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Spotlight: 4 steps every home buyer shouldn’t overlook

Why sales data and real estate trends just aren’t enough when deciding on a home

It’s a busy time of year for home buyers in Guelph. Statistically, April and May are the largest sales volume months on the real estate calendar. But, despite the bump in sales activity, this doesn’t necessarily mean that prices increase as well.

So, How’s the Guelph housing market doing this year?

While the first three months were relatively flat, April showed an increase in sales that boosted the year to date to +3% versus 2018. Total dollar sales (the total of all homes sold added together) has increased by 8% versus 2018 but still -20% from the peak of 2017.

Interestingly, the average price of a home in Guelph has increased to a record high in the first four months of 2019 versus prior years, which includes 2017. Most of this growth continues to come from the highly competitive $600,000-$700,000 segments and along with more money being spent in the condo market.

As a buyer, what does all of this mean?

Sure, sales data and real estate trends can give you direction and guidance on things like what to offer on a house, which neighbourhoods to consider or how much you can negotiate. These analytics provided by a Realtor® offer tangible information that removes the element of emotional decision making and could result in significant savings.

But there are a few other considerations that every home buyer shouldn’t overlook before making an offer on a home. Here are the top four:

  1. Talk to your bank or mortgage agent now: Lately, offers to buy a house are made conditionally on the buyer being able to obtain financing. Often the first time the bank sees a buyer is once the offer has already been made. Consider visiting your bank early on in the process in order to avoid a potentially embarrassing position later if you find out you can’t get the finances to purchase the home.

  2. Complete a home inspection on the home you’re considering: In some highly competitive situations, some buyers may choose to forgo a home inspection to make their offer more attractive to the seller. If you have time before submitting your offer, consider a pre-inspection. This simply means that you get a home inspection prior to submitting an offer so that you already understand any concerns the inspection may turn up. Although you’re spending money before even putting an offer in, it may be well worth it.

  3. Don’t stress about cosmetic touches or design choices: Some buyers don’t have a vision when looking at homes - this not uncommon. There are buyers who will turn down a home that meets all the physical criteria because they can’t see past differences in décor (think carpet and wall colour). A little labour and paint are inexpensive and you can do this after you move in. There are better deals to be had for buyers who can see past the small stuff and are willing to put in a little work upon ownership.

  4. Work with a Realtor who knows the area: Neighbourhood trends, school districts, walkability and local amenities are tough to change later – this is why it’s best to get your location right the first time around. Work with a Guelph Realtor® who knows the areas you’re considering and can provide you with more information than simply recent comparable sales. It’s recommended that you meet a few local Realtors® when making a decision to buy a home to understand their strategies, insights and compatibility with you as a home buyer.

Beth and Ryan Waller are sales representatives with Home Group Realty. They’d love to hear from you! You can reach them by visiting or emailing [email protected].