The Complete Guide to House Hunting in Saskatoon

The Complete Guide to House Hunting in Saskatoon

Searching for the perfect home

The most fun part of the home buying experience is definitely the house hunt! The process of hunting for your dream house or condo in Saskatoon can be divided into four steps. 

  1. Refining your wishlist

  2. Assembling your support system

  3. Searching online

  4. Searching in person

Check out each of the steps below in our complete guide to house hunting in Saskatoon:


Wishlist


Step 1 – Refine your Wishlist

Have you taken the time to think about what you want in your ideal home? 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. 


We suggest that you take the time to consider the list of questions below:

  • What is the budget you are able to work within for your new home? (If you haven’t yet been pre-approved for financing, we suggest that you read our Ultimate Guide to Home Financing before starting your house hunt)

  • What neighbourhoods are you interested in searching within?

  • Does the age of the home matter to you? For example, are you looking for a brand new build that no one else has lived in, or do you prefer an older home with lots of character?

  • Are you looking for a move-in ready home, or are you willing and able to do some upgrading?

  • What style of home are you looking for (Example: bi-level/ bungalow/ 2 storey)?

  • What size of home would you ideally want (Square Footage)?

  • How many bedrooms do you need? Do they all need to be on the same floor, or can they be spread out on different levels?

  • How many bathrooms do you need?

  • Are you looking for any other types of rooms (gym, home office, bonus room, theatre, sun room)?

  • Do you have a preference on flooring (carpet, hardwoods, tiles, laminate etc..)

  • Are there any special features in your kitchen you are looking for? (appliances, countertops, cabinets etc.)

  • What are you looking for in an outdoor space? Do you prefer low maintenance, or room to create your perfect garden oasis?

  • Do you have a preference on the orientation of the home (direction home faces)?

  • Have you thought about your heating and cooling preferences? (Central heating, air conditioning, fireplaces, in-floor heat)

  • Do you need a garage? Would you prefer it to be an attached or detached garage?

  • Do you need other storage for large recreational items (boat or RV storage)?

  • Do you need additional space in a basement? Do you need the basement to be developed or have a basement suite to be able to generate additional income?

Unfortunately, it is very unlikely that you will find a home that has every single feature you are looking for that also fits within your budget. Being able to compromise is a big part of the house hunting process. Typically, you will end up having to choose between price, size, location, and finishes. Knowing what’s most important to you in a home will help you make your final decision. 


Support System

Step 2 – Assemble your support system

Purchasing a house or condo is one of the biggest decisions of your life. You want to have a team of qualified people supporting you throughout the whole process. You’ll want to start by picking an experienced and qualified Real Estate Agent in Saskatoon who works exclusively for you. 


When you work with Tait Real Estate to find your home, you will not need to pay any fees for our services on the purchase. Real Estate Agents are paid by commission. The home seller pays the full commission for the services of both their own listing agent and the buyer's agent. 


You’ll also need to choose a mortgage lender to take you through your financing options, and a lawyer to help with the legal aspects of the purchase. There are hundreds of choices out there (of varying quality), so do your research and don’t be afraid to interview multiple people. Take a look at our list of preferred partners - https://taitrealestate.ca/our-partners.html

Online Search

Step 3 – The search begins online

Once you have determined your wishlist for your ideal home search, your Realtor 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. 


At Tait Real Estate, Jamie and Ross have developed relationships over the years with an extensive network of seller's agents in Saskatoon. They are always keeping an eye out for homes that might work for you, even if they haven’t yet hit the market.


You can also search for listings yourself online as well.  Here are best resources for online house hunting:

  • Tait Real Estate home search tool – Of course we’re a bit biased, but our MLS listing search tool is super easy to use and includes a lot more information than what you’ll find on realtor.ca. Click here to check it out.

  • Realtor.ca - is a website owned and managed by the Canadian Real Estate Association. All licensed Realtors have access to the MLS (multiple listing services) which is where selling agents will post their listings. 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 your agent, but it can still be a good tool to explore what’s available in the market.

Here are some tips we’ve gathered over the years for your online house hunt:

  • Expect the unexpected. Be sure to keep an open mind and expect to be surprised. Photos can be misleading as to what the house looks like in real life. Remember that a photo can’t capture things like strong odors, or loud noises. Also, photographers know how to capture a home in its best light, and can minimize the look of wear and tear and negative features.

  • Read between the lines. Sometimes descriptions can be written with a flair for the dramatic, so you need to be able to read between the lines. ‘Ready to put your decorator touch on it’ means it's probably fairly run down and needs a lot of upgrading. 

  • List price isn’t always market price. Remember that the asking price can be very different from the sale price. Just because they are asking that price for the home, doesn't mean it reflects the true market value. It's always best to have your agent give you an analysis of a home, in order to determine what the market price should be, or how hot the market is. Depending on the state of the market the home might sell for more than asking price.

  • Be condo savvy. If you’re in the market for a condo, you will want to take note of the condo fees. What’s included in the condo fees varies from building to building, so it isn’t always easy to compare condos. A property with a lower condo fee might still mean more monthly costs if it doesn’t include things like heat and electricity. You should also ask about the reserve fund with the condo board that you should review with your lawyer, to hopefully protect against surprise costs in the future. 

  • Know your terminology. The real estate industry is used to using lots of acronyms. Take some time to learn how to read an MLS listing, and when in doubt contact Jamie or Ross for help. 

Home search

Step 4 – Check it out for yourself

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 online that you think match your wishlist, your Realtor will set up appointments to view the homes. This is your opportunity to get a feel for the neighbourhood, the location, and ask any questions you might have about the property. Sometimes what you thought you wanted on your wishlist, isn’t exactly what you end up choosing once you see a home in person. Most often, people will walk into a home and just have a good feeling about it. 


To view a listing in person, you have to be accompanied by your real estate agent, or you can attend a public open house. Keep in mind that not all properties will have open houses, or they will only have one or two when the property is first listed, so it's best to work with your real estate agent to set up private viewings. 


Here are some tips we’ve gathered over the years for checking out homes in person:

  • Check out the neighbourhood. Take some time to explore the neighbourhood. Drive around. Take a walk or bike ride. Locate the closest schools, parks, restaurants and grocery stores. Check out the homes around the one you are looking at and maybe even check out the neighbours. Make a point of going to a store, cafe, or park in the area and ask the locals some questions about the neighbourhood.

  • Experience the negative features. Every home and neighbourhood has a few negative features. You should make sure to plan to experience them in person. Is the home of your dreams near the railroad tracks? It’s probably a good idea to check out the house when the trains are running. Thinking of buying near an event centre, or public park? Make a plan to check it out when there is an event going on and see how it affects parking, safety, etc..

  • Check it out at different times. A home is always going to look better when the sun is shining through the windows, but it’s important to get a feel for the home and the neighbourhood during the day AND at night. 

  • Wear the right shoes. I know this seems trivial, but seriously, you’ll be taking your shoes on and off multiple times, so save yourself the hassle of lace-up shoes. We would also suggest wearing socks in case the floors are cold, or less than perfectly clean. 

  • Take notes and photos. If you are planning to view multiple properties, it's a good idea to take notes of the features of each one that you visit. It’s amazing how easy it is to forget the specific features of a home once you’ve seen a few.

  • Look past the yuck. We are occasionally surprised to see the state of cleanliness and organization in some of the homes we view. You need to keep in mind that you will be able to put your own touch on the property, and a little elbow grease or a qualified cleaning professional can go a long way.  You shouldn’t let someone else's crazy decorating, outdated tastes and lack of housekeeping get in the way of finding your perfect home in Saskatoon. 

  • You aren’t buying their stuff. We see this all the time. Buyers can get turned off, or swayed into purchasing a property simply by the interior furnishings. You need to remember that the home likely doesn’t come furnished, and you will be moving in your own stuff. So if you love or hate the home because it's been beautifully staged, or you hate their furniture, take a minute and try to imagine the space with your furniture and style. 

How can Tait Real Estate can help you in your house hunt:


Knowledge & Experience


Jamie and Ross have over 35 years in combined real estate and residential construction experience.  In addition to being a REALTOR, Jamie Tait is a certified Red Seal Journeyman Carpenter. He graduated from SAIT (Southern Alberta Institute of Technology) and started his career in residential and commercial construction before getting his Real Estate license.

 

Ross Tait has over 25 years of experience in general contracting and home renovations and has a keen eye for detail. They are both able to confidently guide you through your house hunt and identify properties with the greatest opportunity for ROI (Return on Investment). 


An Extensive Network 


At Tait Real Estate, Jamie and Ross have developed relationships over the years with an extensive network of seller's agents in Saskatoon. They are always keeping an eye out for any homes that might work for you, even if they haven’t yet hit the market.


A Supportive Partner in the Journey


We are happy to be your house-hunting partner and will work around YOUR schedule. We will help you to determine your wishlist, assist you in your home search, and get you access to private viewings of homes that are on the market, or even some that aren’t. We are happy to answer any questions along the way, and advise you on the whole house hunting process. Remember, buyers don’t pay any Realtor fees.


Contact us


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