Thank goodness for the Internet and social media! All the properties on sale are right there, on the screen. What a great way to save time! However, you will quickly realize that, even though you are using keywords, the choices are countless. You cannot sort them all. With or without the Internet, you will need to structure your property search.
The first question you need to ask yourself, and this will become your prime selection criteria, is the following: Why do you want to buy a property? The answer might seem obvious, but it is an illusion. Several reasons push you to look for a new property. For some of you, those reasons are essential, and for others they are secondary. We have already written on this subject. We encourage you to read the following article.
Main steps for property search
The answer to the first question will allow you, from the beginning, to eliminate a ton of properties and better narrow your search. In addition, it will take you straight to the next question: What type of property do you want? If you answered the first question frankly, this second question should be easier to answer.
Third question: What do you want to avoid at all costs? Think about the one thing you will not compromise on or that would make your life miserable, like maintaining a backyard, for example.
Fourth question: What is a property’s asset that you absolutely need to live comfortably? What is essential to your happiness? Perhaps it is living next to a big park.
Then, ask yourself these following questions: Where do you want to live? How much are you willing to pay? How many rooms do you want?
You will avoid the pitfalls that many homeowners encounter by following this approach. For example, buying a home located in the middle of a forest because you want to live in nature, but end up feeling depressed because there is no horizon. The trees are too close to offer any broad view. Or buying a nice big house, but end up feeling depressed because you feel lonely and lost. Or buying a property in a rural area once you are retired, but end up feeling depressed because you have to rush back to Montréal once a week to take care of your parents or a sibling who fell ill. Or buying a condo unit, but end up feeling depressed because you have to repeat the same sentence every day when you run into a co-owner to stay courteous and polite. The approach we have just described is that of the inverted pyramid. Each question that you answer helps you eliminate the homes you are less interested in while narrowing your search to the home that will best suit your needs. Its only drawback: it hinders your ability to see other possibilities that may be worthwhile, which is, let us face it, not a tragedy in itself.
If you are the exploring type and patience is one of your virtues, use the diamond approach. At first, you broaden the scope of your search. Then, give yourself a deadline to end that property search to start using the inverted pyramid approach. This is called keeping an open mind.
Here’s a tip: real estate agencies’ websites and social media are great places to start your property search, but nothing beats walking around a neighbourhood. And do not forget, if someone knows an area like the back of his/her hand, it is the real estate broker. He/she may even know when a new property will go on sale, and no one else will know except you.