Make a list of all the features you want in your new home such as the number of bedrooms, bathrooms, proximity to schools, shopping and workplace.
Be sure you can afford your home. Your monthly housing costs should not be more than 32% of your gross monthly income and your entire monthly debt load (which includes other debts, such as car loans or credit card payments) should not be 40% of your gross monthly income.
Obtain a pre-approved mortgage from the lender of your choice. This will help you determine the price range you should be looking in.
Calculate your other monthly living expenses such as food, clothing, transportation, personals and childcare to guarantee you can afford your mortgage payments.
Call a REALTOR® in your preferred area. They are trained professionals with knowledge about local conditions and the housing market in general. Through the Multiple Listings Service, they have access to virtually every property listed for sale. Your REALTOR® can narrow down your search and provide you with information on properties for sale and those that have recently sold. This will allow you to make informed decisions when it comes to making an offer. Licensed by the province and local real estate boards, REALTORS® must adhere to high standards of ethical behaviour.
You may wish to have an independent appraisal done of a property as a condition to purchase. It can keep you from paying more than market value.
Ask your REALTOR® for a copy of the Property Condition Disclosure Statement. This document is completed by the sellers and ensures the buyer gets complete information about the property they are about to purchase and alerts buyers when they need to do more research on a property.
To assess potential water leakage problems, visit a home immediately after rainfall and check to see if flat areas such as roof, deck and walkways have large pools of standing water on them. Building surfaces except specially designed ponds should drain freely and be immediately clear of water after a rainfall.
It is always a good idea to have the home inspected by a professional home inspector. An inspector's written report should include how well built the home is and whether any repairs are necessary.
Don't forget about other costs when you buy your own home such as legal fees, property taxes and GST (if purchasing a new home).