Understanding The Home Buying Process

The home buying process involves a series of steps that generally take place over the course of two (2) to as much as eight (8) weeks and sometimes more. 

Steps To The Home Buying Process

During this time, the typical home buyer collects information about the area and its market conditions while building the confidence to make the decision to submit their first offer. 

Much of this is done on a subconscious level.


The steps in this process involve the following:

  • The clarification of needs and wants.
    This is the beginning stage and involves preliminary decisions such as the desired type of home, size, location, etc.

  • Seeking pre-approval from a lender in order to determine financial position.
    This is an important step as it sets the parameters of affordability and will determine what amount of mortgage a buyer can afford.

  • Exploring the market area in order to get a grasp on pricing.
    This important self educating step includes attending open houses, monitoring print publications, surfing real estate websites such as REALTOR.ca and viewing properties with their agent. During this step, Buyers gain valuable insight on current day pricing and begin to come to terms with what their money will buy.

  • Exploring the benefits of having certain home features and the involved costs associated with them (e.g. renovation expenses, appliance costs, heating and cooling costs, etc.).
    This step helps most buyers realize that there is a cost associated with almost everything in home buying and helps prepare them to add these considerations into their decision making process.

  • Deciding on a preferred neighbourhood and then obtaining knowledge about the area from locals.
    Often, potential buyers will consult with neighbours to gain valuable insight about the specific home of interest and the neighbourhood where it resides.


The knowledge gained by Buyers at the end of this process is this:

  • Buyers will have a grasp on how much of a mortgage they can reasonably afford.

  • Buyers will know what neighbourhood they would like to live in.

  • Buyers will have made decisions about specific requirements (size and style of home, number of bedrooms, lot size, etc.)

  • Buyers will have separated the features that are absolute "must haves" versus those that would be "nice to have" but are not essential to their purchase.

No two buyers are the same and every buyer has different buying criteria, however every buyer will have undergone the above home buying process to some degree and most, with the help of their real estate agent, will be armed with a detailed analysis of your home before they even show up.


It is important for you, as the seller of your home, to understand that all of the currently listed properties in your area or neighbourhood will have already been viewed and/or considered by a typical buyer even before they've made the decision to make an offer on your home.

Armed With Information About Local Real Estate

As is a sign of the times, Buyers today are armed with information about local real estate. 

Serious buyers interested in your specific neighbourhood will be willing to sit patiently waiting on new listings to come to market since all existing homes for sale in your area have already been ruled out, possibly even yours.


By now, you may be asking yourself why I am writing about the home buying process in my "Home Sellers" section. 

Well, as a seller of property, there is a valuable lesson to be learned from what I've written about on this page and it is this:

The first couple of weeks after listing your property and bringing it to market are the most critical in the life of your listing. This is the time when the most number of prepared buyers are going to see your home.

In order to take advantage of this critical period, you must be prepared.  Your home must show extremely well and be priced correctly in order to command immediate offers. 

The goal, after all, is to sell your home right?


Have you ever heard someone say "The first offer is often the best offer you will get?"


Like anything, there are always exceptions to every rule however the above statement is very often the truth. 

The offer received in that critical period when a listing is young is usually the most flexible and negotiable offer you will get.  The longer a listing is on the market, the more difficult it is to maintain a sense of urgency and command offers closer to list price. 


When buyers bring sellers an offer soon after a property is newly listed, buyers are often concerned of other offers coming in to steal away their intended purchase so they tend to make their offer more appealing so that terms are accepted more quickly.

Home Price Reductions

After a home sits for a while, you will tend to see lower offers coming in and you will also begin to see price reductions.  A stigma may even develop where buyers begin to notice that your home has been on the market for a long time and they will voice this by asking "What's wrong with this property?  Why has it been on the market for so long?  There must be something wrong with it."

To avoid this, it is critical that Sellers be prepared before they list and that they work with their agents to determine a reasonable and realistic list price that will attract buyers and sell the home quickly.


Understanding the home buying process is therefore a necessity for home sellers.  Buyers are armed and ready with information about your property. 

Unless you prepare and strategize for a quick sale, you may end up accepting much less for your property than you would have had you properly understood the home buying process.






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As an Ontario real estate professional, I take pride in serving my hometown of Cornwall and it's surrounding communities. These communities include, but are not limited to, those within Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry counties as follows: Alexandria, Apple Hill, Avonmore, Bainsville, Cardinal, Chesterville, Cornwall, Crysler, Dunvegan, Finch, Glen Walter, Green Valley, Hawkesbury, Ingleside, Iroquois, Lancaster, Long Sault, Lunenburg, Martintown, Maxville, Monkland, Moose Creek, Morrisburg, Newington, St. Albert, St. Andrews, Summerstown, Williamstown and Winchester.

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