Fall is just around the corner, which means the Toronto real estate market is about to get busy!
If you’re thinking about buying a new home or selling the one you’re currently living in, preparing ahead of time is crucial to maximizing your outcome.
If you don’t take the time to prepare, you may find yourself scrambling to get things done, which can leave you and your sale in a vulnerable spot.
Here are a few things to think about if you’re planning to make a move this fall. I’ve split them into two sections, one for selling and one for buying.
Selling a Home
The following tips are for people interested in selling real estate.
Repairs & Cleaning
Probably the least exciting part is arguably the most important. When you’re listing your home for sale, every minor defect will cost you money.
Take the time to walk through your entire home and note every repair and overdue cleaning, no matter how minor. Think about everything from a crooked light switch cover to dirty windows.
Once you’ve taken note of every potential issue, split them into two categories. The first category is work a handyperson can complete, and the second is work that a specialist will complete.
Hire the handyperson to complete the light work as soon as possible. Strategize with your REALTOR® regarding the work to be done by specialists. Once you’ve come up with a plan, engage the specialists to complete the work required.
The curb appeal of a home can impact the final sale figure by as much as 7%. That’s a lot of money. It’s well worth the investment to make sure your landscaping is in tip-top shape before listing.
Hire a reputable landscaping company to help you achieve beautiful curb appeal. Your Realtor should be able to refer you to one that specializes in preparing a home for sale.
A home inspection should be a consideration. You’ll have one done ahead of the day your home is publicly listed to reduce the chance of an offer containing a home inspection condition.
A home inspection condition is when a buyer requires a certain period to inspect your home. This condition locks up your ability to sell your home to anyone else and gives the buyer a way to back out of the contract for any reason they see fit.
It’s best to inspect before you list to reduce the risk of locking up your home in a condition.
Note: Don’t do a home inspection too far before the day you intend to list your home.
Engage a Realtor
If you plan on using a Realtor, make sure you let them know ahead of time. The more time your Realtor has to plan and strategize, the higher the chance of a maximized sale.
Get in touch with your Realtor as soon as you’ve decided it’s time to move. They can help you navigate the process with ease.
Buying a Home
The following tips are for people interested in purchasing real estate.
The most important part of preparing to purchase real estate is ensuring your finances are in order.
Contact your mortgage broker and tell them you’re thinking about purchasing a home. They can pre-approve you using a relatively simple process. Once you’re pre-approved, you’ll know what you can afford.
A common mistake people make is ignoring this step and moving on to shopping. The reason this is a mistake is that often they’ll fall in love with a home. Once they’ve fallen in love with a home, they’ll scramble to get their financing together and then inevitably lose the house.
Contact your Realtor and have them introduce you to a mortgage broker if you don’t have one. Any good agent should have a few different options of mortgage brokers that can negotiate the best rates for you.
Get crystal clear on the type of home you’re looking to purchase; this includes size, location, age, number of bedrooms, parking, etc.
Understanding what you want will save you hours of looking at homes you don’t like. You may also save yourself money by minimizing the amount of time you experience out of the market.
Toronto’s real estate market moves quickly, and listings don’t last long. When you see a home you like, review it thoroughly online and book a showing with your agent.
It’s not unusual to see properties sell within one or two days in a hot market. Be prepared to act fast if you don’t want to miss out.
Use a Realtor
This one might seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many people shop for real estate with no agent. They assume they’ll negotiate their offers or “get a deal” by going directly to the listing agent.
The listing agent’s job is to get the most money and the best possible offer/outcome for the seller, not the buyer. They owe a fiduciary duty to the seller to negotiate the best deal for the seller.
The other reason some people don’t use a Realtor right away is the misconception around the commission. I’ll clear that up for anyone unclear.
Buyers do not pay a commission to a buyer’s Realtor in the province of Ontario. They agree that a commission is to be paid, but they do not pay it themselves; the seller’s brokerage does.
Note: Make sure you research your Realtor. Your Realtor should feel like an advisor and not a 90’s car salesman.
Using a Realtor is meaningful, accessible, and can save you a massive amount of money.