Buying a house is one of the biggest investment decisions you will make, so it’s really important that you make an informed decision. Failure to do so could be disastrous on many counts, financially, emotionally and (because all these things are connected) for your health and well-being!

That may sound like an exaggeration, but it’s not. Imagine what would happen if you fell in love with a cute little cottage on the bank of a beautiful river, bought it, and then discovered it was downstream from a poorly run manufacturing plant that was spewing toxins into the river, or a neglected hydroelectric facility (dam!) that was on the verge of collapsing! Either of these scenarios could certainly affect your health, couldn’t they?a

These are extreme situations that most people could manage to avoid, but they serve to illustrate the fact that a poor real estate purchase could have dire consequences, so it pays to do whatever you can to make sure you are buying the right house for you and your family.

Right now you are enticed by very low mortgage rates, home buying incentive programs and (depending on where you are) a plethora of housing choices, making home ownership possible for many. It might be the right time for you to buy, if you have some money for a down payment, a reasonably secure income and the desire for your own place.

First time buyers should consider enlisting the help of a buyers agent, someone who can guide you through the process of choosing and purchasing a house that meets your needs and fits your budget.

Make a list of features that you require, and those that you would like but aren’t absolutely necessary. Think about things like:

  • Proximity to work (or to transit that you can take to work);
  • How many bedrooms and bathrooms you need;
  • Whether you are okay with a two-story home or require a stair-free house, and
  • Access to recreational facilities and shopping

Make another list of ‘deal-breakers’, things that are unacceptable for your family. Being right on a main thoroughfare might be one, especially if you have young children or Houdini-like pets who like to escape and explore the neighborhood. Maybe you don’t want to live right next door to a popular nightclub that features live music every weekend (but then again, maybe you do). The main point is that you need to establish your own parameters to find the right property for you and those who share your life.

An experienced realtor will be able to show you current MLS listings as well as new listings, perhaps before they have been exposed to the general public. He (or she) might also know of properties where the owners have let the listing lapse but are still interested in selling to the right buyer (maybe you!). Your agent can also warn you of impending changes in the neighborhoods you might be interested in or situations that you are unaware of that could affect your decision to buy a particular property. Their business is reliant on repeat customers so they will be on your side and looking out for your interests! With help from your buyers agent you will be able to buy just the right home!