As March turns into April, the Canadian real estate market can catch spring fever. First-time homebuyers face intrinsic challenges when it comes to house-hunting during peak home-buying season. There’s plenty of competition from other buyers as well as more deadline pressure.

But there’s a reason for that: buying and moving in spring/summer ensures better weather and provides breathing room for kids to settle in before starting at a new school. It also gives you all summer to feather your nest… if you can beat out others vying for the same starter home. Want to get an edge on the competition? Read on for our top strategies for house-hunting during peak home-buying season.

Strategy #1: Hire a professional Realtor

If you don’t already have a real estate agent or Realtor, find one, pronto! A pro can help you narrow your search to the best neighbourhoods for your budget and lifestyle.

Local real estate professionals know the finer points of different neighbourhoods, so you don’t waste time chasing bad leads such as a cute row-house on a street known for its history of termite infestations, or hoping for a $400,000 house in a community where prices have started at $600,000 for the past five years.

Realtors and agents can fire up your search by emailing you pertinent listings right after they hit the market. A quick eye during spring house hunting can give you an advantage over other homebuyers who are surfing Realtor.ca or other real estate websites on their own.

Strategy #2: Use social media for PR and research

First-time homebuyers are twice as likely than other homebuyers to include social media in their home search. While it doesn’t replace the expertise of a Realtor, social media is a valid tool.

Use social media networks for public relations: Serious about finding your first home? Launch your own PR blitz. Spread the word on Facebook that you’re looking, and in what neighbourhoods. You could get solid sales leads via family and friends (and friends of friends!).

For research: Twitter and YouTube provide valuable insights into a neighbourhood culture, helping you decide if it’s right for you. Wondering how family-friendly a particular street is? Google it, and you may find a trove of tweets and YouTube videos of its legendary Halloween Pumpkin Parades.

Strategy #3: Get mortgage pre-approval

It goes without saying that in any market, particularly a competitive one, you need to be pre-approved for a mortgage. Sellers won’t wait for a prospective bidder without mortgage pre-approval when there are plenty of other bidders out there with their financing buttoned down.

Consider a mortgage broker and get your ducks in order so that when you jump in with an offer, you’re doing so with both feet.

Strategy #4: Line up your real estate support team

In addition to your Realtor and mortgage broker, it’s important to have other key real estate pros in your corner so you’re ready to move fast the moment you decide to put in an offer on a home.

Securing these pros ahead of time will ensure you’re not scrambling during peak home-buying season. Your team should include a:

Use word of mouth recommendations from trusted friends and family, or ask your Realtor for their recommendations.

  • Spring is the busiest time of year for the Canadian real estate market. If you’re new to the country and eager to buy your first home, you’ll find the widest selection in spring. But don’t wait till May! Start your journey to homeownership now. Here’s how to get a head…
  • Move over, summer real estate market: An increasing number of Canadians, including first-time homebuyers, are turning to winter house hunting. Here are five reasons why the off-season may be the most magical time of the year…to buy your first home! 1. There’s less competition Between travel, holiday planning, end-of-year demands…
  • Did you know that the majority of first-time homebuyers are Millennials? That’s right; Canadians born between 1980 and 1995 now represent a full 77 per cent of first-time homebuyers. Here are our five top tips for first-time homebuyers.
  • Multiple-offer scenarios are a fact of life in hot real estate markets like Vancouver and Toronto. If you are a first-time homebuyer, it’s worth preparing a bidding war battle plan to improve your odds of getting the home you want – without pushing past your affordability threshold. Here are five…
  • In a competitive real estate market, first-time homebuyers must leverage any advantage they can get. Cities like Toronto and Vancouver may be particularly tough to crack – but it can be done. Here are five surprising ways to house-hunt like a pro. Pro strategy No. 1: House-hunt on a statutory…
  • Winter may be the least active real estate season, but it can yield benefits for house hunters. Here’s how winter house hunting can lead to a great deal.

Achieve the homeownership dream sooner