Thinking of buying a house or condo in Toronto? Whether you’re scoping out open houses on the weekend or booking private showings with your real estate agent, here are our top 10 tips for happy house hunting:
- Make a plan. Toronto is a big city and if you’re like most people, you have a few target neighbourhoods. Try to focus on one area of the city at a time and don’t forget about traffic and the time it’ll take you to parallel park.
- Car pool. If you’re looking at houses or condos with a real estate agent, let them do the driving. Your attention is better focused on the actual neighbourhoods rather than when to turn left. If you’re checking out open houses, try walking or biking to them – Torontonians love open houses and street parking can be a drag.
- Wear slip on/slip off shoes. Seriously. You’ll be taking your shoes off dozens of times, so save yourself the hassle of lace up shoes. Wearing socks will also save you in the’ do-frat-boys-live-here?’ houses.
- Don’t just focus on the houses or condos, focus on the ‘hood. Drive around the neighbourhood. Locate the schools, parks and grocery stores. Take a walk down the street and check out the neighbours. Make a point of going to a cafe, restaurant or pub in the area. Not sure where to start? Click here to check out our Foursquare lists of the best spots in Toronto by neighbourhood.
- Vary the time of day that you house hunt. Everything looks better when the sun is shining, but it’s important to get a feel for the house or condo and the neighbourhood during the day AND at night.
- Experience the bad with the good. Every neighbourhood has its drawbacks, so make a plan to experience them. Thinking of buying house near the railroad tracks? Check it out during rush hour when most of the trains are running. Thinking of buying on Queens Quay? Make sure to check it out when there are throngs of tourists and roller-bladers jamming the streets.
- Take notes and photos. It’s surprising how quickly you can forget the first house or condo you saw. In fact, we’ve taken to giving our clients an iPad that they can use to take notes and photos of every property. And no, you’re probably not really allowed to take photos of other people’s houses, but it happens all the time.
- See past the gross. You’ll probably be surprised to find out how some people live, but don’t let someone’s bad decorating styles, outdated tastes and lack of housekeeping get in the way of finding your perfect Toronto house or condo.
- Don’t fall in love with the Seller’s stuff. This happens all the time and that beautifully staged condo won’t look nearly as great with all your IKEA stuff in it. Try to imagine your own furniture and style.
- Remember your wish list. One of the benefits of looking at lots of houses and condos is that it helps you know what you like and what you don’t. You’ll discover new neighbourhoods, designs and architectures. It’s OK to fall in love – just make sure that it still matches your original priority list.
Looking for a house in Toronto can be fun, so strap on your shoes (the slip-on kind of course) and get to it!