Your Home Search
From online listings to touring open houses, looking at homes can be both fun and stressful. Most people start their search online, and make their final decision partially based on how the home fits their wishlist and partially based on gut feel while seeing a home in person.
Using REALM for your home search
Once you know some areas of the city you're interested in, there are multiple sites online where you can apply filters and look at listings. REALM is a new home search tool made to help you narrow down your search and collaborate with your real estate agent in your home search. You can do in-depth searches, favourite listings and message your agent about them, get notified of new listings matching your specifications, and get suggestions based on listings you've liked. You can also see detailed information about listings, like market analytics and historical listing data. Ask your real estate agent for an invitation to REALM.
What to consider when looking at homes (online or in person)
- Look beyond the staging, or lack thereof. You're not buying the rented designer staging furniture (or the seller's mess). Find out about the age of the roof, the furnace, cracks in the foundation, mold in the basement, and all that unsexy stuff. A currently ugly house could need very little to make it great, and a beautiful house could have all kinds of problems.
- Consider how you and your family really live, and your plans for the future. Will you really use all the rooms? Will you really want kids' stuff all over the open concept house with no playroom? Will three flights of stairs be too much as you age? Do you plan on having more kids than there are bedrooms in the home? Do you want to maintain a large garden? It's easy to fall in love with an ideal life in an HGTV house, but this will be your home every day.
- Really dig into the cost and hassle of various renovations, especially in older homes. For most people who buy a real fixer-upper, this means many months of living in a construction site, either doing backbreaking work yourself or having a steady stream of people constantly in your house. And hardly anyone stays even close to within their original budget.
Your real estate agent will be able to get you set up so that you see only listings relevant to your needs and budget, rather than all homes available. Your agent is also a great source for information on home prices (both list prices and real sale prices), typical prices for different home types in your neighbourhoods of interest, and more. When you're touring a home or looking at one online, your agent will also be able to spot red flags that you might miss, and should be able to either give you an estimate of what you'd be looking at for necessary renovations or refer you to a good contractor who can give you a more specific estimate.