This is it! Your mind is set: you're buying a house. A brand-new one, on top of it! It's all very exciting, but what does, say, a $250,000 budget get you?

Step 1: Price, Home Type and Location

Once you have a budget, but before you start surfing the web, it is best to have clear ideas, starting with the type of home you are looking for. A condo? A loft? A house (attached, cottage, single-family, etc.)?

Most people already have an idea of what they are looking for, based on their needs or their wants, but it pays to keep an open mind.

Une maison ou un condo?

“One should never completely close the door on a particular option. For example, a townhouse can look like a condo and meet your needs for a very similar pricing,” underlines Françoise Tétreault, coordinator at Guide Habitation.

- Also read: When is the ideal timing to purchase a home?

Once the price and the type of home are determined, there still remains the very important question of the location! Are you willing to travel a little to get a better price? Is there a specific region or neighborhood that attracts you?

Step 2: Broad and Specific Criteria

Don’t worry if you aren't yet sure of what to look for, you can still start looking while basing your search on what you're certain you do or not want.

After selecting the HOUSE or CONDO tab on the Guide habitation portal, it is possible to make a very broad search by using only the price and general region options (Montreal, Laval, Rive-Nord, Rive-Sud, Laurentides, Mauricie, Estrie, etc.)

Où voulez-vous habiter?

Quickly, the system will offer you more options that will be in bold. It is possible that your searches will not give any results… “You need to be realistic: a 3-bedroom house for $250,000 might be hard to find in the heart of Montreal,” warns Françoise Tétreault.

You will notice that there are more options to refine your search. For example, you can choose the number of bedrooms, a basic criteria when one is looking for a home.

Other important features can also be selected: indoor parking space, proximity to a metro station, construction phase, etc. A new-home search rarely limits itself to pricing only.

Quelles autres caractéristiques voulez-vous?

Step 3: Promotions and Details

Once the basic search is made, you may have a list of interesting prospects… And an equally impressive list of questions! You should then contact the different projects directly, and their sales offices.

- Also read: 8 questions to ask in the sales office

Because Guide Habitation is a search showcase, we may not be able to answer all your questions directly. That is why you need to call the projects or property developers that you selected directly. You will notice that all project pages include the sales offices contact information as well as a contact form.

Contactez le promoteur!

Not only will contacting the property developer allow you to clarify your options, it will also allow you to get more information about existing and upcoming promotions. Some are advertised directly on the portal, under the PROMOTIONS tab at the end of the list of features.

Good luck in your search - and have a good move!