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Finding a new home is always a significant decision, whether you’re making your first big move or your tenth. After all, the process of house hunting is almost always equal parts exciting and stressful, especially in a busy city like Toronto, where real estate is such a hot topic.
Particularly if you're an inexperienced buyer, you may not know what to expect in today's real estate market. The good news is that there are a few things you can do to help alleviate the pressures.
When you prepare ahead of time and make those important decisions early with the help of a professional, you’ll feel a lot more ready and confident when the house hunting begins. This way, you can focus your time on the actual 'house' portion of house-hunting and less on the unexpected hassles.
Consider the decisions you can make ahead of time to make your house hunting less stressful and more seamless:
Pick the right agent
Finding a place is a huge undertaking for one person, which is why most buyers turn to real estate agents for help and advice. That said, it’s important to find the right real estate agent for you.
Do your research and ask important questions. Inquire around to ensure you find the best real estate agent for you, one who understands your needs and goals. The best real estate agent in Toronto will know the neighbourhoods that interest you, ask the right questions about your deal breakers, and guide you in the entire purchasing process.
Know your must-haves ahead of time
If you're searching for a new home, you're likely looking for a few specific things that are unique to your needs and lifestyle. These are usually things you're not willing to budge on, like the number of bedrooms and bathrooms. If you're condo hunting, does the building have appropriate amenities for your needs?
It's best to have your list of must-haves ahead of time, so when it comes time to work with your agent, they'll know what listings to leave out of the search.
A house will rarely check every box, so it's also good to have a list of secondary wants that aren't necessarily deal-breakers for you. For example, if you want a pool in your place, your primary need may be a yard big enough for a pool, whereas your secondary need may be an inground pool that is already built.
Save time and disappointment by applying for a pre-approved mortgage
When you put your wish list put together, you’ll have an idea of what your dream home might look like. That said, it’s vital that you also make sure this home is within an achievable price range.
It's best practice to get pre-approved for a mortgage before you begin house hunting actively. This gives you an idea of what you're able to offer on a property, how much your payments will be, and helps ensure you're not shopping outside your means.
Being pre-approved can also help speed up the time to close a deal, as you don't need to wait around for the bank's approval for a loan. It also offers the sellers some reassurance that you can actually afford their home.
Be aware, though, as not every bank or financial institution in Toronto will offer you the same loan or terms. It is recommended to shop around and compare rates before committing to a loan.
Be prepared to act fast
Real estate is often a seller's market, and housing goes fast, especially in Toronto. Dragging your feet on making an offer may cause you to lose out altogether. If you're serious about a house you've seen, it's best to make an offer as soon as you can.
This is where having a real estate agent can help, as they can let you know how hot a specific property is, and guide you on the right timing to prepare an offer.