Size, Condition, Location: Home Buying in Toronto
Toronto real estate is all about size, condition, or location regardless of your budget. Home buyers are often in a position of compromising what they want in order to buy a home. It’s rare to find a home that fits all three perfectly.
Finding a home that satisfies two out of three (size, condition, location) is a great thing. Smart home buyers will even find unexpected benefits and solutions to the things that they considered less than perfect. With the right mindset, tenacity, and an experienced real estate pro, you can win in Toronto’s competitive real estate market and buy a home you love.
Size, Condition, Location: Which Two Are Right For you?
Developing a strategy in advance saves you a lot of time and stress, from the home search all the way to the closing day. Your very first step should include a discussion of the priorities and minimum requirements of the size, location, and condition of your future home. So let’s break these things down a bit.
How much room do you need?
Bigger does not equal better. More square footage than you need can actually be detrimental in some cases. It’s not just because a lot of empty space invites more maintenance (and even clutter, if you are a compulsive shopper). Unnecessary square footage will cost you more up front, and also down the line.
Sometimes, the house is right for structural adjustments and additions, and you might have a grand plan in mind to add living space in the future. With the right engineer, you can see if the home’s structure will allow for such changes.
Ask yourself: What do you really need to be comfortable? How many bedrooms do you need? If you don’t eat in or entertain a lot, do you really need a formal dining room? Do you need a home office, or can you use one space for multiple purposes? Do you need a yard, and if so, will you be happy with a small garden or do you absolutely need a big back yard?
Do you want to simply move in or, are you ok with doing some work?
Savvy home buyers are not willing to compromise on the location. So condition is their compromise. The term “Fixer-upper” gets a bad rap. There are plenty of home buyers that get caught up in the looks of a house compared to underlying issues that they may not be familiar with. There is a huge difference between being clearheaded about the work that needs to be done to fix-up a home and wanting to renovate to have the appearance of a show home.
I’m very good at being able to spot hidden gems that just need a little polish. A lot of my clients have wisely bought homes whose potential has been fully revealed with small projects.
Can I realistically do the necessary work on my own?
Do I even want to do the work myself?
Does it have to be done immediately?
While major work is being done, will I be able to live in the house?
After the purchase of the home, what kind of capital will I have to invest in repairs and upgrades?
Does the cost of a remodel make sense with the expected appreciation of the home?
The old mantra that still holds true
In terms of appreciation over time, the old mantra “location, location, location” holds true. But when we are talking about the overall quality of life you have in a home, location is just one factor. It’s a big one—especially if you demand a walkable, centrally located neighbourhood, or one with good schools for the kids—but it isn’t the only one.
Land in Toronto is highly valuable (and highly taxed) so expect to pay a premium within the city limits. That said, if you don’t mind commuting or living in a more residential area with fewer walkable amenities, you can still find a great community.
Ask yourself: How long of a commute are you willing to have? What kind of businesses and amenities do you consider essential for your lifestyle? Is your lifestyle fixed, or do you see yourself making significant changes in years to come? Do you want peace and quiet or a more lively atmosphere? Is having a view worth the added expense up front?
Remember: Toronto is changing rapidly as a whole, and many of its neighbourhoods seem to be changing overnight. Do your research about the history and expected changes in locations that interest you, especially regarding transit and commuting.
In Summary: Get A Good Real Estate Agent
There is so much to consider when buying a home, the sheer amount of information involved can be overwhelming. And then you have to make decisions with that information, and hope that those decisions 1) get you the home and 2) the home is truly the right one for you.
You also need trusted mortgage brokers, home inspectors, real estate lawyers and others to complete the purchase. It’s quite complicated and personal, and we all need a little outside guidance. So get the right real estate agent for your needs.
It’s important to really know your own priorities regarding the location, condition and size of the home you want to buy from the start.
During your home search, you may find those priorities shifting as you see what is available and discover more things to love in Toronto. A good agent will support you in that, too. (Many of my clients have found communities they love and homes that just needed some TLC to have major curb appeal.)
Hopefully, these tips help you buy a home with better confidence and success. Good luck, and if you want to chat, I’m a simple text message away!
I’m ready when you are! Your future home is right around the corner.
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