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Whether you’re a first-time buyer in Canada or a seasoned pro, house hunting is exciting! Scrolling through listings online and touring open houses make it so easy to imagine your new life and all the potential a new home could hold. Unfortunately, it’s just as easy to make a misstep in the world of real estate, and when you’re dealing with one of the biggest purchases you’ll ever make, the stakes are high. Here are some of the most common:

Not doing research when you hire an agent. It’s true—it’s an over-saturated market in Canada for agents right now, which means ads for agents are everywhere. Many people touring open houses just decide to use the listing agent because it’s easier. However, it’s important to find an agent who has the experience you’re looking for and knowledge of the specific market you’re in. Homework and references are crucial if you’re trying to find the right real estate agent.

Writing off a home based on photos. In a world filled with Instagram and Pinterest-perfect spaces, we’ve become accustomed to extremely photogenic homes and artfully-staged rooms. Many people pass over listing photos that aren’t professional, taken at bad angles or look messy. Don’t make this mistake! Many homes or condos might look much better in person or when the current occupant’s furniture is removed. In addition, homes that don’t “show well” might sell for under asking. 

Focusing on just the space. While it might be easy to become enamoured with a sleek condo or a home with your dream kitchen, it’s crucial to pay attention to the neighbourhood, especially if you’re buying in a city or region you’re unfamiliar with. The area a home is in can impact your quality of life and the home’s value. Your “dream home” might not be such a catch if your commute to work is an hour or the stretch turns into a high-crime zone after dark. Likewise, if a significant community development or new transit hub is planned nearby, your deal might be that much sweeter.