Looking for a house in Toronto? The city is notorious for its in-demand housing market and sky-high prices. Hopefully, that hasn’t scared you off, because with this Home Buying Guide, you’ll have an advantage when searching and bargaining for your new home.
To help you get started, consider these questions to ensure you’re finding the home you want within your budget.
- What kind of home are you looking for?
- What neighbourhood do you want to live in?
- What’s your budget?
- Are you using an agent?
Know What You Want
Toronto buyers may worry that there are too few homes on the market and too much competition. This leads to a feeling of urgency that results in a rushed decision on the new home. Sometimes, we fall in love with one feature, forgetting all the things that are wrong. Before settling on a house, make sure it meets all your essential needs.
Consider your deal-breakers and stick with them. Does the home meet your needs for the following criteria:
- Size of the house? Too big or too small?
- Distance to work?
- Is it move-in ready? Do you want to commit to renovations?
- What appliances, furnishings, and features does the home include?
- Adequate yard space for kids or pets?
- Is the neighbourhood safe and friendly?
- Closeness to schools and parks?
It’s easy to get wrapped up in the excitement and momentum of the home-buying journey, but if you commit to a home without fully exploring your needs, your putting yourself at risk of being burdened with a whole lot of work or inconvenience. A more patient and structured approach will ensure you actually find the house you need – and at the right price.
List all the features you’ll need, perhaps dividing between “must-haves” and “would-be-nices.” Knowing what you want can save a lot of time and allow as you search for homes. Agents and self-serve realty sites allow you to refine your search using your list of needs and wants.
Once you know what kind of home you’re looking for, the next step is to get familiar with the character of the many Toronto neighbourhoods.
Choose your Neighbourhood
If you’ve got a large family, you may want to limit your search to the Beaches or Bloor West, or perhaps Leslieville if money is tight. For singles, trendy neighbourhoods like Queen West or Old Town may be more exciting places to live, with great restaurants, outdoor events, and shopping. Wherever you are in your life’s journey, there’s a perfect GTA neighbourhood for you, so do your homework and limit your search to only the most desirable locations.
Get to Know the Community
Whatever the character of the neighbourhood, Toronto is full of excellent parks and schools, shopping districts and entertainment, bars and restaurants. Consider your daily needs and how far you’re willing to travel to get access to all the city has to offer and restrict your home search to neighbourhoods with easy access to what you’re looking for.
Choice is everywhere, and that means there are options for you, no matter how much you’re able to put down on a house right now.
Determine your budget
Property buying is a significant financial undertaking. So, as a buyer, you need to spend time and see if what you can afford answers your needs. Make sure your financial records are in order before looking for property, and consider the long-term commitment involved. Will you be able to make your regular payments?
The Toronto property market is seeing a lot of competition among lenders giving you different packages, options, and methods of home payment. Be cautious when accepting new offers because the cheapest looking loan could end up being the most expensive in the long run. This is something a mortgage broker and a real estate agent can help you with.
Decide on an Agent
Many first time buyers come into the process with little or no knowledge of the work involved and the related fees. They may know nothing about property taxes, the costs of repairs and improvements, the degree of legal implications, or the value of location and other features when making an offer.
There’s a lot to know when buying and selling homes, and that’s why real estate agents are here for you.
That doesn’t mean you should just hire any agent and trust them to sell your home at a fair price. Take your home selling experience as an opportunity to learn, so that you can make the best decisions in the future when buying or selling.
An informed buyer makes an agent’s job easier, so a good agent will be happy to answer any and all of your questions while giving you top notch customer service through every step of the process.
Take Your Time
If you follow the home buying guide, you’ll be more prepared to find the home you need. But whatever you decide, there is no need to rush when it comes to buying a home. This is not the time to make hasty decisions, especially if you will be making mortgage payments over many years. Be sure to pick the right property for you and commit to it.