October 25, 2022 | Buying

7 Must-know Tips For First-time Buyers In Toronto

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Congratulations! You’re about to become a homeowner, and that is something special. Buying real estate in Toronto is a great investment in your future wealth and current livelihood. There is a lot to love about the various communities in the city, and the equity you’ll gain from your property over time will secure your financial stability. To help you get through the process seamlessly, our expert team is sharing our top seven tips for first-time buyers.

1. Know what you want

Get specific! Before you start searching the web and attending open houses, create a new-home criteria list that includes: 

  • Your ideal location/neighbourhood 
  • Property type (consider whether you want a detached house, semi, townhome, or condo)
  • Price range (the maximum amount you’re willing to spend)
  • Condition (Are you willing to make repairs? Are you open to doing a full renovation? Are you looking for a turn-key home?)

Separate the list between needs or must-haves, and wants or nice-to-haves. This will make your process simpler as you can easily narrow down your options. 

2. Pick the right representation 

Don’t rush the process of finding an agent. Buying any home—especially your first—in a market as competitive as Toronto’s is an important decision. You want to ensure you partner with someone you trust completely. Be sure to fully interview and research each agent you’re thinking about working with to confirm they have the experience and skills you’re looking for. 

Don’t simply choose to hire the listing agent—they’re working in the interest of the seller. You need someone on your side looking out for you. You don’t pay the cost of hiring a buying agent, so there’s nothing to lose. The commission is paid by the seller!

3. Get pre-approved for a mortgage

The importance of this step cannot be overstated: without a pre-approval, you’re basically going in blind. You could waste valuable time searching the market and looking at homes that you might not be able to afford. You could also risk having deals fall through because of inadequate financing. Without a pre-approval, you risk making the process longer than it needs to be. 

A pre-approval allows you to accurately plan, budget, and prepare for your housing search so that it’s as smooth as possible. It also lets sellers know that you’re serious, which will give you a competitive advantage against other buyers who aren’t as prepared.

4. View homes in real life 

Pictures are great, but you can’t get a true appreciation for a potential property unless you see it in person. Seeing homes in real life will give you a true understanding of what’s actually available and within your price range. Viewing properties in person will allow you to adjust your expectations so that you can find the home that fits your needs, without compromising on the must-haves on your list.

5. Keep an open mind

The Toronto real estate market is robust, and filled with options. You might not find exactly what you’re looking for, but that doesn’t mean you won’t find exactly what you need. There are almost endless real estate opportunities in the city and the GTA, so keeping an open mind will ensure you find something special. You may have to compromise on certain aspects, which is where your list will come in handy. Your agent will help you see the potential in homes you might overlook, and understand the value in properties that might not captivate you at first glance. 

6. Know when to walk away

Depending on the market, bidding wars can be a frequent occurrence. Knowing when to stick it out and when to walk away so that you don’t overpay for a home is crucial. While it can be hard to leave a property you may love behind, affordability is important, and you don’t want to spend more than you can afford. 

7. Always get a home inspection 

Once you’ve found a home you want to bid on, ensure you schedule a home inspection. Your agent will be able to recommend an experienced professional to assess the interior and exterior of the property. Be sure to attend the inspection with your agent. This way, you can have a first-hand look at any potential issues which your agent can point out directly to you. The more hands-on you can be during the purchase process, the better. You’ll become an educated buyer and savvy homeowner. The inspection will also ensure the home you do decide to close on is transferred to you in proper condition.

Buying your first Toronto area home is an exciting time, but it can be an intimidating one if you’re not prepared. Following these seven tips will help you experience a streamlined process that protects your interests. If you have real estate questions, reach out to Bahia Realty Group here for insider insight to empower your transaction.

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