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Your Journey to Buying a Home in Ottawa

Last updated on May 11th, 2021 at 12:57 pm

After years of scrimping and saving, you’ve saved up enough for a down payment to purchase your first home. You’re about to embark on an exciting adventure, but there are a few steps to take first. Let’s take a walk through the home buying journey:

Research Potential Markets

The first step will involve researching all the markets you wish to live in. If you want to stay in Ottawa, where do you want to live? A condo in the Market? A charming townhome in Kanata? A starter home in Barrhaven that will shine with a little TLC?

Make sure to look at comparable sales, neighbourhood statistics, and any available information on market trends. You can reach out to a local real estate agent, or sign up for a free listing alert service to stay on top of the market.

Determine Affordability

Once you have knowledge on the average pricing and trends, you should determine how much you can afford. You can use an online affordability calculator that will factor in your income, debt, and the amount of down payment you have saved. This will give you a sense of how much home you can afford, and stop you from drooling over homes that are out of your price range right now.

Apply for a Preapproved Mortgage

Once you feel confident that you have enough money to afford a new home, you can apply for a preapproved mortgage. The mortgage lender will lock in a rate (usually 60-120 days) so when you find the right home you’re ready to make an offer.

Obtain a Real Estate Agent

A real estate agent can make or break a sale. Having an experienced Ottawa REALTOR® with excellent negotiating skills, detailed knowledge of the market, and a long-established track record can help you beat out the competition.

Tour Properties

When attending open houses and booking showings, try not to fall in love with the furniture or reject the home because of the paint colour in the powder room. Focus instead on features like square footage, number of bedrooms/bathrooms, location, and the condition of the property. You can always slap on a new coat of paint, but adding on a fourth bedroom or expanding the kitchen could costs thousands and thousands.

Place an Offer

Once you have found the perfect home you will need to put in an offer. Your REALTOR can help to negotiate an agreeable price for you, assist you in signing the offer and put your deposit in trust. Make sure your REALTOR explains the offer process to you in detail so there are no surprises.

Conditions & Home Inspections

With a hot real estate market, many people are forgoing conditions, such as the home inspection, to ensure a sale over the competition. This is not recommended. Finding out after closing that your roof needs replacing or the foundation is sinking, could be a very expensive mistake. A home inspection allows you the chance to renegotiate the offer or completely withdraw without penalties if there is any damage.

Get your Mortgage

Work with a mortgage lender or broker to help select the appropriate loan that matches your financial needs. The lender will also request for an appraisal to be conducted to valuate your property.


At the time of closing you will complete and sign any legal and financial paperwork. Your lender, lawyer, and real estate agent will walk you through the process, ensuring payment is delivered, and transfer title is completed. Once complete you are ready to move into your new home!

Don’t be left with surprises, make sure you are well-educated on the home buying steps as mentioned above to ensure a smooth process. Ready to begin your home buying journey? Contact Geoff & Bobbie McGowan today!