Home Buyer Tips – Fall 2012

I have written before about home buyer tips, but felt the need to update for the current market. Conditions in the Toronto real estate market change from month to month, season to season, and year to year. We are just getting started with the fall market for 2012, and it’s important to be tuned in!

There has been some debate here at RE/MAX Hallmark about whether conditions merit doing a ‘hold-back’ on our listings – i.e. setting an offer date that’s a week after hitting the MLS. With the usual negative commentary in the media and ever-tightening mortgage rules, the question is whether or not there is enough demand to justify that approach. Based on what we have seen this week (numerous multiple offer sales), I think there is. Supply is still tight and there are plenty of buyers out there (many looking to re-locate within the city). Prices are up over last year, so there’s no reason for sellers to worry; with some luck, we’ll get the supply we need to bring some liquidity back to the market.

This early in the season I won’t say that it’s a seller’s market, per se, but it does appear to be a stable-to-strong market. Buyers have to be prepared to take action when they find a house they want. For you first-time buyers (and those of you who haven’t done this in a while), there’s lots that you need to know – not just about the market, but about the process. We’re not talking rocket science here, but almost every purchase or sale has something unique about it. Knowing the basics will help you to prepare yourself for your experience.

The following is by no means a comprehensive list; rather, it’s sort of a “Top 5” – or better yet, a “First 5” things you should know:

1) Be an educated Buyer. Learn as much as you can about the market before you buy. (I help all of my clients with this stage – and by reading this you are off to a great start!)

2) Be honest and open with your Realtor®. I work for you and can best help you if I have a good understanding of your needs. Once I know your needs, my job is to be your objective guide in the process, and to ensure your needs and interests are met and protected.

3) Get pre-approved for your mortgage as soon as possible. This helps you to determine your budget, and locks in today’s best rate for you. I’ll refer you to a few mortgage professionals, if you want. You speak to them all and pick the one you think is the best fit for you.

4) Buy the best home you can afford in the best neighborhood you can afford. You are almost always better off with the least expensive home in the area rather than the most expensive. That said, I strongly recommend that you be conservative with your budget.

5) There are no perfect homes. Be ready to make compromises and concessions. Know what’s most important to you and ‘give’ on those things that aren’t.

There you have it: five basic principles to get you started on your new home search. Be sure to visit my blog again for more tips, check out my Facebook page, follow me on Twitter – and please do call me if you want more help!

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