<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=294326554740919&ev=PageView&noscript=1" /> Hoping to buy a house this year ? Here’s what you need to know - Wilson Sisters

Hoping to buy a house this year ? Here’s what you need to know

21 May 2015
Wilson Sisters

So you’re thinking of buying a home this year. We have a list of suggestions we hope will help you make the process as smooth and disappointment-free as possible.

You know that perfect home or condo you have in your mind’s eye? It doesn’t exist. Every place you look at is going to have some things about it that you will wish were different. The question is whether or not you can live with them, or even change them. Banisters, paint, flooring, cabinets, bathroom/kitchen fixtures, landscaping, cleanliness of a home- these things can all be changed quite easily. Does the home have parking if you need it, an outdoor space if that’s on your list, are there enough bedrooms, is it in a good location, and is the structure of the property in solid shape? These are all important things to consider and difficult to fix. Please, please, please don’t buy a home for your furniture. You may LOVE your giant sectional couch or four piece bedroom furniture, but you’re buying a home for you, not your furniture. Be prepared to sell your stuff on Craigslist and start fresh in your new home.

Get your financing pre-approved before you start looking at homes. This should be your very first step. Get in touch with a good mortgage broker, or if you like, shop around yourself to a few banks (typically we recommend that our clients let a broker do that shopping around work for them, but it’s totally up to you). You want to know your buying power and ensure that your credit has been checked and there are no surprises. In this hot seller’s market, you will likely find that, if in competition, an offer with a financing condition does not typically win the home. It’s critical that you and your agent are very sure that you are pre-approved and ready to go. In the interest of protecting our clients, we prefer to either work with a mortgage broker we know and trust, or to develop a working relationship with our clients’ mortgage financing representative so that we can discuss each home with them before we go ahead and submit.

Set aside around $1500-$2000 for home inspections. Be prepared to spend some money on home inspections. Sometimes you’ll find that sellers will have pre-listing home inspections done and readily available for buyer review, but sometimes they won’t, and if there are multiple offers, you’ll be best to do your inspection before you offer, thereby avoiding a condition in the offer that could cost you the winning bid. Keep in mind that those pre-listing inspections are done for the seller’s benefit, and provided for informational purposes only. Liability is limited to the seller and does not extend to you. Most often these inspections are completed by trusted and experienced companies, but if you are more comfortable doing your own inspection, just make sure to have that fund set aside before you start and be okay with spending that money. Each inspection typically costs around $400-500. Hopefully you won’t have to do many of these before you close the deal, but it’s best to be prepared.

Be ready to act quickly. Once again, this is a hot market. The luxury of time does not often present itself. When a listing hits your inbox that you think looks exciting, be ready to go look at it fairly quickly, even if the offer date is the following week. Pre-emptive (or bully) offers happen and you don’t want to miss out because you had too many things going on. Be prepared to make this a priority for a while. You may need to miss a dinner here, a yoga class there, or even take an afternoon or two off work. It’s a temporary and hopefully short-lived draw on your attention. We often pre-screen properties for our clients the day they come on the market in an effort to save them time and so that we can be sure that a property is a “hurry and drop everything” opportunity and encourage our clients to act accordingly.

Choose your team wisely. There are 44,000 or so Realtors in the GTA. Staggering numbers. Everyone knows at least 6 it seems. Please don’t choose your Realtor out of obligation or guilt. Your friend/cousin will forgive you eventually. Choose someone who knows the area where you’re looking, or understands the product you’re looking for. Be sure they are experienced and out there in the trenches, selling stuff, not doing it on the side while they focus on their other gig. Be sure that you feel heard and understood by them, and for heavens sake, avoid high-pressure sales people like the plague. Yuck. An open house can be a good place to feel out an agent to decide whether you’d like to sit down and talk with them further about your plans. Watch them in action. Choose a lawyer who specializes in real estate law and if you’re buying a condo, someone who knows Toronto condos.

Be prepared to pay more than the last one sold for. This sucks for buyers, but the prices in Toronto are rising so much that it’s really not a viable strategy, if you ever want to actually get a home, to base your offer price on the last one that sold, even if it was a month ago. If you want to win in a multiple bid, be prepared to pay a slight premium to come out on top. Sucks but it’s reality. If you want it, go for it.

If you have any questions about the buying process, we’d be happy to answer them for you. info@wilsonsisters.com. Happy hunting!