FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

When considering buying your first property, the foremost questions are:

  • I think I want to buy something. Can I? Should I?
    You first must decide whether it is beneficial or not to your lifestyle.
    If you are a renter, the entire rent is going to your landlord and nothing comes back to you in terms of equity.

    If that is fine now, will things always be the same?

    Building equity has to be one of the major reasons for buying property.
    If we were all independently wealthy, would anyone buy property?

    Of course there would be people that would buy one property, but there will always be someone out there that wants to buy more and more building an empire is in the nature of some people.

    If you are raising a family, should you buy to give your children some stability and consistency or should we move on a regular basis moving them from school to school? Tough questions that will play a role in all of your lives.
  • Is it easy to buy?
    Realizing that this is probably the largest investment of your life, it is prudent to make sure you have enough information to proceed. From that point on, it is really deciding on a strategy for a lifetime. Buying a first home may or may not be your last purchase.

    Whether or not you can afford to buy what you want is a very important issue. "I want a 4 bedroom house with Central Air, an indoor pool, double garage, big yard, ravine property, huge family room." Sounds wonderful!

    What you can afford? Starting with current assets, you take your savings et al and will be aiming for at least 5% of the total Selling Price of the property. This is an absolute minimum!
  • What should I do first?
    Start by deciding what money you have to work with be it savings, RRSP's or family assistance. (In some cases, company assistance.)

    Then you find out what amount of mortgage that you can afford to carry.

    Next step Location Location Location! Where to live? That is decided only by experience with neighbourhoods, friends, relatives or your own understanding of where you want to live.

    Next step would be to make a list of what you want in a property. Detached home, Semi-detached, town house, condo.

    Once you decide what you think you want, then you have to find out if you can afford it in the neighbourhood of choice.
  • Who has the right answers?
    Everyone is an expert in real estate. At least they think they are.

    Agents work an average of 10 to 16 hours a day and a lot of them do nothing but real estate. These are the people that have the answers.

    First let me say unequivocally that I have most of the answers for you. :) But then a lot of other real estate agents have good answers as well. The difficulty is knowing the agent and knowing that they are doing the best for you.

    There are some agents that think that they are the greatest thing since sliced bread. (Run away quickly.)
  • Who can tell me the questions to ask?
    Hopefully this will ultimately be yourself. I do not profess to have all answers here, but if this works for you, you should be able to ask yourself as many questions as I can answer. I also hope that I can ask you some questions that will make you think of other questions to ask yourself and or your agent. It doesn't hurt to write them down as you go along. At least that way, if I can't answer them in the following pages, you will have a bunch of questions to pose to someone else.
  • Who is the best agent for me?
    Me of course! :) Some agents are very good at pulling you in as a Buyer. They are somewhat like the Sirens. If you are ready to buy, then this type of agent you will know. If you are just starting out and find yourself putting an offer on a property in less than a week or two, then it is obvious that the agent has you convinced that you should buy. Do yourself a favour and keep your money in your pocket until you have seen at least a few places.
  • Can I afford to buy what I want?
    Tough question. Unless your bank account is rather full, try to avoid the 5% solution of buying something with only 5% down. It can be a staggering financial drain if you push yourself too far. Maybe you should start with a more modest home, buy and sell a few places before getting to that dream home that you would love to have.
  • Do I want a dream home or do I want any old thing to start?
    Your call here. As I said in the previous paragraph, maybe your dream home is a little further into your pocket than you can afford. I guess then you may decide to go with a more modest start electing to build your way to that special home. If you can get it now, that is OK too. One can look at the process as a long term business plan. If you have children now, are you in the right area for the schools that you want? Ask yourself more questions. As long as you don't answer yourself out loud, you should gain some insights. :)
  • How do I decide what neighbourhood I want to live in?
    It certainly makes my job easier if you know where you want to live. In the late 80's, people were grabbing anything that they could get their hands on and subsequently, they are only now getting back what they paid for their home. Prices have risen close to 89 prices, but what is more important, is the fact that an upgrade can still be affordable if you are at the right place at the right time. There have been a lot of bidding wars in the past year. Mainly due to lack of product. A lot of people after the same property because they all want the same thing. There are some areas of the city that are more desirable than others and those areas are the ones that command the highest prices. e.g. Yonge Davisville to Lawrence and above. Bathurst to Bayview and Leaside as well. Absolutely prime areas with the best demographics for professionals in the city.
  • Can I afford to live in the neighbourhood that I want?
    Target the area you want. If you can't afford it now, then buy something that you know will appreciate and in two to five years sell with a mind to move to the area that you want. The most important bit of information that I can offer you is - Don't buy the best house in the worst neighbourhood. Better to buy a product that has no negatives and will be easy to sell when the time is right. Always remember that a detached house is more desirable than a semi or an attached home. Townhouses are a good start IF the complex is in a reasonable neighbourhood. (What is reasonable??) Call me and we can discuss.
  • Should I take whatever I can get or whatever I can afford?
    Both! You are after the best buy in the best neighbourhood. Don't go over your budget unless there is an excellent buy in a better neighbourhood. If something is 10 to 20% lower than comparable properties, then there will be a fight for it. But keep trying. This has happened with a few of my clients in the past few years. They have missed on a few and then managed to get a good deal because we caught everyone napping.
  • Do I know enough to proceed with this endeavour?
    If you haven't been exploring home or condo ownership seriously over the past few years then I highly doubt if you are capable of making an informed decision. A lot of people rely on agents to tell them what to do. Some people don't want to take the time to find out for themselves and thus will buy according to what the agent says. An informed buyer has looked at dozens of properties and when the "right" place shows up on the market, they make a decision to buy so fast that it would make your head spin if you haven't seen it happen.