So you’re in the market to buy a house or condo in Toronto. You browse online listings, religiously hit open houses every weekend and visit dozens of homes with your real estate agent. How do you know which property is right for you?

The truth: real estate is an emotional decision. Most people ‘just know’ when they’ve found their future home. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take a time-out and do some rational analysis.

Last week, a client (clearly a business grad) shared with us his method of evaluating the condos we were looking at:

On a spreadsheet, he listed all the factors that were important to him and assigned a total potential points value based on the relative importance of each.  For example, in his condo search:

  • Private outdoor space was worth 10 possible points
  • Shared rooftop garden was worth 5 possible points

He ranked each of the top 3 properties we were looking at based on how much they satisfied his needs and wants. Continuing with his example:

  • Property 1: Extra-wide south-facing private terrace: 9/10 points
  • Property 2: Small juliette balcony:  3/10 points
  • Property 3: Shared rooftop balcony 5/5 points

He went through his top 10 criteria for each property, totaled it all up and determined which condo he should by.

A rational evaluation is a good idea – but of course you still need to feel connected to the house or condo you buy! Thankfully for our client, his rational choice matched his emotional choice.

If you’re looking to make a similar spreadsheet to help in your search for a Toronto house or condo, following are some examples of factors to include that may be important to you:

  • General features (size, layout, desired finishes, condition of the house)
  • Room specifics (number of bedrooms, number of bathrooms, eat-in kitchen, finished basement, etc)
  • Location (proximity to restaurants/shops, public transportation, schools, etc.)
  • Outdoor space and parking
  • Ease of resale and prospect for future increase in value
  • Price and costs relative to desired budget (closing costs AND monthly carrying costs)
  • If you’re buying a condo: common areas, desired amenities, quality of the building
Don’t be a victim of analysis paralysis – but buying a home is a big decision, and the more tools you have at your disposal, the better.

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