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Buyer questionsI had so much fun with the Buyer Q&A last week, that I’m dedicating another blog to answering Buyer’s burning questions about Toronto real estate.

1. Do I need a real estate agent to buy a home?

No. You can buy a home by yourself, with the help of a lawyer or with a real estate agent. Real estate agents represent Buyers and are paid by the Seller. They can help protect your interests by providing guidance on neighbourhoods and specific condo buildings/houses, negotiate prices, help with obtaining financing/home inspections/contractors and have in depth knowledge of unique Toronto issues like termites and knob and tube wiring. Of course I’m biased, but if you’re about to make the biggest financial investment of your life, wouldn’t you want to do it with someone who lives and breathes the real estate market every day?

2. How much is the deposit for purchasing a house?

When you make an offer on a house and it’s accepted by the Seller, you’ll be required to give the Seller a deposit within 24 hours in order to make the contract legally binding. Deposits form part of your downpayment, and while the deposit amount varies, it’s generally around 5% of the purchase price in Toronto. The deposit is the Seller’s guarantee that you will fulfill your obligations in the offer (in other words, take possession of the house).

3. Should I wait to buy a house in Toronto?

That depends on what you’re waiting for. If you’re busily saving for a downpayment or waiting to get a salary increase in order to be able to afford the house or condo you want, then waiting is a good idea. If you’re waiting because you want prices to come down, recognize that’s a risky proposition unless you have the ability to predict the future. We’ve had Buyers who have been waiting for prices to come down for years and can now no longer afford to buy a house.

4. I wish I could buy a house.

Does typing in your wishes and dreams into Google make them come true? If so, Dear Google, I want to win the lottery. I wish I was younger and skinnier. I wish my husband loved me as much as the dogs. But in all seriousness, if you want to buy a house, get your finances in order and consult with a REALTOR to find out how to make it happen.

5. How much does a house cost in Toronto?

House prices vary depending on location, size and features/finishes. If you’re looking to buy in downtown Toronto, you’ll need at least $500,000 (unless you want to do a lot of renovations); to buy a condo, you’ll need at least $275,000. The further you move from Toronto’s downtown core, the less expensive prices will be.

6. Who is the best real estate agent in Toronto?

That depends on how you define ‘best’. REALTORS differ in the neighbourhoods they know, the type of properties they sell (condos or houses), the amount of experience they have, the number of homes they sell and of course their overall approach to their clients. Decide what’s important to you, ask your friends/relatives for referrals and of course give us a call. If we don’t think we’re the best real estate agent to help you find what you’re looking for, we’ll put you in touch with someone who is. We have relationships with all kinds of agents all over the GTA.

7. What does ‘+ bed’, ‘pets perm’ and ‘0 beds’ mean on an MLS listing?

REALTORS love their bad acronyms. A ‘+ bed” is a room that isn’t officially a bedroom, usually an office or den. “Pets perm’ means pets are permitted in a condominium building or rental. ‘0 beds’ means the condominium is a studio or bachelor apartment and doesn’t have a separate bedroom. For more info on reading the MLS listing, check out How to Read an MLS Listing.

8. What happens if I waive the financial condition and then don’t get financing?

Bad, bad things will happen. You NEED to confirm your financing during the conditional period, otherwise you risk losing your down payment and getting sued. There’s no point in having a financing condition if you don’t take the opportunity to make sure a lender will give you a mortgage during that period of time.

9. If I buy a pre-construction condo or townhouse, do I have to pay land transfer tax?

Yes. Buyers always land transfer tax even for a new home.

10. Where is the cheapest place to buy property in Ontario?

It’s definitely not Toronto.


Still have questions about buying a home in Toronto? Ask away in the Comments below!

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