While Ottawa's real estate market remains more balanced than some other large Canadian cities, increasing condo sales and a tightening inventory of available homes means that, in many Ottawa neighbourhoods, sellers will have the advantage in real estate negotiations. If you are interested in making a purchase in such a market, it is especially important to work with an experienced real estate professional whose negotiation skills and local knowledge will give you an edge as a buyer.
Getting the home you want can be a challenge in a competitive real estate environment, but there are still things you can do to put yourself in a favourable negotiating position and to make your offer attractive to a seller:
Arrange Financing in Advance
Setting up mortgage financing before you start house-hunting will give you a leg-up on the competition. Mortgage pre-approval shows sellers that you are a serious buyer, prepared to make a purchase. Nonetheless, you should take the time to shop around for the best pre-approval terms you can find. Ideally, your pre-approval agreement will include a favourable interest rate, a long rate-hold period (up to 120 days), and other terms that will serve you over the life of your mortgage (including good policies on prepayment, porting, and refinancing). Not all lenders will meet these criteria. If you don't already have a relationship with a mortgage provider, your real estate representative should be able to refer you to reputable lenders.
Shape a Persuasive Offer
In a seller's market, you'll likely have only one chance to make an offer of purchase. Remember that the negotiating power is largely in the hands of the seller, so it is your job to make your initial offering as attractive as possible. Your real estate representative can help you to shape an offer that includes a good offer price, a strong down payment, and other terms that will demonstrate to the seller that your offer is serious and you will be a reliable negotiating partner.
Accommodate Where You Can
Keeping the conditional period of the agreement short and accommodating the seller's preferred closing date are among the ways you can make your offer attractive. Your real estate representative can help you to think creatively about other ways to appeals to the seller's interests.
Cooler Heads Prevail
Purchasing a home can be an emotional process, and in a seller's market, it can be especially easy to get caught up in the stress and locked into a competitive mindset. Remember to keep your budget and goals in mind, even if you end up in a multiple-offer situation (a.k.a., a biding war). The important thing is to get the home you want at terms that will make sense for you and your family over the long-haul.
An experienced real estate representative will help you to make the best decision possible in any real estate market.