Finding and buying the perfect home can be challenging for home buyers. So it’s very important that you be ready for every step in order to lessen the stress that’s involved in home buying. I, as a Toronto Real Estate Agent, have helped numerous buyers to find their dream home. These are the tips that I personally found very helpful while searching for your perfect home.
1. Have your mortgage pre-approval
This is a very important step before you start looking for your dream home. First step is that you need to make sure you have your mortgage pre approval ready. It will make purchasing your dream home much easier. One of the things that you don’t want to face is that you find your dream home and fall in love with it, and then, when it comes to the offer, you can not get it because you are not approved for enough financing! So before starting to go around and look at the homes, get your mortgage pre approval ready and in place.
2. Make a list of your Needs and your Wants
Yes, there is a difference between needs and wants. You may want a pool in your backyard, but you probably still can live without it. Also things such as pool in your backyard might increase the carrying cost of the home. Carrying costs can include, pool maintenance annual fees, increase in home insurance premium, and electricity bills etc. So in order to narrow down and find your perfect home fast, draft a list of all the items you find necessary.
3. Location is the next thing
What I always tell my clients is that, you can change or remodel your home ( inside, and outside subject to the city by-laws) but you can not change the location. So finding the best location possible is another thing to consider when it comes to finding your dream home. In Toronto, there are specific areas that are considered good investment in terms of location. You can view the best places in Toronto to buy a property here. The reality is that the location is in correlation with your budget. A top Toronto real Estate Agent can help you find the best properties in the best areas.
Sometimes you find a diamond in the rough. It can be a house that requires some love, but is located in a great neighbourhood! If you see that in yourself to put some time and effort, buy the tired home in the good neighbourhood! Again, this is not something that anyone can do. If you have a demanding job, it’s better to stick to the options that you can move into them right away though!
4. Adjust your expectations with reality
This might look simple, but believe me, especially if you are a first time buyer, you might need to adjust your expectations before entering the market. In order to find your dream home, if you go through step 1, and consult with a real estate agent, you should be all set.
When you are in a hot market like Toronto, you need to know time is of the essence. Timing is very important to enter the real estate market. This might happen with first time home buyers more often, they might set their expectations higher than their budget. What will happen is that they keep looking and can’t get anything, and prices of the homes keep rising up. If they could afford a townhouse near downtown a year ago, but they were looking to buy a house, the next year they might only afford a condo apartment. Then their only option is to either get a condo apartment, or move outside of the city!
So if you adjust your expectations reasonably, you can get in, and climb the property ladder gradually. Slowly but surely! If you get proper consultation from a good real estate agent, he/she can help you with that!
5. Have the future in your mind
Well, this one is a bit tricky, but in order to find your perfect home, you need to have the future in your mind too! It depends on what stage of life you are in. Let’s say if you are a young couple with a child, you’re gonna have a different future plan than an older couple with older kids. If you are a young couple, you might want to consider if your financing allows, get a home with maybe one or two extra rooms!
As a Toronto real estate agent I’ve had clients who bought a home to live for 4-5 years and then upgrade to a bigger home in order to expand the family, but an increase in the prices, or family situations made it difficult for them to move to a bigger property. Whereas right off the bat they could afford to get a 4 bedroom house instead of a 3 bedroom house, cus their financing allowed it at that moment. So if you are a younger family and your finances allow it, think of future growth!
On the other hand if you are an older couple and your kids are getting closer to being adults, you might not need to have extra rooms etc. Once kids move out, you still have a big house that costs more in property taxes, and costs more utilities and costs more to do all the maintenance.
6. Get a home inspection
I highly recommend you get the home inspection whenever you can, in order to make sure a house is right for you. If you are in a hot market this might not always be possible though. For example if you are in a market like Toronto, and you’re looking for properties under $1M, chances are low to get an offer accepted conditional on Home Inspection. But don’t worry, that one has a solution too.
There are numerous advantages to having a home inspection. The two most important ones are that, first of all you’ll know if there are any material defects ( material defects are very important problems that cost a lot of money to fix). The second one is that when your home inspector walks you through the home, you can ask your questions regarding the possible costs of minor repairs, or maintenance etc.
I’ll add an article and video of how to win multiple offers in the safest way possible. But for now, when you see a home that it’s set to get multiple offers, you need to ask them for a Pre-List home inspection. The second thing is to try to add one or two clauses that you suspect the house has problems with. If the home seller scratches that clause you might be suspected that there has been a problem there.
But again, that one is a bit tricky, if you face multiple offers with 20 offers, they might reject your clauses right away! Consult with a professional Realtor who knows what they’re doing in multiple offers before entering those purchases!
7. See the home more than once
This one is especially important in hot markets in order to know if the house is right for you. When you really like a home, try to see it twice before preparing a firm offer. If you can have the chance to put a conditional offer, conditional on home inspection, that’s perfect. But if you are in a hot market that you might need to go firm, make sure to see the home at least twice.
There are important things that you need to double check on the home you like before putting an offer. Look for these:
- Envision the furniture in every space, possibly measure them as the measurement on MLS listings might not be accurate
- Make sure the bathrooms are comfortable
- Stair to the basement or from the garage are not too steep for you
If you don’t know the difference between firm offers and conditional offers, send me a message and I’ll explain it for you!
8. Do your homework and research
Well, the last step to find your perfect home is that you do your homework. Apart from relying on the professional opinions from your accountant, solicitor, Realtor, and mortgage broker, I’d advise you to do your own research.
- Go drive around the block and check the local demographic around the home.
- Check with the local school board. I know of some schools that because of the overpopulation, sent some of the kids to other schools, even though they lived within the boundary! So I suggest you personally contact the school and make sure about it, if the school is your main criteria to get into a neighbourhood!
- Check the area in the news, and determine the safety of the neighbourhood!
Buying a home is an important financial and life decision! The above 8 tips are the most important tips you need to know in order to find your dream home!I’ve learned these in my experiences in the past several years of working in the real estate industry!
Feel free to leave a comment or connect with me on social media if you have any further questions!