Looking to buy a house in Prince Edward County (PEC)? Whether you’re looking to make a permanent move here, buy a second home or invest in a rental property in PEC, you’ll probably be searching for a home from afar. Here are our top 10 tips for searching for a home in the County.
- Begin your search online…but move on to Plan B quickly. While Realtor.ca will list all of the properties for sale on the MLS, listings on the site are sometimes delayed or out of date…so while it’s a good starting point, you may very well miss out on some good properties. The Quinte Real Estate Board doesn’t allow their members to amalgamate all the listings on their personal websites, so you won’t be able to search on individual websites either (that’s why there isn’t a ‘Search Properties’ section to this website). A better plan: get a REALTOR to send you instant notifications of properties that match your search criteria. Pro Tip: We can set you up with a local agent to send you property notifications.
- Hire a local real estate agent. I know you trust your Toronto/Ottawa/Kingston realtor, but the truth is that while they may be licensed to practice real estate anywhere in Ontario, they aren’t experts in Prince Edward County. Real estate is local, and having a local real estate agent on your side is critical. Local agents have access to the listings. They know the communities. They know the market values. They know the local expectations and customs, the negotiation strategies that work here, and they have the relationships with the other agents. Heck, they probably even know the history of the house and the neighbours. [Note: We’re Toronto realtors who love and own in the County. While we want to educate and encourage people to buy in PEC, we refer all our clients to local experts].
- Don’t count on open houses. With huge distances between homes for sale (the County spans 1,000 square km), and hardly any ‘walk-by’ traffic, open houses aren’t particularly common in PEC. If you’re interested in seeing a house, you’ll likely need to make a private appointment to see it.
- Great properties in great locations sell quickly, so you need to be ready to pounce. Great homes often sell in under a week, sometimes in a day or two. If you’re looking for a waterfront property or a house in a hot community, be prepared to drop everything and head to the County on short notice…or better yet, develop a solid relationship with a local REALTOR who can visit a property on your behalf and give you a video tour.
- Make a plan. Prince Edward County is huge, and if you’re like most people, you have a few target communities in mind. Try to focus on one community at a time and don’t forget to factor in travel time. Don’t just focus on the houses, focus on the communities. Drive around and locate the closest green spaces, shops and restaurants. Drive slowly down the street and check out the neighbours. Make a point of going to a cafe, restaurant or pub in the area.
- Take notes and photos. It’s surprising how quickly you can forget the first house you saw.
- Wear slip on/slip off shoes. Seriously. You’ll be taking your shoes off dozens of times, so save yourself the hassle of lace-up shoes. Wearing socks will also save you in the ‘did-somebody-die-here?’ houses.
- Experience the bad with the good. Every area has its drawbacks, so make a plan to experience them. Buying a home in PEC is exciting, but don’t let that excitement get in the way of doing proper due diligence.
- See past the decor. You’ll probably be surprised to find out how some people live, but don’t let someone’s bad decorating styles, outdated tastes and lack of housekeeping get in the way of finding your perfect PEC home. Staging isn’t common here, so forget about what you see on HGTV and bring your imagination.
- Ask lots of questions. If you’re used to owning a home in an urban area, there’ll be a lot of new things to learn about, and they aren’t all sexy. Many houses in the County have water wells and septic tanks…though sometimes, you have to truck in the water or find alternate ways of dealing with waste. Utilities here are probably more expensive than you’re used to. The quality of internet coverage varies a lot by community. Ask the questions while you’re househunting – not after you’ve moved in.
Not allowed to take pictures without the Sellers consent. You should amend your post
Robyn Rosenberg says:
why are houses that are sold on condition allowed to linger on the website for weeks. as soon as the offer is accepted, even on condition, the listing should come off. it’s incredibly frustrating. and I’m sure annoying to the agents that continue to get calls for unavailable properties. if the conditions aren’t met the property should relist.
Melanie Piche says:
A house isn’t considered sold until the conditions are waived, so it remains as ‘available’ on MLS and thus on all the websites that syndicate from the MLS. During conditional periods, most Sellers still allow showings, so they want potential Buyers to be able to see it that it’s for sale. It’s definitely frustrating for Buyers (and agents).