Tips on purchasing a home in Ottawa’s fast market

You’ve found the house of your dreams in your favourite Ottawa neighbourhood, and you want to put in an offer. Before you’ve even filled out the papers, you’re picturing your family enjoying summer evenings on that beautiful back patio under the trees.

Benson July blogBut will you be ready to compete with other buyers who’ve fallen in love with the same property? Being prepared to compete can be the key to your success.

In Ottawa this year, the Ottawa Real Estate Board has reported the number of properties on the market most months has been lower than usual. In the most popular neighbourhoods in our city, many sellers have received multiple offers, often within days of being listed.

In its news release on the resale housing market in our city in June, the Board reported that 39 per cent of properties sold that month went for above the asking price. 

If you’re looking in the city’s hotter neighbourhoods, such as Westboro or the Glebe, you shouldn’t be surprised if other buyers also want to offer on the house you like. 

“Some areas of our city are experiencing multiple offers, and the competition for well-priced and positioned properties is brisk,” Dwight Delahunt, President of the Real Estate Board, said in the release.

“A professional Realtor’s market knowledge and neighbourhood expertise are invaluable, whether you are a buyer or a seller,” he said.

If you want to compete with other buyers, you need to be sure you’re ready, particularly if you’re looking in a neighbourhood that’s in high demand. Since beginning my career as an Ottawa Realtor more than 30 years ago, I’ve specialized in established neighbourhoods such as Centretown, the Glebe, Westboro, Rockcliffe and New Edinburgh. I’ve seen how quickly properties in these areas can sell.

Benson July blogIf you want to be in the best position to compete with other buyers, here are a few tips I share with all buyers:

Educate yourself before you start shopping: If you have time, even before you get a mortgage pre-approval from your lender and before you have contacted a Realtor to work with you, it helps to get to know our market and narrow down your search.

Visiting open houses can be a good way to get an idea of what’s on the market, as well as a feel for the neighbourhoods and prices that are being asked. 

When you begin looking seriously with a Realtor, it helps if you have a clear idea of which neighbourhoods appeal most to you, and which properties you should see quickly when a new home in that area is listed.

Arrange your mortgage pre-approval: Some first-time buyers, knowing they are on solid financial ground, think they can start looking at houses and then arrange a mortgage once they find something that appeals to them.

But if you’re looking in a hot neighbourhood, the time it takes you to arrange that mortgage could be the time it takes the seller to accept an offer from someone who was prepared and pre-approved.

Getting pre-approved for a mortgage is one of the most important steps you can take. It means you are ready to put in a serious offer.

Be prepared to act quickly: If you’re looking for a home in a high-demand area, you need to be ready to act quickly, because other buyers won’t waste time. 

We Realtors see new listings a few days before they are officially listed on websites for the general public to see.

This means I can alert you when new listings are about to be posted in an area you love, and we can arrange viewings immediately. 

If you decide you want to put an offer, it’s important to be ready and willing to act quickly. Sellers love to receive offers quickly after listing, because it saves them from weeks of showings. A quick offer can make the difference.

Trust your Realtor’s knowledge of the market: If you are looking for a home in an area where you are likely to be competing with other buyers, putting in an offer can be a stressful experience, particularly if you are a first-time buyer.

An experienced Realtor can help you feel informed and confident through that process and can give you the knowledge you need to make an informed offer. 

As a Realtor who has helped hundreds of clients buy and sell in our city’s established central neighbourhoods, I can educate you about our city’s current market and recent asking and selling prices.

I can let you know, for example, when an asking price has been deliberately set low to attract multiple offers, or when an asking price seems excessive, and I can show you why. 

I can show you actual sales transactions and recent selling prices to help you feel confident in your offer. 

Benson blog JulyI’ve developed strategies to help my clients succeed in competitive situations, and I know the kinds of offers that are most appealing to sellers.

While we can’t win every competition, I’m proud of my track record. I also know from experience that if a client doesn’t get one property, it won’t be long before we can find something else just as appealing.

Don’t let emotion overrule your finances: As someone who has bought several properties, I understand that buying a home is an emotional thing, when we find a property that has everything we’ve dreamed of. But it’s also important when making your offer to keep within the budget you’ve set. No one enjoys getting a dream house and then feeling stretched financially beyond their means. You want a property you’ll love, but you also want to be able to enjoy it.

Consider other areas: As the Real Estate Board pointed out in its news release, It’s important to remember that while sellers in some areas of our city have been receiving multiple offers and have sold at higher than asking price, the majority of properties sold in June in our city went for the asking price or lower. That’s good news for buyers.

If you’re finding some areas are just a little too hot and competitive for your liking, we can direct you to properties and neighbourhoods where multiple offers are less likely.

If you’re interested in buying or selling in the Ottawa area, I’d love to hear from you and tell you more about the current Ottawa market and my background as a Realtor.

You can read about me and my team on my website, at www.nancybenson.com, where you can also view my current listings. 

Nancy Benson operates a full-service office at RE/MAX Hallmark Realty and specializes in unique homes in the most desirable neighbourhoods of Ottawa. Whether you're buying, selling, acquiring an investment or a secondary home, we have a system that will work for you. Feel free to give me a call, at 613-747-4747.

Benson July blog