Spring has finally sprung, and we’ve come to the end of the first quarter of 2021. This year has already proven to be an extremely busy one in the Saskatoon Real Estate Market.
We are commonly asked the same question by many of our clients:
“We’re ready to start looking to buy a new home...what are the next steps we should take?”
So we thought we would take some time to go over the initial steps you need to take in the house hunting process. But first, let's quickly go over the stats that were just released from March. One thing to keep in mind when looking at these stats, is that in March of last year we experienced the beginning of the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Saskatoon Market Statistics - March 2021
Last month, there were 570 sales, which is +297 more sales compared to March of 2020.
There were +926 new listings posted to the MLS in March, which is up +53.8% for the month compared to 324 new listings in March of 2020.
There were 1278 active listings in Saskatoon as of April 5th, 2021. 639 are single family homes, and 639 are condos. Out of the 639 single family homes, 401 are on the eastside and 238 are on the westside.
Home prices are up +7.34% compared to this time last year. The average sale price is $356,505.
All of these stats demonstrate what a busy market we are currently experiencing. So, if you’re ready to buy a new home in this market, you need to be aware of what your next steps should be.
Did you know, when you work with us to purchase a home, you will not need to pay any fees for our services on the purchase. The home seller actually pays the full commission for the services of both their own listing agent and the buyer's agent.
Ok, so what is the first step in the house hunting process?
Step 1 - Get Pre-approved
We often have clients come to us who are ready to buy a new home and they may have arbitrarily chosen a maximum purchase price. But this number isn’t always based on what they can afford or what they might actually be approved for.
So we highly recommend getting pre-approved for a mortgage before you even start your house hunt. This will help you determine your price range of homes you should be targeting in your search.
Your lender will look at your income, your debts and the cash you have available for a down payment. You will have to provide documentation to prove your income and credit history. Based on this information your lender will be able to advise you on your maximum purchase price. But you should also discuss with them, what that purchase price looks like as a monthly payment, and what you are realistically comfortable spending every month.
Your lender will provide you with a mortgage pre-approval in writing (it will likely be valid for 90 or 120 days) and will generally include an interest rate guarantee.
Step 2 - Refine your wishlist
Taking the time to identify what your needs and wants are is a critical step in the house hunting process.
Distinguishing between what is must-have, and what is a nice-to-have will help you narrow down your search and help you to determine which is the right house to put an offer on.
Step 3 - Start the search online
Starting to explore listings online can help you adjust your expectations on what you might actually get in a home within your price point in the current market.
Once you have determined your budget and wishlist for your ideal home search, we will set you up with an auto-email. This is a customized search of the entire MLS database for listings that match your criteria. Once the system finds a listing that matches your criteria, you will receive an email with a link to your own personal portal to view the listing data. This will ensure that you are notified immediately when a matching property comes on the market so that you won’t risk missing out on the perfect home.
We have also developed relationships over the years with an extensive network of seller's agents in Saskatoon. We are always keeping an eye out for homes that might work for you, even if they haven’t hit the market yet.
You can also start looking at listings online for yourself.
Realtor.ca is a website owned and managed by the Canadian Real Estate Association. The website allows you to search for available properties for sale directly from the MLS. It is good to note that the realtor.ca website is usually a day or two behind what’s happening in the market, so you are better off getting listings sent to you directly from us, but it can still be a good tool to explore what’s available in the market.
On our website, www.taitrealestate.ca we have a great MLS listing search tool that is super easy to use and includes a lot more information than what you’ll find on realtor.ca.
Step 4 - Start viewing in person
Now that you know your budget, you’ve defined your wishlist, and you’ve done your research on what to expect from the current market, you are in the best position to start viewing homes more seriously.
A property can look perfect on paper, and you can be lured in by the glossy photos, but you won’t really know if it's the right home for you until you check it out in person.
Once you’ve identified some listings that you think match your wishlist, we will contact the selling agents directly to set up appointments for us to view the homes. To view a listing in person, you have to be accompanied by a licensed Realtor. This is your opportunity to get a feel for the neighbourhood, the location, and ask any questions you might have about the property.