenities you need nearby such as schools, transit, shopping, parks, work.

Next, consider the community, street, home orientation, lot size and then, of course, your specific home choice. Determining whether you want a new-build or a resale home and then comparing costs — future work needed, operating costs, etc. — between the two, will also help you narrow down your search.


#3. Know your budget and stick to it

If you follow tip #1, knowing your budget will be easy. The hard part is staying within it. Cardel Homes fully supports staying within budget to ensure you can afford your home and your lifestyle.

Our mandate is to build stable, long-term, sustainable communities. In other words, we don’t want to see a bunch of “for sale” signs up in our communities. We want buyers to be comfortable and happy with their decision.

We also encourage buyers to think long term and to purchase a home that will still support their lifestyle a few years down the road. If you think long term and stay within your budget, you’ll be making a good decision.


#4. Don’t fall into the feeding frenzy

Ottawa is currently a seller’s market and we are starting to see bidding wars that result in people overpaying for their home. This is not a situation you want to find yourself in.

Overpaying will put you in a difficult position when interest rates go up and the market conditions go down and can result in negative equity. Don’t panic; other opportunities will present themselves.

#5. Protect your interests

Buying a home is a big decision and one you want to make from a place of confidence. Therefore, it is super important to find out as much information as possible about your potential home before closing the deal.


Once you find a home that meets your criteria, be sure to hire a good real estate lawyer to ensure your interests are protected. If you are buying a resale home, make sure to get it properly inspected and confirm if there are any transferrable warranties.

If you’ve followed the above steps and everything checks out, you’re ready to pull the trigger!


Also by Greg Graham


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About the Author

Greg Graham

Greg Graham is the chief operating officer of the Cardel Group of Companies and president of Cardel Homes Ottawa.



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Whether searching for your first home, preparing to upsize or downsize, or mulling over a renovation, this guide provides valuable resources and tips.