Thinking About Buying a Home? But Where Do You Start?

So you have been scanning real estate listings on-line for months trying to make sense of our Toronto housing market.    This can be a Herculean task for the uninitiated first time buyer.  You certainly have lots of questions and with the depth info available on-line it seems finding answers is like drinking from a damn fire hose.

Let me help you narrow the field.  Before embarking on any home search you have to define what you’re looking for.  To do this you need to answer 3 basic and preliminary questions:

  1. Location
  2. Price
  3. Housing needs

By knowing these answers you will create clarity by establishing the perimeter of your home search.  Without these answers you will one of lost home buyer souls who wander aimlessly across Toronto for months possessing a vague vision of…they’ll know it when they see it.

1. Location – Saying that you’re looking for a house in either Toronto Central or Toronto East is narrowing it down to half the city which like saying, “I want to buy a car, but I’ve narrowed it to be North American one”.  Don’t go down that old road with the Toronto Real Estate Board’s alpha/numeric codes of C3, W7, E2…you’re not calling Bingo but looking for a neighbourhood.  Be specific!  Leslieville, The Beach, Riverdale, Don Mills, Leaside, Danforth East, Liberty Village and if you want only certain streets then name them.  I know parents are very cognizant of ensuring that their child attends a coveted school, so you may only want to consider homes in a particular school’s catch basin.

2. Price – First off, your mortgage lender will be more than willing to provide you with buckets of money; however you have to decide how much of a mortgage you want to take on.  You’re the one making the payments, so establish a price range with a low end an upper end then stick to it.   The price you establish should be realistic in that the type of house you require actually exists.

3. Housing Needs – Whether it be a downtown condo, a semi or detached established Toronto neighbourhood home or newer detached home it has to fit your needs.  Whatever your housing needs life has a way to changing our priorities so try look around the house and see if you can say, “I can see myself living here for the next five years”.

The last piece of advice is this:  All three answers must be considered in their totality and not individually.  What I mean is the style of house exists in the neighbourhood you want at the price you have established.   Once your defined your needs you will be able to establish a focused search criteria, therefore eliminating a lot of a needless anxiety…and isn’t that a good thing.