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It may seem outrageous to buy a house you’ve never stepped foot in, but it happens far more often than you think. For some people, it’s something they’d only do out of sheer necessity, including military relocations or transferring from another city or province for work. Others have a taste for adventure and will pick up and move for the opportunity to see a part of Canada they’ve never experienced. Ottawa is a popular destination for new residents because of its world-class amenities, stable economy, and cultural attractions.

Buying from out of province can be one of the most exciting events of your life, but it can also be nerve-wracking. Choosing the best housing option for your lifestyle can be tricky when you can’t even visit the house in person.

How do people do it? Here are a few tips for making a successful purchase sight unseen from a different province.

Decide on Your Location

If there’s one thing to be grateful for when it comes time to move, it’s the Internet. This has been a game changer for home buyers everywhere, especially when purchasing from out of province. The first step in a successful move is deciding on the right location. Do you want to be close to work? Do you prefer to be within walking distance of all major amenities or on a bus route? 

Simply open up Google Maps, and you can see where everything is from your computer or smartphone. Type in the address of the home you’re considering and your desired point of interest. You can see at a glance whether it’s a 10-minute drive, an hour’s drive, or a 20-minute walk. You can see if there are tolls on the route and what traffic conditions are like.

Once you decide on a city or town, you can look up all amenities, the best restaurants, favourite parks, entertainment opportunities, and shopping destinations. You could even use Google Earth to take a virtual tour to see the highlights of your new neighbourhood. 

What Type of House Do You Want?

When buying sight unseen, you don’t need to worry about the paint colour or surface appearances. All of those are easily and inexpensively changed. Instead, focus on the overall structure of the house and whether it has the features you require. Listing everything you need and want in your new home is an excellent way to narrow your search. For example:

  • How many bedrooms do you need?
  • How many bathrooms?
  • Do you like an open-concept layout?
  • Do you want a low-maintenance townhouse or condo, or a fully detached house?
  • What school district do you want to live in?
  • How quickly do you need your new home?
  • How much time and money are you willing to invest in renovations?

The more detailed you can be with your list of needs and wants, the more likely your new home will meet and exceed your expectations.

Want to know more about finding the right home in or near Ottawa? Check out some of our other recent posts:

Virtual Visits for Out-of-Town Buyers

One positive thing that came from the global pandemic is that it forever changed the way potential buyers can view homes they are interested in. Modern technology has made it easier than ever to examine a property from anywhere in the world. 3D virtual tours let you see every room in such detail that it is almost like being there in person. It’s a massive improvement over trying to make a decision by studying a flat floor plan!

Legalities to Consider

Buying from out of region can be slightly more complicated from a legal perspective. Keep in mind that you must use a real estate lawyer in the province that you are buying in. For example, if you live in Newfoundland but wish to purchase in West Ottawa, your lawyer must be based out of Ontario.

In terms of financing your new home, your primary obstacle is employment. You can get pre-approved with any Canadian financing company. Still, your final approval depends heavily on your employment status and credit history remaining unchanged. For remote workers, this isn’t a problem. 

However, if you are resigning from your current position to move, it could impact your ability to obtain funding. Adding a condition of financing to your offer will help protect you from breaching an agreement if you run into complications. In a busy seller’s market, placing conditions might hurt your chances of submitting a winning offer. However, it is one way to protect yourself from ending up with a house that is not what you bargained for.

Do you plan to sell your current home before buying? Here are some tips that will help in the current market:

Work With a Local Real Estate Agent

Working with a local agent when buying a new home is always advantageous. However, this local expertise becomes even more essential when purchasing from another province. Your agent will alert you to any problems that might arise and find solutions long before they become a source of stress to you. When you find a local agent you trust, they can become your eyes and ears to help ensure your brand-new home is everything you dreamed of. 

Have you considered transferring to the Ottawa area from another province or city? We have served the West Ottawa region for over 45 years and are happy to tell you all about the joy of living here! Reach out today by email or calling 613-690-5993