1. secrets for home buyersSome Sellers are using drop-cams to record what happens when potential Buyers are viewing their homes. They might not appreciate your opinions about their decor and might be more than happy to know how much you want to pay for their house. Don’t say anything in the house you wouldn’t want the Seller to hear.
  2. In our experience, the average person looks at 15 properties before making an offer. Of course, some people fall in love with the first house they see and others, not until the 40th. You’ll know when you’ve found the ONE.
  3. When you go visit your new home the first time after buying it, you’ll second guess yourself. With the staging cleared away, it’ll be smaller than you remember and you’ll see scratches and cracks you didn’t see before. This is totally normal. Fear not-you’ll fall back in love on your next visit.
  4. Between the time you buy it and you take possession, you’ll become a stalker. You’ll go out of you way to drive by it and Google it endlessly. And that feature sheet? It’ll be worn and tattered by the time moving day arrives.
  5. In Toronto, you often don’t get the keys to your new home until after 4 pm on closing day. Your lender needs to transfer the mortgage and your lawyer needs to transfer the title into your name before any keys can be released. Legally, Sellers have until 5 pm to move out. Don’t plan your move on closing day unless you’re OK with moving at night.
  6. You’re entitled to the house in the same condition as it was in on the day you bought it. Unfortunately, the Seller doesn’t owe you a house in perfect condition, and they don’t need to fix anything that was already broken on the day you bought it. If something happens in between the day the agreement is signed and closing day (for example, the furnace breaks, the floors get scratched during the move out or the basement floods), then the Seller is responsible to fix it before closing day. But they don’t have to fix the broken bedroom closet door that’s been broken since 2006 (even if you didn’t notice it was broken).
  7. Most Agreements of Purchase and Sale require that the Seller leaves the home in “broom-swept” condition. That means different things to different people. While many Sellers will do the right thing and leave you a nice clean home, you might want to allot some cleaning time (or better yet, bring in cleaners) before you move.
  8. Your mortgage is conditional on you getting home insurance, and the bank won’t advance funds on the closing day until you provide proof of insurance. Don’t wait until the last minute to get insurance-if you run into any issues (knob and tube wiring, etc.), this could delay closing.
  9. Between the time you agree to buy the property and take possession, you’ll likely visit the home a few times to show family, take measurements or plan renovations. The most common fight we witness during the revisits is about curtains and blinds. I have no idea why it’s such a contentious issue, but it is. Be prepared.
  10. Test out everything on the day of close. In most cases, your Agreement of Purchase and Sale requires that fixtures and chattels (eg appliances, furnace, A/C, light fixtures, etc) be in working condition on the day of close. It’s critical that you check EVERYTHING on that day: run the dishwasher, check the furnace, wash a load of clothes, etc. If something doesn’t work on the day of close, the Seller is responsible to fix it. If it breaks the day after, the responsibility and costs pass to you. Don’t be like those REALTORS (confession: I’m talking about Brendan and I) who didn’t take their own frequently-spouted advice and found out a week after close that their new washer/dryer didn’t work (because they weren’t installed-it was actually impossible to install them where they were located). That was an expensive lesson.
  11. Pro tip: bring in a handyman to deal with that endless list of little stuff you’ll want to fix right away and won’t get to if you don’t do it the week you move in. When we moved into our new house last year, our handyman spent 4 days with us – we even got him to hang all the art on the walls. Money well spent and time well saved.
  12. Househunting is actually only a small part of what your REALTOR does, so if you found the home you want to buy on your own, your agent’s job is really just beginning. Your agent still needs to do their due diligence on the house, determine fair market value, prepare the offer, negotiate terms that protect you, coordinate the deposit cheque, attend the home inspection, deal with any conditions in the offer and coordinate with your lawyer and lender. They’ll be with you up until the date of closing (and long after, if you’ve found a good agent).
  13. Nobody feels good the morning after a bidding war. The Buyer, who won wonders if they overpaid, how they will tell their parents they paid $200K over-asking and will be forever wondering what the other bids were. The Buyers who lost will question their decision not to throw in another $5,000 to get the house of their dreams…what’s another $20 a month? Misery all around, really.
  14. You’ll probably continue to look on realtor.ca for a few months after you buy, just to be sure you made the right decision. You’ll probably ask your agent for sold prices for the next few months too. That’s OK. 
  15. Moving day is going to suck no matter how excited you are about your new home. Hire professionals. Have plenty of alcohol on hand. And take a deep breath – it’ll all feel amazing in another few weeks.


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