Thinking of investing in Edmonton real estate? Start by reading these tips.

One of the largest purchases you'll make in your life, a home is an investment that can be both exciting and terrifying – whether you're buying a 600 square foot condo or a 5500 square foot manor. Get the help you need to make the most informed home-buying decisions.

And if you have questions that aren't answered here or would like to talk about your options as a homebuyer in today's real estate market in Edmonton, call Bev at (780) 445-8267.

Before you even start looking

Step one of the home buying process is not finding a REALTOR® or checking out It's ensuring you can afford to buy – without going mortgage broke. So, how much can you afford? That depends on your income, credit rating and expenses as well as your down-payment amount and your mortgage's interest rate.

Find out what you need to do to get started on the right foot.

Clean up your credit – A few months prior to trying to secure a mortgage, get a copy of your credit report and fix up the points that are problematic. Be sure not to run too many credit checks as multiple hits to your credit can actually bring it down.
Save! Putting $0 down on a mortgage is rarely a good idea and, if you're in a bidding war for a home, having no down payment may actually make you look unattractive to the sellers. So lay off on the lattes, rent movies instead of going out – and save at least 5%.
Commit to it – If you plan to move to Japan to teach or you're thinking of moving to Toronto for work, think twice before buying a home – even an investment home. Before you spend money on closing costs, be sure you're going to stick around to get your money's worth.

Then, get pre-approved for a mortgage so you know how much you can spend.

Build your wish list

You've heard it before: location, location, location. But how important is location? And how do you weigh location against your other wants, like 3 bedrooms, a large backyard or a finished basement?

Before you try to prioritize your needs & wants, list them all out. That means everything you want and everything your partner and/or family wants.

How to prioritize your wants & needs

Think about resale – Location matters for resale. Having a home in a great location will make your home easier to sell no matter what the future holds – whether the real estate market is hot or cool. Put location at the top of your list, and list out the neighborhoods you'd prefer to live in.
 Where do you spend your time? Do you watch a lot of TV, or do you spend more time cooking or playing boardgames in the kitchen? Wherever you like to be, buy a home that enhances that lifestyle. Rank high-quality spaces you love just below location.
Condo, side-by-side home or house? Do you work downtown and love traveling? A condo might suit your needs. Do you have kids or pets or plan on having either in the near future? A yard may be important for both pets and children. Keep your lifestyle in mind when making buying decisions.
Be honest about the things you love – No matter how great a home's location is, if your partner desperately wants a quiet garden to relax in, you shouldn't overlook that. The way you feel about a home that you plan to spend the next 3 years in is as important as the location.
 Stay flexible – Remember that your wish list is just that: a wish list. Your budget will truly determine which elements further down your list are possible in the current real estate market.

When you've made your list, keep it handy during your REALTOR® selection process. The right REALTOR® for you will help you determine how to get what you're looking for.

 Find your REALTOR®

The person who earns commission for helping you to sell your home really should earn that commission. Use either of these great methods to find a REALTOR® who will work for you and with you:

1.  Ask friends, family and coworkers to refer a great REALTOR®. Be sure, when you're having these conversations, to ask about their whole homebuying experience. It may take a unique skill set to meet your needs, so a generalist will not always work.
2. See what others are saying about REALTOR®s in your area. Check out rate-a-REALTOR® sites like to find starred ratings and full reviews – written by former clients of local REALTOR®s.

Start home shopping

After defining your budget & wish list for your REALTOR®, begin the fun part: actually looking at pre-selected homes. To ensure you remember the details of each home, don't try to see too many homes each day – stick to a maximum of seven homes each day.

With your wish list in mind, assess each home.

How to rate the homes you view

Use your digital camera or camera phone to take a photo of each home – starting with the house number so it's easier to remember which house is which
Have a notepad handy and actively take notes, including comments about the location, schools in the area, proximity to shopping & public transportation, issues with the home and great features of the home Go ahead and rate the house when you leave, with 10 indicating that you're serious about the property and would like a second viewing Review your notes with your partner or family after the viewings are complete. Get serious about it Go back to those homes you rated as 10s, and see if they're still at the top of your list. Depending on the state of the real estate market, you may not have the luxury of waiting very long on a home that really wows you – so prepare yourself to act quickly, when necessary, to get the home (and investment) you want. Then, make an offer. Consider these points when writing up your offer: Your best price – this is as high as you will go, so don't start with it unless you are in a bidding war and have discussed doing so with your REALTOR® Comparable prices for comparable homes that have sold recently in the area Length of time the property has been on the market, motivation of the seller and whether it is a buyers' or a sellers' market Additional terms, such as sharing closing costs, covering maintenance/homeowners' association fees or providing a home warranty Be prepared to negotiate price, terms, occupancy date, included extras in the purchase and more. However, speak to your REALTOR® and/or legal representation before writing an offer that does not include a house inspection.