Tips for buying a home in Ottawa’s red-hot real estate market

Real Estate Market

Ottawa’s real estate market got a lot more competitive thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. Home sales and average sale prices skyrocketed in the nation’s capital, bouncing back after a massive drop during the first two months of the pandemic.

That was the trend throughout most of the country as Canada had its highest annual real estate sales in 2020. Some of the reasons for these numbers include low interest rates and the need for added living space with parents and children working and schooling from home. Families also had more disposable income to fund those upgrades due to shutdowns of travel, hospitality and child care services.

While real estate sales have cooled, homes in Ottawa continue to sell well over their asking prices. Part of the reason is a lack of inventory, making Ottawa a highly competitive homebuying market. But, clearly, the sales numbers show that buying a home in Ottawa is not impossible.

Keep reading for tips on how you can stay competitive as a buyer in Ottawa’s real estate market.

Hire Local Professionals

Homebuyers don’t pay a real estate agent’s fees, so using a licensed real estate agent that lives and works in Ottawa, knows its neighbourhoods and the true market values of its homes is a no-brainer.

Interview potential candidates and ask how long they’ve been practicing in Ottawa, their track record at getting their clients’ offers accepted and for references. It can help to do a little research and find out which brokerages list the most homes. Clients usually have access to their brokerage’s new listings before they’re made available to the public, which can give you an edge when they sign a new seller.

You’ll also want an Ottawa real estate lawyer ready to go at a moment’s notice as Ottawa’s real estate market is fast. So keep availability top of mind when shopping around for the right fit, along with experience and positive reviews.  

Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage ASAP

Not only do you need to know how much you have available to you to know your options, but interest rates were lowered at the beginning of the pandemic and are at the lowest rates they’ve been in years. But experts say that interest rates, and therefore mortgage rates, will soon be on the rise. Pre-approved mortgage rates can be locked in for 60 to 120 days, depending on the lender. 

Shop around and do your research before deciding on a mortgage broker or financial institution, just as you would with a real estate agent or a lawyer. The last thing you want is to be locked into a mortgage that doesn’t match your financial needs because it wasn’t explained to you properly.

Multi-task to Keep Protected and Stay Competitive

With the speed of the market and the competition that comes with multiple offers, homebuyers may feel pressured to submit an offer without conditions and forgo the inspection. But even new homes can have major issues that only a professional home inspector can uncover. 

While it’s not commonly done, ask permission to have a home inspection completed at the viewing to help you decide whether to make an offer in the first place. This approach protects you and allows you to make a firm, unconditional offer, which could be the deciding factor that makes your bid the winner.

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