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.