The photos online enticed you and you booked a showing that evening with your Realtor. You race over to your dream home after work, certain that this is the one.

Through the stunning doorway, you are welcomed by a spacious, light entryway leading to a huge great room – who wouldn’t want to curl up in front of that stone-fronted fireplace! And those majestic stairs leading to the bedrooms – and wait . . . oh, my. . .  is that a giant soaker tub and separate glass-walled shower in the ensuite?

“I’m in love . . .  where do I sign?”

Hold up! Your heart is beating and you’re already planning where to place your big screen. Not so fast.

Hunting for the “Mr. or Ms. Right” home may sometimes feel like speed dating. But don’t feel pressured to make a decision quickly. You need to keep a cool head on your shoulders and trust the experienced person next to you who’s been on a few too many dates with properties that didn’t end that well.

Ask a LOT of questions!

Your Realtor has the experience and education to guide you to find the right home for you. They don’t want you to regret a decision made in haste — when you wake up the next morning after a night of reveling in new homeowner bliss to discover the home you placed an offer on is looking more like a frog than a prince.

If you view a property and sparks fly, that’s great, but now is the time to get to know that property a little better before falling head-over-heels. Here’s a checklist of things to consider:

  • Have you been pre-approved? So many relationships with properties end when offers collapse due to financing.
  • Don’t just look at the positives, but also examine the negatives – can you live with those? Maybe it’s not quite in your preferred neighbourhood. Perhaps it doesn’t have the potential to grow with your family – as you’d discussed with your Realtor as something that was important to you. Look at all the pros AND cons.
  • Your Realtor should help you examine other active and sold listings in the area. How long has this property been on the market? Is the price reasonable? What are market conditions?
  • What is the potential for investment in this property? Is this a forever home or a fine-for-now home?

If you decide to make an offer on a home, remember that it’s just the first step. The home isn’t yours until you have a key ring on your finger. Next steps:

  • Research the property! Your Realtor will help gather municipal documents and any permits taken out on the property and help you delve into its history. No of us want to deal with someone else’s baggage.
  • Check the title and property disclosure statement in detail. Investigate any red flags.
  • Are there bylaw, strata documents or park rules you can examine before committing to an offer?
  • Is the property on septic? Or is there a possibility that there’s a hidden oil tank or other latent defect?
  • Book an inspection. Even new homes may have their hidden flaws!

Let a real estate expert lead you down the aisle to homeowner bliss.  Place your trust in them and you’re sure to find the right property to fall in love with.