In my 15 years of real estate experience helping hundreds of buyers, you can imagine that I’ve answered a lot of questions. After all, buying a home is probably your biggest purchase, you need the deets.
What I’ve found from helping so many buyers over the years is that a lot of people have the same or similar questions. So if you’ve ever been nervous about asking a real estate question–don’t be! Someone else likely has asked the same thing in the past.
I’ve rounded up some of the top home buying frequently asked questions I get on the reg.
Have you subscribed to my YouTube Channel? I’m covering 7 home buying FAQs here, but you can watch the rest on my channel when you subscribe here!
1. Is Now the Right Time To Buy?
This is hands-down one of the most common questions I get asked. And you know what, the answer is different depending on who’s asking it. Let me explain.
Buying a home is a totally subjective experience. It depends on your unique goals. The right time to buy is actually the time that’s right for you.
But I know that’s not the answer you’re looking for.
Let’s take a look at the facts: is now a good time in the market to buy a home? Things seem unstable right now, but it’s actually a great time to buy. Even throughout the uncertainty.
Look at it this way. The past two years have seen the most competition ever for buyers and purchasing a property was like going to war. Today, the market has softened and you have the opportunity to do things like get a home inspection, think about your purchase before making an offer, or even submitting an offer BELOW list price.
You read that right! Buyers haven’t been able to do that for years.
Interest rates are rising, and they are likely going to go up even more, but even so, it’s a great time to buy.
Consider this: when interest rates go up, so do rent prices, so even if the market goes up again, buying a home this year will put you in a way better position than signing another year-long lease.
Curious about the Toronto real estate market? Read my post about what’s going on the market right now here.
2. What is the Best Time of Year to Buy a House in Toronto?
Back in the day, real estate was seasonal. People would traditionally buy homes in the fall and the spring and the winter and summer months would be a little quiet. During the pandemic, that went totally out the window and it was just busy all the time.
What we’re seeing now is a return to the seasonality of real estate in Toronto. Prices always tend to go down in the summer, which is what we’re seeing right now. Real estate is not a straight line up and down, it’s more like a rollercoaster with peaks and valleys.
As a result, the best time of year to buy, is kind of impossible to predict. No one knows when the market has reached its peak until it’s on its way back down, and no one knows when it’s reached the bottom until it’s on its way back up.
The saying goes, “You Cannot Daytrade Real Estate.”
So if the time is right for you personally and you have the money and you’ve found a great home. That’s how you know the time is right.
3. What are The Best Areas to Buy a Home or Condo in Toronto?
Let me start by saying that I am a little biased. I lived in Fort York for over 9 years and it’s hands-down one of my favourite neighbourhoods.
You can even read my blog about it right here.
But the reality is that the best places to live in Toronto are the ones where you will be able to live your best life. Do you love nightlife? Maybe King West is great for you. Are you looking for high-value? Homes along the subway line are typically insulated from price fluctuations and perform well over time. Are you looking for an investment? Properties near Universities are always in demand.
I always dive deep with my clients and do a Needs Analysis to find out exactly what you’re looking for and then cater your search based on these factors.
4. How Do I Know if a Home is The One?
Well, first of all. I’ll know. I can always tell when someone has found The One because their energy changes. They can start picturing themselves living in the home, raising their children, painting the walls, they’re mentally picturing their furniture in the space and planning their housewarming party.
However, I also coach my clients that there will likely never be
a home that’s a 10/10 home run. There are almost always going to be some compromises you need to make. If a home ranks 7.5/10 or higher, that’s a pretty good indication that you should make an offer.
I notice that most clients look at 10-15 homes before finding their house soulmate, so if you are looking at more than that, you might need to revisit some of your requirements and adjust your expectations.
Looking for more Toronto home buyer resources? Check out these blogs:
- Stop Trying to Make Firm Offers Happen–A Guide to Conditional Offers in Toronto
- Buying a Home in Toronto in 2022: Mission Impossible?
- To Buy First or Sell First: That is the Question
5. When is the Deposit Due?
Deposits are different from down payments. A deposit is a sum of money that is due 24hrs after your offer is accepted. It’s held in trust by the seller’s brokerage until closing and it’s usually around 5% of the purchase price.
Since you need a pretty quick turnaround time, it’s important to have that deposit amount ready to go in liquid cash before you make an offer. Online banks like Tangerine or Simplii often take a little longer to move cash, so you need to prepare in advance.
6. What is a Typical Closing Date?
This one also varies on the market. For example, in a Buyer’s Market, sellers will want a longer closing date between 60-90 days. That way, they can search and buy a house of their own. In a strong Seller’s Market (like the one we were in earlier this year) it’s more common to see closing dates of 30-60 days.
It’s all super specific to the market, the season, and what the specific buyer needs.
7. Should I Save 20% to Save on CMCH Mortgage Insurance?
You’ve probably heard that if you have less than a 20% down payment, you will need to add mortgage insurance to your loan. Some people are totally against having to pay that extra fee, so they will do everything they can to not pay it.
This might mean waiting longer to buy to save more or getting your parents to give you a top-up loan to get past the 20%. However, I’ve found that first-time buyers are rarely able to come up with the full 20% on their own.
And you know what. That is totally fine.
Even though they are peaks and valleys, the real estate market is always going up with time. Sometimes it’s not the crazy gains we’ve seen as of late, but it’s pretty much always going up. You will soon realize that your capacity to save is totally outpaced by the growth in the market. So even if you move in with your parents and stop buying avocado toast (like all those helpful articles claim), you will still likely struggle to save enough.
Purchasing a home with mortgage insurance isn’t the end of the world. In fact, it’s not even a lump sum. It gets blended into your mortgage so you won’t even notice paying it. The money you will save and the equity you will build from buying sooner rather than later will greatly outweigh any benefit you get from waiting longer to save that cool 20%.
However, if the home you are buying is over $1 million, sorry but you don’t have a choice. You need 20%.
Interested in buying a Toronto loft? Here are a few blogs to get you started:
- Toronto Loft Lingo and Who Actually Buys Them–Spilling the Tea!
- Ew David! 5 Loft Turnoffs You May Not Have Considered
- Toronto’s Most Iconic Loft Conversion: The 411 on Tip-Top Lofts
8. Condo of House: Which is a Better Investment?
If you’ve been bitten by the investor bug, you’re likely asking yourself if you should buy a condo or a house. Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons.
- A house often does better as an investment and appreciates faster than condos
- You may have the potential to rent more than one apartment in a house.
- If you have more than one apartment, you can live there too!
- You will have more maintenance and repairs–no question about it.
- You might not be able to get as much rent as you could for a sexy new condo in a hot building.
- With lower rent, you might not attract the same AAA tenants you are dreaming about
Do you have more questions? Check out my YouTube Video right here to see the full FAQ!