As your Toronto “House Whisperer” I am happy to share some counsel that I always give to my purchasing clients before we dip our toes into the sometimes “murky waters” of Toronto Real Estate.
1. If you don’t feel a REAL CONNECTION with your Realtor the first time you meet…keep shopping! Trust and empathy are critical to a successful “decision” journey and to the successful purchase of your dream home for you and your family.
2. Read your Buyer Representation Agreement. It’s there to protect you and if you feel uncomfortable with the commitment, then put in a clause that allows you to cancel it if, for some reason, you are not happy with your choice of this Realtor. And don’t be afraid to ask your Realtor ANY questions or concerns you have about this agreement. If you are well matched, any fears or misunderstandings you may have about the language in the document will be allayed by your Realtor. After all, she is on YOUR side.
3. Explore the neighbourhoods you’re considering. Walk around and get a feeling for the areas before falling in love with a house.
4. Remember you are buying for the next 5 years or so. So think ahead!
5. Get pre-qualified by your bank/mortgage broker but remember you don’t have to SPEND all the money that the lender qualifies you for!
6. Don’t allow fabulous staging to divert your eyes from the fundamentals of the house. Pay attention to the “bones” of the house.
7. Always have a home inspection. If the Seller has done one, make sure your agent knows the Inspector and reads the inspection as if it had been commissioned by you….at the very least! All good home inspectors offer a service, which costs less than a new inspection, where they will come back to the house and walk you through the house you are bidding on. They will answer any questions you might have about the report they did for the seller of that house. If you’re not in multiple offers and/or if there is time before presenting offers and you are still not totally satisfied, then do your own!
8. Do your due diligence! Make sure the front pad parking is legal! Make sure the addition was done with permits if they were legally required.
9. Make sure your agent KNOWS what the house is actually worth. List prices are not always harbingers of value as those who have been massacred in bidding wars know so well!
10. Be patient. Have fun! Don’t over reach! If you lose out on one house, your turn will come. There is ALWAYS another house!
So, if you (or someone you know), are looking for a Realtor who cares MORE about focusing on you, your concerns, goals and the successful purchase of YOUR unique home, than they care about their volume of transactions and awards, please let me know the best way for me to connect, as I would love to offer my highly personal service. Contrary to that old expression, not only IS this business, but it IS personal! And, please, I encourage you to ask me any questions you may have about this post. I value your input and appreciate the time you took to read it.