Purchasing a home in Toronto, one of Canada’s largest and most vibrant cities, is an exciting yet complex endeavor. Aspiring homebuyers often have a multitude of questions when navigating the Toronto real estate market. In this article, we’ll explore some of the most frequently asked questions (FAQs) by Toronto home buyers and provide valuable insights to help you navigate the process effectively.
Since buying a home is probably your most important investment, it is critical to do your research to minimize its challenges. So don’t hesitate to ask all the questions you have in mind. You have the right to step in this process well-informed.
Here, we try to answer some of the most frequently asked questions of home buyers to help you make a better decision.
1. Which is better: buy or continue to rent?
Certainly, buying a home has many advantages rather than renting, including financial gains, tax breaks, capital gains, security, and freedom. But sometimes maybe renting can also be a better option. It completely depends on your personal situation to know whether IS IT BETTER TO BUY OR TO RENT. Considering the incredible low interest rates, maybe now it is better to pay a mortgage than paying rent.
Another important issue, in case you’re buying, is how long you want to stay in this new home. If you are planning to stay just for a year or two, then renting might be a better option for you. Besides, remember that owning a house has subsequent responsibilities like maintenance. So, are you ready for additional responsibilities right now?
2. How Much Can I Afford?
This is often one of the most frequently asked questions on the minds of home buyers in Toronto. Determining your budget is crucial before you start looking for a property. Consider factors such as your income, savings, and monthly expenses to calculate a comfortable and realistic budget. Consulting with a mortgage broker or financial advisor can provide you with a clearer picture of your purchasing power.
If you have had a steady job with reliable income for the last 2 or 3 years, you just need to assess if you can pay for mortgage, taxes, utilities, and insurance. A little saving for down payment would be necessary.
You can also use the help of a top Toronto real estate agent for an assessment about your options. They are completely aware of all the costs and expenses of buying a house.
3. How important is my credit score?
The credit score is a summary of your credit history. Mortgage lenders decide on whether you can receive the loans with what interest rate based on your credit score. Having a higher credit score means you will have a good chance for receiving a loan with a proper interest rate. The lower the credit score, the harder it will be to get a loan.
4. Should I Buy a Condo or a House?
The decision between buying a condominium or a house depends on your lifestyle, budget, and long-term goals. Condos offer convenience and often come with amenities, while houses provide more space and privacy. Carefully assess your needs and consider factors like maintenance costs before deciding.
5. How Does the Bidding Process Work?
In Toronto’s competitive real estate market, multiple offers and bidding wars are common. Buyers often wonder how to navigate these situations. It’s crucial to work closely with a knowledgeable real estate agent who can guide you through the process, including setting a competitive offer price and negotiation strategies.
6. What Are Closing Costs?
Closing costs are expenses associated with finalizing the purchase of a property. They include legal fees, land transfer tax, title insurance, and more. These costs can add up, so it’s essential to budget for them in addition to your down payment.
7. Should I Get a Home Inspection?
My answer to this question is Yes, a home inspection is highly recommended. It can uncover potential issues with the property, ensuring you’re making an informed decision. A qualified home inspector can assess the condition of the property’s structure, systems, and appliances.
8. What is the Difference Between Pre-approved and Pre-qualified?
Pre-qualification is an estimation of how much you may be able to borrow from the financial institution. But pre-approval is the agreement of a financial institution to lend you based on a complete evaluation of your financial status.
Pre-approval and pre-qualification are important steps in the mortgage process. Pre-qualification provides an estimate of how much you may be eligible to borrow, while pre-approval is a more formal commitment from a lender. Being pre-approved gives you a stronger position when making an offer.
So, if you are going to buy a house, your first step is to get pre-approved for a loan (unless you want to pay in cash). Pre-approve can help you to know the approximate price you need looking for in listings. Therefore, you exactly know how much you can afford. This will save your time and energy.
It is much recommended to talk to a bank before buying a house especially for first-time buyers. In addition to being aware of your credit score and affordability, you can also use the bank’s program for first-time buyers. When you talk to your bank or a professional real estate agent, they will help you to better understand the meaning of down payment, escrows and prepaid items.
9. Can I Negotiate the Asking Price?
Yes, you can negotiate the asking price, especially in a buyer’s market or when a property has been on the market for an extended period. Your real estate agent can help you determine an appropriate negotiation strategy.
10. Should I buy another house before selling my current home?
The decision to buy or sell first depends on your own circumstances. The major risk of selling your current home first is the probability of having no place to live for a while. Because it is unpredictable how long it exactly takes to finish the buying process. It is different for each house. It will be so challenging if your current home does not sell in a timely manner. So, if you can afford to buy the new house first, it will surely reduce the stress and pressure.
Nobody can exactly tell you how many days it will take to sell your current house. So, if you can’t afford to buy a new house without selling your current home, you can use the “rent-back” option or bridge financing. A “rent-back” means you can negotiate with the buyer of your current house for additional time to stay until you find a new home. Remember in this case, you should pay the buyer’s mortgage depending on the number of additional days you stay.
11. What is down payment? And how much should I pay for it?
The most important obstacle for first-time buyers is saving for the down payment. You should expect to pay 5% to 20% for a down payment. It generally depends on the condition of your loan and the lender’s requirements. We recommend you to set a budget plan and stick with it until you have enough savings. This may seem hard or a long-term obligation, but remember sometimes you should sacrifice for your future plans.
12. Does it really need to hire a real estate agent?
The answer is: certainly yes. Sometimes the whole buying process can be very complicated. Besides, there are many terms and procedures which you may not even be aware of. So, it is highly recommended to hire a professional real estate agent who has the required knowledge and experience.
A I said, selecting the right Toronto real estate agent is crucial. Look for an experienced agent with local knowledge, a good track record, and excellent communication skills just like Ari Armani. Personal rapport and trust are also essential when working closely with an agent.
Your homework is before choosing your agent, do a complete research and search about how to choose a real estate agent. Make sure you properly interview the future agent and find the best one. We don’t say it is impossible to do it yourself. But doing all the negotiations, inspections and contracts can be overwhelming for those who are not familiar with this process.
Read More : Buying Condo vs. House in Toronto in 2021
13. How many homes should I look at to find the best one?
We can’t say a precise number of homes to look at. There are no general rules about this. You may find the first house very interesting and suitable for you. On the other hand, you might not find your desirable house after looking at more than 20 homes.
Don’t put any limitation on the exact number of houses to look at for finding the perfect one. Generally, home buyers start their search online. So it is possible that you see more than 100 homes online. But you finally pick about 10 homes to go and see in person before you write the offer.
14. Which neighborhood is better?
Surely, your real estate agent is the best person who can answer this question. Because they normally can provide you with all the detailed information about the neighborhood until you finally choose the right one.
Toronto is a vast city with diverse neighborhoods, each offering a unique lifestyle and amenities. The choice of neighborhood depends on your preferences, such as proximity to work, schools, public transportation, and community vibe. Researching different Toronto neighborhoods and visiting them in person can help you make an informed decision.
What Neighborhood Should I Choose?
Every person has some personal factors in mind for choosing a neighborhood to live in Toronto. More general factors you should consider when you buy a house include the crime statistics, taxes, local amenities and schools if you have children. A REALTORⓇ is not only well-informed about the real estate market, but also has comprehensive updated information about the neighborhood.
Undoubtedly, for those families who have children, schools are one of the most important factors. You can check Toronto’s best schools in the area online by yourself. Or again ask your real estate agent who perfectly knows the neighborhood.
15. What are the important things to check in the house?
One of the most important issues mentioned by many buyers was checking the age of specific items. Certainly mechanical items are the most common ones to check their age. Remember to check every important part like the roof, water heater, and air conditioning. Of course the age of the roof is a kind of information that only the current owner knows. So don’t hesitate to ask!
You should also check the utility bills. Because these will be your regular additional costs in addition to the mortgage payment. You can either ask the owner to show you the bills or obtain it from the local utility company. This may give you a general image of the average costs you should consider in near future.
16. What’s the Best Time to Buy?
Timing the market perfectly is challenging. It’s better to know about The Best Time of Year to Buy/Sell Real Estate in Toronto. However, generally, spring and early summer are popular times for home buying. Keep in mind that the Toronto real estate market can fluctuate, so consider your personal circumstances and goals.
Read More: Important Things to Do After Buying a House
Before starting the process of buying a new house, get properly prepared and educated about all the challenges you may encounter. Use the help of a professional real estate agent and ask all your questions. It is not embarrassing to ask what you need to know, especially when the information is going to help you in your biggest investment.
Navigating the Toronto real estate market can be complex, but by seeking guidance from professionals, conducting thorough research, and asking the right questions, you can make informed decisions and find the perfect home in this vibrant city. Remember that every buyer’s situation is unique, so tailor your approach to your individual needs and preferences.