Shopping for a house in Toronto is competitive and it can be exhausting if you aren’t in tune with all the nuances of our crazy Toronto real estate market. As with most important purchases, the right research and the right preparation is key to limit surprises and your final success. There are important elements that help buyers sucessfully buy the house of their dreams in a multiple offer situation (sometimes 5-10 other offers). Shopping for a house should be exciting and manageable not daunting and overwhelming.
Always remember, when you are armed with knowledge you buy smarter (no matter what you are buying)! So, if buying a home now is your priority, here are the top three things every Toronto home buyer must know.
1) Get Your Ducks In A Row
I’m sure you’ve heard this statement lots of times, but getting your ducks in a row goes beyond your financing. Always pre-qualify for a mortgage and never assume you will be able to secure a house in a multiple offer with a finance condition – this rarely happens. Get every bit of your financing organized – how much you can afford, is there any extra, how much is your deposit and is it readily available, etc.
Next comes the research phase (minimum 1-3 months) which no one ever talks about. Before you buy a house you should always explore your options, and see as many homes in person or online (thanks Covid) as possible and always get all the facts – What did the homes actually sell for? What are the things you liked and didn’t like? Are the homes you like in your budget? Did the neighbourhood suit your lifestyle? Your realtor will be able to help you gather all this information and offer their perspective.
The research phase is crucial in understanding your budget – what type of house you can actually afford and in what neighbourhood. Arm yourself with knowledge now and avoid ongoing disappointment later.
2) Get On Board With The Home Buying Process
In most desirable neighbourhoods in Toronto, there is a seasonal peak in new inventory and a very clear weekly market cycle. The spring market can start as early as February and usually ends in June, when we see a big decrease in new listings over the summer months. Things start picking up again the second week of September and slow down at the end of November. As a home buyer, you want to have all your ducks in a row at the beginning of each season and beat the sudden influx of new buyers as the season picks up.
The weekly market cycle is also easy to track. Most new listings will be listed on MLS on Mondays, Tuesday and Wednesday mornings, and will hold back offers for 6-7 days. In a very competitive buyer’s market, some of these properties will sell within 2-3 days. It’s imperative that you free up your schedule to view houses as soon as possible to ensure you don’t miss out, and that you have enough time to review all the information before submitting an offer (do your homework!). If your goal is to buy a house in a desirable Toronto neighbourhood, you can’t rely on weekend viewing only.
3) Openly Discuss Your Trade-Offs
We absolutely hate crushing our buyer client’s dreams, which is why we openly talk to them about the trade-offs they will be willing to make in a home, should their wants not alight with their budget. In Toronto, making a few sacrifices or compromises (no matter what your budget is) will mean that you can actually buy a property in a reasonable period of time.
There are three variable present in every home purchase – house (type, size, age), location (Neighbourhood, transit, schools) and price (Is your budget flexible?). At any given time during the home buying process, you will most likely only get two of these variables. It’s important to figure out what’s at the top of your must have list and decide on some things you might need to trade off. For example – If you have no flexibility in your budget and have your heart set on a specific location, you might have to trade off a detached house for a semi-detached or a row house. If a detached house is at the top of your list and you have a fixed budget, then you might need to consider a different location.
Thinking about moving to Toronto’s west end? We know the local market—and what life in the area is really like. If you’re looking to learn more about what’s available in the neighbourhood, get in touch!