Buying a house requires careful and well thought out planning. It is a mistake to begin with only the vague idea of the home in which you want to live and where that home is located. While you can change cosmetic details after you buy, it is important to identify your main needs and priorities before you begin a search for a new home.
To begin the search for your dream home I will sit down for a personal consultation in order to get a clear picture of your home ownership wants and needs.
Prior to this consultation, it is important to clarify your budget, personal property preferences and any anticipated life state and lifestyle requirements that may impact the purchase of your home. As a starting point for your consultation, please complete the buyer profile form which will start to build the picture of your new home. The consultation will be very productive in terms of narrowing down your choices and determining your priorities. This way, your home search will be clearly focused on your requirements and we can provide you with sound options with customized solutions to your real estate needs. I will review all your plans and goals so that when your dream home comes along, you’ll be ready to act confidently!
We will discuss your wish list and differentiate “need” versus “want”. In addition I will look at your neighbourhood choices, review closing costs, establish your budget, set up a mortgage pre-approval and review the entire buying process. We will review all your plans and goals so that when your dream home comes along, you’ll be ready to act confidently!
We will discuss whether it is appropriate to buy first or sell first. It’s always risky to buy before you sell your own property, however on the other hand it can be very inconvenient to have to rent temporarily while still searching for the right home. We can figure the best option based on your situation.
We will review the Buyer Representation Agreement which will give the authority to act as your agent to ensure you are fully represented during the buying process.
The most important criteria for choosing a home is often location. While it is impossible to predict the future with total accuracy, it helps to consider what your needs are likely to be in five years as well as what they are today – not only in terms of where you see yourself wanting to live, but for resale value as well. When it comes to selling your home the neighbourhood will definitely take on great importance. Following are a few search parameters to start considering when determining your home buying needs:
- Do you want to live downtown, urban neighborhood or suburb?
- Do you prefer an easy walk to shopping and dining, or a quiet fully residential area?
- What features are important? (air conditioning, carpeting, ceramic tile floors, hardwood floors, eat-in kitchen, separate dining room, formal living room, family room, den, library, basement, separate laundry room, fireplace, workshop, other)
- How much can you spend? Is that amount flexible at all?
- Is proximity of schools a factor?
- Do you want an older home or a newer one, or a new build?
- How much renovation are you willing to do?
- Is easy access to public transportation important?
- How much time am I willing to commute?
- Would you like to be close to parks to walk a dog or for children to play?
- What sort of lot would you like? (small yard, large yard, fenced, garage, patio/deck, other buildings)
First Time Buyers
Buying your first home is very exciting, however it can be a daunting and stressful process too. Over the years, I have worked with many first time home buyers with the goal to make the experience both educational and enjoyable. There are a few recommendations I suggest to anyone considering purchasing a home for the first time.
- Get pre-approved for a mortgage. It is extremely important you know exactly the amount you qualify to buy and also what you are comfortable borrowing.
- Become educated. It is so important to take your time and do your research. Take advantage to the power of the internet to review many different types of property and location of properties. In order to do things right and be comfortable with the process you need to research everything from closing costs and lawyers fees to finding a home and closing the deal. Two sites in particular are very good resources, the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) and the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA).
- Getting started. Most likely your search for a new home will be a location primarily determined by where you currently live, where you work and what type of home you can afford within the lifestyle you choose. You should also consider if you may have children within the next five years, then factors such as proximity to daycare or schools and other amenities become a factor.
- Hire a real estate agent who is an experienced, qualified and educated sales expert to lead you through the process. You want an advocate who will help you every step of the way, from screening properties, to negotiating best possible deal for you, handling dozens of transactional details to closing.
- Market awareness and trends. Keep informed on regularly on market conditions in the areas you are searching. Remember this important fact about real estate, it is local. When it comes to making a decision to purchase you need to know what is happening in that market.
- Making an offer. Ensure you understand all the forms prior to making an offer. Look at past sale comparable and listen to your Real Estate agent’s advice when determining the offer. This advice is the most important input you will ever get. If you have selected your agent wisely they will know exactly what to do.
- Keep emotions in tack. Buying your first home is a very exciting and emotional experience. No matter what anyone tells you there will always be another house you fall in love with. You need to keep your head to avoid this common mistake: do not be so in love with a particular property that you have to have it at any cost. You could end up with the wrong house or pay too much for it.
Your current home may no longer meets your needs, or you are now in a position to acquire your ideal home and the time has come to move up to a larger more expensive home. Your current location may not be compatible with your family’s current lifestyle; maybe you would like a pool or a bigger yard. These are just a few of the reasons people consider relocating to a larger property and whatever your situation may be I serve my clients attentively, efficiently and with the utmost discretion to accomplish the sale of their current home and the purchase of a more suitable property. I would be delighted to schedule a complimentary home buying consultation to discuss moving up to help you target the ideal new property.
It may be time to trade a larger residence for a smaller one. There is any number of good reasons for this type of move. It may make sense to take equity from selling a larger property and downsizing as part of a long term financial plan. Investing in vacation homes facilitate travel and reduce the need for a larger principal residence. Possibly just a change in lifestyle as your current home is not as desirable as it was once. This need not necessitate a loss of freedom or luxury. Those looking to scale back their living space will be encouraged by the abundant prospects among Toronto’s in-demand condominium and townhouse developments, as well as its choice of fine single-family homes.
My knowledge of local market conditions, the most desirable properties and developments and the neighborhoods that will complement your new lifestyle will assist you in making the best real estate decisions to achieve your objectives.
Now that you’ve mastered this step of the buying process, read about what still lies ahead in the next chapter on Secure Financing.