How to Buy a House in a Heated Market: Tips from the Pro

Helen FidlerTips from the Pro

It’s no secret that the housing market is hot right now. If you find yourself in a position where you need to buy a new home, this market can seem downright frustrating. However, while it might seem challenging to stand out from the competition, finding a new home in a seller’s market is still completely possible. It just takes a little more legwork than it did in the past. For this blog, I’ll share some tips to help you get ahead on your property search and find the one that best suits you in your budget. Whether you’re looking in Waterloo Region, Wellington County, or one of the neighbouring communities we are here to help.

Throughout most areas of Southern Ontario, bidding wars are the norm, and properties are selling way above the asking price. In fact, the median sale price for single-detached homes increased 33.5% on a year-to-year basis at the end of 2021 to reach $925,000. This serves as a new record high for housing prices in Canada. The prices in the GTA increased another 12% in the first few weeks of this year and are continuing on an upward trend.

Computer and notepad to show a property search

Get Clear On Your Must-Haves

The first step to finding a home in a heated market is to get clear on your must-haves. What are the features of the property that are non-negotiable? Do you need three bedrooms, or will two suffice? Is an attached garage a dealbreaker? Make sure you have a firm list of requirements so you can quickly filter out any properties that don’t meet your needs. However, it’s important to remember that the more restrictions you have, the more narrow your search will be. This will decrease the likelihood of you finding a home in this heated market. Understanding exactly what you want will make it easier when you need to put in an offer on a home.

Consider A No Condition Offer

Removing all conditions in an offer is going to be the best strategy when you are competing against several other offers all likely with no conditions.

Keep in mind, though, that making a no conditions offer doesn’t fully protect you from the unknowns. When possible, check with your lender and pre-inspect the property you are offering on before removing your conditions on the offer day.

Have Your Mortgage Pre-Approval And Buyer Letter In Hand

Another way to stand out from the competition is to make sure your mortgage pre-approval letter is in hand prior to bidding on a property. Sellers need to know you are financially ready and able to purchase their home. Proof of your preapproval will give them peace of mind when considering multiple offers that may not offer the same perks.

A Personal letter explaining to the seller who you are and why you love their home can also give you an edge. Most sellers are curious about who their buyer is. Many sellers are somewhat sentimental about their sale. Offering a letter can help a seller to personally choose you over the competition when considering who they will give the home to.

Consider A Higher Deposit Payment

In a bidding war, you want to be able to stand out from the competition as much as possible. One way to do this is by offering a higher deposit than the average buyer. While it’s not absolutely necessary for you to put down more than 5% on a house that’s worth less than $500,000, it might help sway the seller in your favour if you decide to make a higher deposit. It is a sign that you have the funds to close and they have more security that you will be closing on the completion day.

Couple wissfully dreaming buying of a home

Find A Real Estate Agent You Trust

The most significant piece of advice I can give you when trying to buy a home in a heated market is to find a real estate agent you trust. This person will be your biggest advocate during the bidding process, and they will have the inside scoop on which properties are worth bidding on and which ones aren’t.

Plus, they’ll always be the first to know when a new property hits the market that meets your needs, so you’ll never miss out on a home. Finding the right real estate agent can be tricky, but it’s definitely worth taking the time to do so. You want someone who is knowledgeable about the market and who you feel comfortable working with to help secure your new home. If you find it hard to decide who to use try calling a few Realtors to discuss your situation and feel out who might be the best fit. Google Reviews also are a good resource as you navigate this decision.

Don’t Make Demands From The Seller

It can be tempting to make demands from the seller when bidding on a property, especially if you’re bidding above the asking price. However, it’s important to remember that this is not typically going to work in your favour.

Many sellers are getting multiple offers, and they have the luxury of choosing which offer they like best. Therefore, demanding certain concessions, like a closing date that works better for you or asking the seller to leave appliances they excluded, will only make things more difficult. You want to show the seller why they should choose you. Making demands will never be an effective way of doing so. On the other hand, being flexible and working with the seller is one of the best ways to ensure you get your offer accepted.


Keep these tips in mind when bidding on properties in a heated market! The reality of the situation may be different than what you’re used to, but following these guidelines can help make the process easier. Work with a realtor you trust and remember to stay flexible.

If you’re looking for more advice on how to buy a home, be sure to reach out to Helen’s Team today! I have tons of great information to help make the process easier for you. So, if you’re ready to start your search for the perfect property, allow me and my team to help you secure your next purchase.