First Time Home Buyer Archives - Shaunna McIntosh

5 Steps to Buying Your First Home in Ottawa   As a young adult, buying your first home can be an exciting and challenging process. With many different factors to take into account, such as preferred location, price range and desired amenities, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. However, armed with the right knowledge and preparation,...

What are the top 8 most common first time home buyer mistakes, and how can you avoid making them?

Are you a first time home buyer in the Ottawa area and are thinking about dipping your feet into the world of real estate investing. But you feel overwhelmed and feel like there is just so much to know?

Well if so, stick around because in this first time home buyer blog series I am going to be going over the 8 common first time home buyer mistakes, and how you can avoid making them. In this post I will be going through mistakes number 1 through 4, but be sure to check out the second post in this series to learn mistakes number 5-8. Also, be sure to check out the Youtube video below!

If we haven’t met already, my name is Shaunna McIntosh and I am a top producing real estate broker who helps first time buyers navigate the ever-changing Ottawa real estate market.


First time home buyer mistake number 1 is probably one of the most common mistakes that first time home buyers make, and that is to start shopping for homes without already having a mortgage pre-approval. Imagine you start going out to see properties and finally find the home of your dreams. But then, you remember that you don’t have your mortgage pre-approval yet. And just like that, you can see your perfect home slipping right through your fingertips as if in slow motion. Or imagine you do finally go and get the pre-approval and you are short by 20 or 50k – that would be the worst!

Instead, make sure that you have a mortgage pre-approval before starting your home search. This will save you lots of heartache in the long run and will ensure that you are viewing properties that you can actually afford to buy.

First time home buyer mistakes


You don’t commit to working with one Realtor exclusively. Often times first time home buyers will be worried about committing to one real estate agent. They think that if they are working with multiple agents that they will have a higher chance of finding a good deal or more homes. Well this simply isn’t true.. Most successful agents can smell a flaky buyer from a mile away and as soon as they feel like you’re talking to a bunch of other agents, they are going to stop investing their time into you. 

The best analogy I can think of is dating. Imagine you’ve been dating someone for a few months and you are investing a ton of time into getting to know their wants and needs and taking them out on dates and all of a sudden you find out they are talking to a bunch of other people. Well, you would likely lose interest and you will stop investing your time into them. Same concept here. It’s a 2-way street. 

Instead, find an agent that you trust and who is showing up consistently. Answering all of your questions and is just genuinely showing you that they care about your real estate goals and COMMIT. In the long term, this person will be way more likely to go to bat for you. And will fight for you when the going gets tough because they know that you are also committed to working with them.


First time home buyer mistake number 3 kind of ties into the last point and that is that you only reach out the listing agents of the homes that you like instead of having your own buyer agent represent your needs. Now, without going too far into the legalities of buyer and seller representation, I will just say that generally a listing agent’s interest aligns with the Seller’s, and that is to get the seller as much money as possible for the sale of their home. Which is the opposite goal of most buyers – to buy the home for as little money as possible. 

So instead, hire your own buyer’s agent who will work in your best interest, not the sellers.


You maxed out your pre-approval without taking into consideration how much you can actually afford to spend on a monthly basis on your home carrying costs. People often forget that when you buy a home, the mortgage is not the only ongoing monthly cost. There are also property taxes, insurance, utilities and the cost to maintain the home (especially when it comes to replacing big ticket items like the roof, furnace, windows etc..), just to name a few! The last thing you want a few months after moving into your new home, is to realize that you are house poor. 

Instead of just going ahead with the pre-approval amount and setting that as your purchase price bench-mark, tally up all of these expenses to make sure that you can afford it ALL, not just the monthly mortgage costs. 


If you enjoyed part 1 of the top 8 most common first time home buyer mistakes that people fall into when buying their first Ottawa home, don’t miss out on part 2 of this series to get tips number 5-8! 

If you have any Ottawa real estate related questions or would like to schedule a free home buyer consultation reach out to me HERE. See you in part 2!

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