Home Buying Tips From the Folks Who Fix Them
It’s been said many times, and it’s true: buying a home is very likely the most significant financial commitment you will make. Many who have recently accomplished this goal, however, are not happy.
Did you know that no less than 80% of homebuyers regret their purchase? These were the disturbing findings of a survey of 2,000 U.S. adults who were at least 25 years old and possessed a driver’s license. For many of them, this was the first time they had made such a purchase. Why did so many Americans soon regret what must first seemed like a dream come true?
As home prices in Toronto continue to soar, we’d like to offer home buying tips that will help you make the right purchase the first time.
Surprisingly, the majority of the respondents were disillusioned with their purchase because of issues that they should have known about in advance.
Arguably the most important of our home buying tips is to do your homework. This seems like a rather obvious bit of advice, and someone might easily respond: “Where do I start?” For the answers, we’re going to look to the survey’s respondents – the real, everyday people who found themselves in the situation we want to help you avoid.
No less than 25% of the survey’s respondents actually said that “they wished they had researched their new neighborhood or neighbors.” Fully 14% “wished they’d researched the local schools.” More than 20% wished that they had researched the local property taxes, and 22% “wished they’d researched homeowner insurance costs.”
What’s truly amazing about this is that virtually all of their issues could have been avoided fairly easily. Information about property taxes could have been obtained with a five-minute visit to a website like Realtor or from the real estate brokerage responsible for selling the property. Questions regarding homeowner insurance could have been answered by the real estate agents.
Information about the neighbourhood is even easier to obtain. People and Organizations in North Toronto (POINT) is a local non-profit group that provides detailed information about the city and its resources, including lists of hospitals and clinics, legal services, schools and much more. They even offer comprehensive maps showing where all of these can be found around the city – such as this one, showing the city’s transit stations and
Every major city – not just ours – has organizations like POINT that are dedicated to providing as much information about the community as possible, and finding them isn’t hard.
Before you finally purchase your home, you and your family should come together and create two lists. The first list will contain what you want your neighbourhood to have. The second will contain what you don’t want it to have. List the items in order of importance, and then hit the books – or the web!
The next of our home buying tips is simple: don’t believe what you see.
Everyone knows that food never looks as delicious as it does in commercials. It is very carefully prepared – or ‘staged’ – before it is placed before the cameras. The lettuce is greener, the tomatoes are redder and only the camera angles which best illustrate that will be on the air. The same is true for advertising property.
There exists an entire field known as home staging and as the name suggests, it’s all about making a home look as appealing as possible to prospective buyers like you. There were times when all this meant was a little cleaning and moving things around.
In other words, there was once a time when the savvy buyer could get some sense of what the home would look like without the stagecraft.
Nowadays, people will empty out all of their own belongings and then hire a professional staging company to give their home a full-scale makeover. They will invent open spaces where there clearly won’t be any, removing necessary appliances like microwaves and refrigerators. They make it look like a different house.
Some of our home buying tips might seem a little obvious. “Don’t believe the hype” isn’t great advice by itself, is it? So let’s look at it this way: when being led through a staged home, you’ll want to visualize your life and your belongings there. Analyze each room and figure out exactly what its purpose would be once you move in.
Start imagining where you would put your coffee maker and where your considerable movie collection will go now, because the beautiful furnishings and artwork the stagers have put there isn’t going to be there – your stuff will.
Don’t bum out, though.. your new house can look like that! There’s no reason you can’t see your favorite photos and artwork hanging on every wall. There’s no reason you can’t have beautiful furniture and beautiful furnishings either.
Odd Job can do all of that, repairing your space and then upgrading it – and unlike the illusory beauties installed by the staging companies, the changes we make to your space are there to stay!
Preparation is Key
Not all of our home buying tips are about avoiding a bad purchase. It’s equally important to be prepared when you find the right one. Imagine you’ve found the ideal home – one that could have come out of your dreams – but you end up losing the bidding war because you don’t have your financing worked out? It happens more than you might think. Ensure that you have a pre-approved mortgage before your house hunt begins. It’s very easy, and you can complete the process online.
Another of the most important home buying tips is to always get a home inspection. Many people think they’re saving a few hundred dollars – and they are, but they’ll be saving thousands if the inspection uncovers maintenance issues that will turn into larger problems if they aren’t addressed. This happens all the time.
Catch the small issues before they grow and you won’t need some enormous, multi-week operation to repair them. You’ll just need to arrange a visit or two by your friendly neighbourhood handymen!
Stay Savvy, Toronto
When you’re looking for a home, someone is also looking to sell you something. When someone is looking to sell you something, you have to keep your wits about you and ask questions. When you’re prepared, you know what you want, and you know what is being offered, you’re in the position to make a big decision – no regrets. Stay tuned!