Buying a home in Surrey or another community in Greater Vancouver? Here are five tips I share with all my clients to help make the house-hunt much easier and more enjoyable.

1. Write Your Wish List

At the start of your house hunt create a list of all your “must have” features in your dream home; these are items you will not compromise on. Create a second list of all the “bonus” features that would be nice to find but are not deal breakers.

For example, your must haves may include at least 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms while your bonus features may include a fenced backyard and granite kitchen countertops.

I often suggest to my clients that the bonus features are items that are somewhat easy to install post purchase (like adding a fence) or items that are easy to change post purchase (like upgrading to granite countertops). Must have features are typically difficult or costly to install such as adding a fourth bedroom to a small house or reworking plumbing to add a second bathroom. Remember, paint color and finishes are easy to change but structural features are more time and resource consuming to change.

2. Decide on Location

Another important decision to make early on is the neighborhood(s) you are interested in buying into. This will help to shorten the list of potential houses to look at as well as make sure you buy into a location that is close to work, schools, commuting access and amenities.

The location will also influence the budget you will need to obtain a house that meets all the items on your wish list or help you create a more realistic wish list to get into your desired neighborhood while staying within your budget.

3. Do Your Research

Thanks to the Internet all Surrey houses for sale are listed online for potential buyers to see. Before starting your house hunt sit down at your computer and view houses on the market in your desired neighborhood(s). This will help you get an idea of what is available and what you can expect to pay.

Online pictures and virtual tours can often help you narrow down the selection and help you decide if the house is worth your time to visit in person … but you shouldn’t always judge a book by its cover. Being inside the actual house can stir up positive or negative emotions towards the space that are not always experienced when looking at the picture or taking the virtual tour.

Use Google Maps to find where the house is located, determine commuting times to places you visit often and discover nearby amenities. Google Maps is an excellent tool to make sure the neighborhood is right for you particularly if you are new to the community.

4. Let Your Realtor Help

Your realtor’s goal is to help you find the right home that meets all your requirements. During your house-hunt be honest with your realtor and give feedback about features of the house that you like and don’t like. As you visit more houses your realtor will get a better idea of what you are looking for and can lead you to houses that have the most potential.

5. Be Ready To Make An Offer

Don’t be surprised when you find the perfect home during your house-hunt. When this happens you need to be prepared to make an offer; this includes being pre-approved for a mortgage. If your current condo, townhouse or house has not sold make sure you have your finances ready to handle two mortgages for a short period or to make an offer subject to sale. The good homes always sell fast – as they say, “If you sleep on it, you might not sleep in it!”

Make house hunting easy with the Free Sutton BC Homes Search Tool – search by neighborhood, price range, bedrooms, bathrooms and property type!