Buying a Home in Toronto? Here’s How to Find Good Value.

So, you’re ready to buy a home in Toronto. You have a feel for current prices, know what you can afford, and have the funds in the bank to take your next step. Congratulations are certainly in order, but you haven’t secured your dream home just yet. Before you dive in, it’s important to identify the right opportunity—and in a market as competitive as ours, that can be a challenge.

Interested in learning how to get the best value for your home-buying dollar? Here’s what you should keep in mind as you begin the search for your ideal living space…

The Toronto Market, Right Now

Few feelings are as satisfying as knowing you’ve arrived. There’s just something about being able to afford a beautiful property in the city you call home.

At the same time, there’s no denying that you face a lot of competition in the Toronto market.

Right now, low inventory is one of the biggest challenges for home buyers. This October, the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) found that new listings were down nearly 10 percent from the same month last year. Even more alarming is the fact that there are close to 20 percent fewer properties on the market overall. At the same time, home sales have risen by 4 percent. This is a trend that’s set to continue.

The bottom line? We’re seeing a surge of buyers in Toronto, and the supply they have to choose from is dropping. As demand rises, home hunters are more willing than ever to shell out large sums of money for real estate that meets their needs.

The good news is, there are still plenty of opportunities out there for savvy buyers—you just have to know where to look.

Finding Opportunities

Finding your dream home (and good value) in the Toronto market is possible. It’s all about foresight, strategy, and entering your search with a practical mindset. Here are a few things to keep in mind.

The Cost of Turnkey

Be aware of the premium you’ll pay for a fully-renovated space. There’s typically far more value to be found in properties that require a bit of work than those that are move-in ready.

Fortunately, an agent with an eye for design and thorough home-building and renovation knowledge can help you find a property with true potential—one that can be customized to your unique tastes.

How Much “Home” You Truly Need

It’s true that supply is low not only when it comes to single-family homes, but condos and townhouses as well. That said, under current market conditions, you may find that it makes good financial sense to explore your options.

If a luxurious townhouse could serve your needs (and your lifestyle) just as well as a detached home, you might want to consider broadening your search.

Your Neighbourhood Matters

Given current supply levels, expecting to find the perfect home in the heart of your favourite neighbourhood may not be realistic. Luckily, Toronto is full of vibrant communities to suit every aspiring homeowner—and many of them are of the less-costly, up-and-coming variety.

An agent who knows this city intimately can help you find a neighbourhood that meets your criteria. They’ll help you balance affordability with critical factors like infrastructure and access to transportation.

Consider Off-Market Properties

Real estate that flies under the radar can represent a big win for buyers. The best example is homes that aren’t listed on the multiple listing service (MLS). Getting access to these properties can mean less competition, a lower-stress purchase, and (of course) great value.

The same is true of homes that haven’t benefitted from effective marketing. An experienced agent who’s well-connected can help you discover off-market listings—and homes that may not be expertly promoted, but hold potential all the same.

Buyer Beware

In Toronto, bidding wars aren’t uncommon—and they can be both frustrating and disappointing for buyers. That’s why it’s so important to understand hold-back dates, and how some sellers’ agents use them to drum up multiple offers. This tactic entails pricing a home below market value, then refusing to look at any offers before a specified date.

All too often, buyers who have no chance of winning wind up getting seriously invested in the process. Your agent should be able to spot these scenarios and advise you accordingly.

Luxury is a Mindset

It doesn’t matter if you’re looking for a $5 million mansion or a fixer-upper with strong potential. If it’s a home on Toronto’s real estate market, you’re bound to face certain challenges while looking for it.

Before you start the search for your dream property, find the right agent. You might want to consider working with a solo professional (as opposed to a full team). An individual agent will make you priority number one—they’ll dig deep into the market, and draw on close real estate connections to help you find that one-in-a-million opportunity.

Whoever you decide to work with, make sure they have a strategic approach to buying, advanced neighbourhood knowledge, and the capacity to help you take decisive action. Armed with these advantages, they’ll be well-equipped to help you overcome market challenges—and start creating the lifestyle you desire.

Ready to buy a home in Toronto? Get in touch to learn how I can match your needs with the perfect market opportunity!

Adrian Mainella

Adrian is an innovator, a problem solver, and a trusted expert in Toronto real estate.

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