Do's and Don'ts

Here is a list of do's and don'ts for the first time buyer when viewing prospective resale homes:

DO: Buy the worst house in the best neighbourhood!

There are many examples of negatives that apply here. For example, in North Rosedale, some properties back on to the railway lines. They will still sell because it is a desirable area. Some other areas mean major discounts for properties that have negatives. Even my own street which is Roselawn has some negativity because it is a busier street. - Houses will still sell because it is a desirable neighbourhood. So in my books, start with the best neighbourhoods that you want to be in and work from that premise.

The Neighbourhood

  • Do Look at the neighbouring properties. Compare the quality and curb appeal as well as upgrades. Does the house look as good or better than the others. It is difficult to get a good read on prices if the neighbourhood is a dog's breath of all different styles and shapes of houses. A subdivision done by one builder and full of consistent styles will give you about as accurate comparables as is possible.
  • Areas like Lawrence Ave and Yonge St. are very desirable, yet there are many poor quality homes in this area. On the other hand, Allenby School district has more consistent quality homes thus making it easier to get a good read on prices.
  • Do Check out the facilities, schools, access to transportation, shopping and anything else that is relevant to your lifestyle.
  • Don't Buy the best house in the worst neighbourhood. The best house in a poor neighbourhood can be difficult to sell as well.
  • Do Buy the worst (or cheapest) house in the best neighbourhood. Without going into too much detail, you will be much better off owning a property in a better neighbourhood because it will be easier to sell than the best house in the worst neighbourhood.

The House

Outside
  • Do Look at the outside. Exterior, landscaping, quality of maintenance, roof, windows, doors, walkway, driveway, road. There are many other things to look at and you must train yourself to look at all of these things and more.
Inside
  • Don't look at furniture! If you want to buy a lifestyle, then you have to offer a higher price which will include the furniture. You are there to look at the house. Check out the floors, ceilings, electrical, plumbing, closets, doors, lighting fixtures, plumbing fixtures, windows,... . I have seen so many people tell me about buying a house and not seeing the faults until after they have moved in. This can cost you dearly in financial as well as psychological terms. Critique everything mentally, then jot it down if you are interested in the house.

Familiarize Yourself with the Neighbourhood

  • Drive around the neighbourhood. Better yet walk!
  • Check out the demographics. Are the residents all professionals? If you want a family neighbourhood, haw many children do you see? What is the average age group of the residents? The children? Pets? Nannies?
  • Look at properties. Look at more properties.
  • Keep looking!
  • Then when you are tired of looking, look at some more properties.

I know that most first time buyers can be turned on to a property pretty quickly and that they will buy just as fast. Don't !Someone can tell you that you should hurry up and buy before you lose the property to someone else, but I will only say this. If you hurry too fast, you may regret what you have done later. There will always be another property.

Only an educated buyer should rush into a deal.Remember, agents are supposed to be Service oriented helpers, but a lot of agents are also driven by the salesperson mentality.

On the other Hand

  • Do not abuse an agent. 20 houses should be more than plenty to get the right perspective on what you want to buy. Do not check out the paper and run from one end of the city to the other like a chicken with it's head off. Start with a neighbourhood and stick to it until you either find something or want to move on to a different area.
There is nothing worse for me than to have a call from a Buyer who says "Oh Wow! I saw this great property in the paper and I want to go see it right away. It is really cheap and sounds too wonderful to be true."
Guess what it is an advertisement! It is meant to get you to call. For every one hundred ads that are such great buys, I know that most of them are already sold or else there is something radically wrong with the property such as Termites or the back yard is the 401 or The QEW.

Don't buy a house with a major negative! Whether next to a major highway or anything else. If you can avoid it do not buy it. A property with a major or even minor negative can be harder to sell.Taking into consideration the fact that you want a special neighbourhood at all costs, then a negative can become your positive.e.g.. In Lawrence Park the houses are $800,000 to $1,500,000 for a good 4 bedroom home. If you buy on Lawrence Avenue, the price for the same house is $500,000 to $700,000. Substantial savings for the same house with a negative. It is your call.Just call me and I can show you all of them! :)