The Canadian Real Estate Association has announced its forcast last week and prices are expected to go up throughout the Fall season. Demand is strong as ever which is great news for the sellers but buyers will have a difficult time with competing offers and bidding wars.
Summer of 2014 has been another season of record breaking sales compared with 2013. Due to the long winter at the beginning of the year, sales have kept their momentum throughout the summer after a hectic spring season. Here are Housing Market Charts for GTA. Here's also a short clip from the Toronto Real Estate Board.
1. Make sure you can afford the mortgage.
You might fall in love with a property because it’s your perfect dream house, but if you aren’t able to pay for it because of unforeseen circumstances or because your mortgage financing doesn’t get approved, then it’s not the house for you. Take the time to visit a mortgage broker ahead of time to determine whether it’s affordable for your financial situation.
2. Make sure you get the best mortgage rate you can.
Your mortgage preapproval doesn’t have to be your final number. Shop around, talk to a few mortgage brokers and see what the best rate you can get is.
3. Take your time – there’s no rush.
The purchase of a home is one of the biggest and most important decisions you will make. Take your time and see as many places as you need to before you agree to anything. Viewing a number of properties will better inform you of what you’re looking for. On the other hand, if you find the perfect home on your first visit, consider it seriously and don’t discount it just because.
4. Examine the structure of the home, like where the common walls are.
Especially in the case of semis, townhouses and condos, you should factor in how many shared walls you will have and which ones they are. Is your bedroom sharing the same wall as the neighbour’s family room? You may find noise a problem in the future if you don’t notice these things right now. Also look at things like garbage chutes, elevators and stairwells.
5. Take a close look at what utilities are covered in the condo fee.
The fine print’s important because not all Toronto condos will include A/C, electricity or heat. Go over the bills and be aware of your costs ahead of time.
6. Play close attention to taxes.
Ask the seller what the last few tax bills have been. In some areas, houses are re-appraised and taxed at higher rates more frequently than others. In some municipalities, schools are funded substantially through property taxes, which means your might increase regularly.
7. Consider the commute.
The commute is an important part of your everyday life, and it’s important to weigh the benefits of cheaper and farther versus expensive and closer. Obviously, ideally it will be cheaper and closer!
8. Create a checklist and take pictures.
Most condo buildings ask for a damage deposit in case you damage something when you are moving in or out. To ensure you aren’t wrongfully billed, take a look through the path the movers will use. Document any bumps, scratches or damages ahead of time. Take photos and write details down.
9. Scope out the neighbourhood on nights and weekends before signing anything.
When you visit the property on a weekday, it might be quiet with ample parking, but it may be a different story on a weekend or night. It might be a good idea to visit your potential neighbourhood before you find out that there’s a club next door and it’s party central.
10. Explore the surrounding area.
Especially if you’re moving into a whole new part of the city, you may not know that close by, this cozy little neighbourhood backs into a sketchy part of town. If the home is close to a fire station, police station, airport, hospital or railroad track, expect to hear trains, planes or ambulances throughout the day and night.
Our office is having an annual garage sale on May 10, 2014. Bring your family and friends over and support the Royal LePage Shelter Foundation.
For families that are looking for new homes, finding out about the quality of the schools nearby is most likely one of the top priorities. There are a number of resources you can look into to see the ratings of schools in the neighborhood you’re looking for, including school report cards by the Fraser Institute (http://www.compareschoolrankings.org), EQAO and demographic information provided by the school boards themselves, and other information on the internet. For example, here’s an interesting article about a few schools in Toronto with perfect marks.
At least three more big Canadian banks have joined Royal Bank in quieting reducing some of their mortgage rates.
After home sales ramped up late in 2013, Canada’s housing market should continue to favour sellers for the first part of 2014 before balancing out for the rest of the year, Royal LePage says.
Making the decision to sell your house and move is not always an easy one. There are a number of factors to consider, and the condition of the housing market is definitely one of them. Here’s a link to an article that suggests that this spring, it might be a good idea after all.
We’ve all seen enough home-reno shows on TV to know that a little bit of renovation can go a long way. However, there are smart ways to put your money into renovations that will get more “bang for your buck”.