The start of a new year is always a time to take stock of your life, think about your hopes and dreams, and start planning how to get there. Resolutions to reactivate that gym membership, eat healthier, and give yourself more ‘me’ time are a great start. But the new year is also a smart time to think about your real estate goals for the future.
Are you finally ready to buy your first home? Are you going to sell a condo and take off travelling the world? Or maybe it’s time to start thinking about down-sizing for yourself and or someone in your family? Remove some of the clutter from the family-home, and move into something a bit smaller, a bit more convenient.
The Best Time to Start is Now
Whatever your goal, January is a perfect time to start thinking about how to reach it. One big factor to consider is your financial outlook for the new year. Gurpreet Thind, Director of Finance and Business Development at Condos.ca, offered some advice on this topic.
One thing you should be thinking about is financial management. Matching your RRSP to reinforce your savings for a down payment and mortgage. There are helpful management tools out there, such as Mint.ca that can help you create and maintain a personalized budget and tips on how to save money.
In the spirit of planning your new year, we’ve gathered pieces of advice from our team of Condo Pros to help you get started.
Real Estate Advice + Tips from the Condo Pros
Andrew Harrild, Partner and VP of Sales: “Understand price-per-square-foot”
“Given the growth we’ve seen over the last 12 months in the condo market, it’s more important now than ever to understand and analyze the market on a price per square foot basis. There are still good deals out there for sure. But you need a solid understanding of price and price per square foot on a neighborhood level, building level, and for an individual listing.
Our team thinks about real estate in this way every day. It’s the best way to navigate this market and understand prices in a way that ultimately adds value to the bottom line.”
Shauna Arthurs: “The winning strategy is about teamwork”
“Information and communication are the keys to winning in this market. The right realtor will ensure you know what you can afford and will have done enough legwork to know exactly what you like and want, so you are fully prepared when it becomes available. Things move very quickly—properties often sell the day they are listed—and having winning strategies in place is critical. You should be a team, working together to achieve the goal of getting you the home of your dreams!”
Ryan Wykes: “Don’t wait to buy . . . Buy now and wait . . .”
“Even if the market were to hypothetically fall 10% a year from now, you’re better off if you buy now. If the market continues on its current trend and is up another 15% before the drop, you are still up 5%. If you buy now and the market does fall, it will come back up. If you buy and can wait through the lows, you’ll always make money in real estate.”
Rachel Hitlal: “Know your costs, plan to meet them.”
“The cost to buy and to own a home are two different costs that you should know in advance of making a purchase. You now have secured your mortgage—what next? You should find out what the property tax for the current year is and what the phased-in property tax is so you are not caught off-guard with unpredictable costs. Bookmark the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC) website to learn as much as you can regarding your property taxes.”
Andrew Ezeard: “Work within your whole budget.”
“Don’t lose a unit over a few thousand dollars. It’s good to have your budget in mind, but don’t be afraid to “overspend” by 10-25k now. In the current market, you will make that back in a few months. If you lose in multiple offers by 10k, the next unit of similar size, floor height, and quality will now go on the market higher. You will never pay less for a condo than you will right now. It’s important not to forget that. On the other hand, don’t spend more than you have. If you make an offer, make sure you can close on it or the consequences could land you in hot water.”
Danielle Kun: “Do your homework and don’t be afraid to ask questions.”
“I’ve worked with many buyers in purchasing condos as well as larger suburban and estate homes. The one common thing I’ve noticed in all my first-time home buyers is how overwhelmed they get with the amount of information they don’t know about the buying process.
It’s important to have a good understanding of the process before jumping into a deal. I always recommend having a thorough conversation with my clients prior to looking at any properties so you know exactly what to expect when it comes time to buy.”
Cyrus Ghazvini: “Buy larger now, win bigger later”
“With the statistics we are seeing from our site in the last 6 months, I believe that 2 bedroom condos will be the next housing craze. 3 years ago, I would see large $700,000 lofts and condos sit on the market for an average of 20 – 30 days. Now they are being snatched up within a few days, as those same people who could have otherwise afforded a semi-detached in Lawrence Park a couple years ago, can’t afford residential freeholds anymore. My best advice for investors and would-be buyers is to purchase larger units if you can afford them. They will be in great demand even if residential housing hits its threshold.”
Gloria Yeung: “Toronto is the place to be.”
“Over the next year, the market may experience a slowdown. But on the positive note, you have 140 nationalities living in Toronto and relatives and friends are immigrating here all the time. Toronto is ranked as the 3rd best city to live and work in around the world. U of T is a top university in Canada and many students come here from all other provinces. Parents are buying condos for their kids. Many people also come here to work in the financial sector. Empty nesters are downsizing and moving to the downtown core. Toronto is the place to be.”
Gilad Katan: “Know what you want and we’ll help you find it.”
“I feel that working with a Condo Pro is the best tool because we know condos more intimately than anyone else. We all have our neighbourhood of expertise, we know building managers and the character of the units.
Using Condos.ca and a Condo Pro can be like crafting your own beer with a brewing master. You tell us the ingredients you like, the flavour you are craving, and we will come up with a delicious result…”