The real estate market in the GTA has exploded, and it just keeps getting hotter. From the expansion of Highway 407 through Durham region and into Clarington, to the expanding Subway and Go train systems, the whole GTA is booming. Unfortunately, a hot real estate market can make it difficult for buyers to actually purchase a home. Here are a few tips to get your foot in the door!
If you don’t have a house to sell- great! Houses are flying off the market in record speeds, and many sellers won’t entertain offers from buyers who still have a house of their own to “unload”. They would rather not risk the sale falling through, and will instead take an offer with no strings attached. And in a market such as this- multiple offers are definitely a reality. So not having a house to sell is great from this perspective. On the other hand, if you do have to sell your home, it is a good idea to do so before you make an offer on that home of your dreams. Scary questions come to mind such as “What if I can’t find a house I love?” and “You mean I have to uproot my family to move someplace temporarily if closing dates don’t jive?” Yes, it can be a gamble. But moving in a real estate market such as the GTA’s is not an easy feat. Plan on securing a storage facility for your belongings and make plans to move in with friends or family temporarily if push comes to shove.
Affordability is an issue in this wild real estate market. Prices of homes have surged upwards, and they just continue to climb. If you have some equity in your current home, this will be helpful. If you are a first time buyer, and are having some difficulty with affording a first home, then there are some things that can be done to get the ball rolling. Consider looking for homes that have apartment potential, as rental prices have increased in the GTA as well. Live in one half of the home, and rent out the other. This income could be nearly your entire mortgage payment every month! The same goes for in-law suites- sharing the mortgage payment with your parents or other family members is a great idea. Also, as this will be your first home purchase, don’t look for your “forever” home (unless you have the finances to do so!). Buy a more affordable starter home, and get yourself in the market sooner rather than later. If you have a RRSP, cashing it in towards your down payment through the government’s Home Buyers’ Plan can be a great help. This plan allows you to take up to $25,000.00 from your RRSP’s towards a down payment, with the understanding that you will pay this money back to your RRSP over several years, or be taxed on it. See the Canada Revenue Agency’s website for more details.
Having a trusted real estate agent is very helpful in a fast paced market. A good agent will stay on top of things and alert you when new homes come on the market that meet your search criteria- even before they hit MLS. This gives you the upper hand when it comes to viewing properties and making offers. When you go to view a property you feel excited about, have a home inspector come with you and do the inspection then and there. Then you can eliminate the condition of home inspection from your offer. While you’re at it, secure financing through your financial institution ahead of time as well. By getting all your ducks in a row early on, it will allow the purchase of your home to go smoothly. If there’s a snag, it could mean the difference between getting that home of your dreams and the sellers turning down your offer.
Even though it can seem intimidating, moving in a fast paced real estate market is not impossible. A little planning ahead, and maybe a few compromises (the in-laws sharing your home, for one!), and you’ll be on your way to home ownership before you can say SOLD!