Tips for Buyers
1. Get your preapproval. Do the Math. Nothing is more reckless then buying a home you can’t afford. Speak to a mortgage specialist and get a 120 day guaranteed commitment before you start looking. Do the “HOW MUCH CAN I AFFORD” calculation and be comfortable with the amount. If you enjoy expensive cars/trips/clothing and are not willing to compromise, then make sure you can afford both.
- 2. Hire the right Real Estate Agent. If you think you will get a deal by only working with the listing agent think again. That will leave you responsible for finding the homes and getting to them before anyone else does. Also a very important ISSUE to remember is that the Listing Agent is already under contract with the vendor to get them the most money for their home. When representing both sides, an ethical agent becomes more of an transaction facilitator or better known as a Dual agent. The agent will convey offers and counter offers back and forth but won’t provide opinions to one party or the other on how negotiable the other party might be. In addition, they will answer questions, explain things as the transaction progresses, make suggestions about whether getting inspections is a good idea – and so on- but they won’t be your advocate or the advocate. In the end, make an informed decision. If you are considering making an offer directly to the listing agent, ask questions. What are you giving up by not having your own agent?? What will you gain by presenting an offer via the listing agent?? When you get your answers, make your decision based on what YOU WANT TO DO.
- Write a WISH LIST – Make a list of the items that absolutely must be part of your home. Figure out where you’ll be spending most of your time and ensure that those spaces – like a kitchen if you love to cook, or the office if you work from home are suitable to your needs. Are you willing to park your car outside, or is a garage important?? Do you want inside access to garage or are you willing to go outside to access the garage? Etc…..To maximize your options, decide what’s critically important to you versus what you are flexible on, and convey this to your Real Estate Agent before you start your search. If this list changes, inform the Realtor
- LOCATION. Think about the pros and cons of your new homes geographical location. Does it need to be close to public transit? The right schools? How far are you willing to travel to work?? Do you want to live in an area with small kids or a neighbourhood with older, retirees?
- INSIDE LAYOUT / mechanics - do you need a main floor bedroom? Are the appliances, electrical, and heating systems old or outdated? Do you need to replace windows, roof, etc…… Are you willing to accept an older home or are you only interested in a newer home?? Investigate whatever additional fees might be applicable to your particular home-buying situation and account for these in your total budget.
- EXTRA Costs. When buying a home there are a lot of extra costs above the cost of the property value. Estimate home insurance, property tax, home inspection, land transfer tax (Provincial and Toronto), lawyers fees, title insurance, or whatever additional fees might be applicable to your particular home-buying situation. If it’s a condo factor in monthly condo fees. Account for these in your total budget.
- Don’t assume a renovation or addition is allowed. If you intend to renovate make sure your aware of your lot space and the legalities around building up or out. Equally important is to know what your neighbours are planning on doing. You don’t want to buy a house next to a development where a high rise will be built blocking the sun from your new back yard. If purchasing a condo ask about pet restriction, and renovation allowances. Some buildings have strict restrictions that may not allow your dreams to come together.
- Consider the RESALE Value. If you don’t plan on living out your entire life in this home think about how long you would like to stay and what the area might look like in a few years. If the house you are looking at has been on the market for while ask WHY?? If it’s a corner lot, backing onto hydro lines, in the wrong school district, etc.