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Buying a first home is challenging anywhere. It's the textbook definition of being thrown in the deep end as you simultaneously navigate legal agreements, convoluted timelines, sizable money transfers and a patchwork of conflicting advice. But to buy your first home in Toronto? That’s another beast entirely.
Still, each year, several first-time homebuyers in the GTA pull it off – and so can you. Below, this article lists a few things every Torontonian should know before buying their first property.
There’s Still Stiff Competition
Despite a cooling market and dipping resale prices (which is advantageous for first-time buyers), you will still face stiff competition. This is Toronto, after all.
Just be prepared. Be prepared to have your heart broken a few times as "the one" and then another "one" slips through your grasp. Grit your teeth through brutal bidding wars and bully offers. And talk to a trusted realtor (more on that in a moment) about how to up your chances for success. They may recommend removing conditions or flying out of the gate with an attractive offer. You can write a letter, but they rarely work in a competitive market like Toronto’s.
You Don’t Have to Settle for any Old Realtor
Traditionally, it was challenging to find a quality real estate agent – one aligned with your values. There were few avenues for vetting agents as they kept their sales histories and reviews under lock and key.
But things are different now, and you don’t have to settle. Before you look for a real estate agent, visit Nobul, a real estate digital marketplace that got its start in Canada. The innovative company matches first-time buyers to suitable agents, offering a plethora of free resources and information along the way.
As Nobul CEO Regan McGee told Superb Crew, “Purchasing a home is one of the biggest decisions that many people will make in their lives… and we aim to facilitate homebuyers’ ability to choose the agent best suited to their needs, and support them end-to-end throughout their real estate journey.”
Not All Neighborhoods Are Priced Equally
You can save yourself a lot of time and missed opportunities by narrowing your search geographically. To avoid “barking up the wrong tree,” discuss your budget with a trusted agent. Give them a general sense of your preferred area and size, and discuss your options.
To give you a sense of the disparity, a one-bedroom on Queen West is roughly equivalent in price to a two-bedroom in Markham. Even within Toronto proper, there’s a big difference between a place in Casa Loma and one in the Junction.
You Can Take Advantage of Rebates and Incentives
Lastly, first-time homebuyers should capitalize on local and national rebates and incentives. As a first-time homebuyer in Toronto, you’re eligible for up to $4,475 rebate from municipal land transfer tax; you can draw up to $35,000 from your RRSP toward a down payment; and you can apply for the First-Time Home Buyer Incentive through the federal government.
Buying a first home in Toronto may seem daunting. But you can pull it off with some determination, a real estate digital marketplace like Nobul, and the help of a trusted real estate agent.