As a first time buyer, investing in your first piece of Toronto real estate can be an overwhelming, scary and confusing experience. People often put off the idea of buying their first Toronto home or condo longer than they need to simply due to the thought of “what if?”: “What if I don’t get approved for a mortgage?” “What if I buy and then figure out I can’t afford it?”
For most, it is better to overthink a big decision like buying a home or condo for the first time as it will hopefully help them avoid making any rash decisions and getting in over their heads. For others, it can often be better to get into the real estate market sooner rather than later. If you have the means to come up with a downpayment for a Toronto home or condo and have a steady income that can cover the monthly mortgage, utilities and other expenses, you may want to seriously consider the option of purchasing your first piece of Toronto real estate. Whether you plan to purchase a property for your own personal use or you plan to purchase it as an income property to rent out, buying Toronto real estate is more often than not a great investment. Below is a list of steps that most first time buyers will go through.
STEP 1: Get Pre-Approved For a Mortgage
Knowing what your bank will allow you to borrow is the first step to owning a Toronto home or condo. Without knowing what you can realistically spend on a property, you will never be in a good position to buy. It is best to meet with your bank or a private mortgage broker in order to determine what mortgage options are available and to determine how much you will need to borrow and if you will be approved for the financing. Once you have determined what you can spend, you can then start your search for the perfect Toronto home or condo that works with your budget.
STEP 2: Hire a Toronto Real Estate Agent
Buying your first home or condo is a big decision. You will want to ensure you are making the right choices based on the right information. Having a knowledgeable, reliable, hard working and sincere real estate agent is important during a big life event like buying your first property. It is usually best to hire a real estate agent who lives and works within Toronto and not an agent from outside of the city. An agent who lives and works in Toronto will be more knowledgeable regarding the different neighbourhoods, the hidden secrets within each neighbourhood such as the best little cafe, best restaurants, information on what the community is like during different times of the year as well as the type of people that reside in the area. By having a licensed Toronto real estate agent on your side, they will ensure that you are well informed throughout the entire process and that your rights and interests are protected. I would be more than happy to assist you with the exciting endeavour of finding your first home!
STEP 3: Determine What You Want and Need
Buying your first Toronto home or condo is a big decision. It is best to take the time to research different neighbourhoods to determine which Toronto neighbourhoods provide the amenities that you require. For example, you may want to consider which daycares and schools are nearby and which school district a property of interest falls under even if you do not have any children at this time but plan on having them in the future. Other items you may want to consider are how long it will take you to commute to your place of work, the location of the closest grocery store and pharmacy and what the plans are for the neighbourhood. In addition to educating yourself about different neighbourhoods, you may want to educate yourself with the micro real estate markets for each neighbourhood. If you have a budget of $500,000 you do not want to be wasting your time looking at $2,000,000 homes.
As a licensed Toronto real estate agent, I am able to assist you by providing valuable information regarding what homes and condos are selling for in your neighbourhoods of interest. Once you have a good understanding of what homes and condos are selling for in different areas, you will be able to narrow down your search to a neighbourhood that works with your budget. In addition to figuring out which neighbourhood is ideal for you based on your specific needs and budget, it is also helpful for you to consider how many bedrooms and bathrooms you will need, whether parking will be required and any other “must-haves” that are important to you.
STEP 4: Begin Your Hunt For Your Perfect Toronto House or Condo
Now that you have completed the preliminary work, you can begin the fun part: looking for your perfect house or condo! As a licensed Toronto real estate agent, I am able to assist you with hunting for the perfect property by completing searches for properties in your areas of interest. I will send you properties that meet your specific requirements for you to review. I will also arrange times for you to view properties in person and will review each property with you in order to answer any questions or to address any concerns that you may have. It is usually beneficial to look at several different properties before making your final choice.
STEP 5: Make an Offer
Once you have found the right home or condo, it is time to make an offer. Although making an offer is exciting, many buyers find this process stressful. However, with the help of a licensed Toronto real estate agent like myself, you will be guided throughout the entire process. I will assist you with determining an appropriate offer price based on local real estate market statistics and recent comparable sales in the area. In addition, I will complete the Agreement of Purchase and Sale with you and we will determine and include certain information to protect your rights within this legally binding contract. Some of the items we will cover are the inclusions you would like to include with the purchase of the house or condo (appliances, window coverings, light fixtures etc.), the deposit amount and your desirable closing date.
Once you we have submitted the offer, the seller will review your offer and will have the option of accepting the offer, signing back the offer with their own specific edits or they may reject the offer by not signing back at all. In the most likely case that they do sign back with a counter offer, I will assist you with understanding their counter offer and will provide you with professional advice as to what your options are and what may be in your best interest. It is not uncommon for the each party to sign back the offer more than once until the two parties come to a final agreement. Although this can be a stressful experience, I will be with you throughout the entire process and will be able to answer any questions and address any concerns that you may have in order to help make the process as stress-free as possible.
STEP 6: Ensure You Meet Conditions & Provide the Deposit
There will be certain conditions included in the offer, such as the offer being conditional upon you obtaining financing or the offer being conditional upon you having a home inspection completed. The sale is not complete until all conditions are either met (completed) or waived. In addition to ensuring that all conditions are completed, you will have to provide a deposit which is typically 5% or more of the sale price.
STEP 7: Closing Time
The closing is the final step to becoming a home owner. The closing date is the date on which the ownership and possession of the property transfers from the seller to you as the buyer. The closing date will require the assistance of your real estate agent, your real estate lawyer and your mortgage broker or bank.
STEP 8: Celebrate!
Congratulations, you are now a home owner! This is an exciting time and it is definitely worth celebrating. Enjoy the moment and be happy to know that you now have your own place to call home.
Some of the top Toronto neighbourhoods for first time buyers include:
(Detached homes, semi-detached homes, townhomes)
Palmerston – Little Italy
East End Danforth
(Condos, lofts & townhomes)
Yonge & Eglinton
If you are considering the purchase of your first home or condo, contact me to learn how I can assist you with making the experience an enjoyable and successful one. I would love the opportunity to assist you with searching for and purchasing the right property for you. Contact me today!