How To Prepare Yourself To Buy A Condo in 2018

Preparing yourself to buy a condo can seem daunting! Mortgages, down payments, different neighbourhoods, and what the heck is going on in the market are all things you're thinking about right now. Luckily we've got you covered. With the year coming quickly to a close it seems, we wanted to help you get prepared for buying a condo in 2018.

Here are 3 things that you should prepare yourself for in the coming year.

You'll likely be able to afford less

As we ring in the new year we are going to be ringing in some new mortgage rules too. If you're putting down under 20% these new rules aren't going to impact you, but if you're someone who's been saving for years to have a 20% or more to put down... this is going to impact you big time.

The new rules are going to include a stress-test for those putting down 20% or more. This will obviously impact how much money you can borrow to purchase your condo. It's best to speak with a Mortgage Broker now to figure out the ABC's of your situation.

A Mortgage Broker will be able to let you know what you are eligible for right before January 1st, 2018 and after January 1st, 2018. The average person is going to see their budget slashed about 20%, so keep that in mind if you got a pre-approval in the past, as your maximum purchase price will be changing come the new year.

Pick the right area for the long-term investment play

If you're thinking about buying a condo in 2018 DON'T buy in the hottest neighbourhoods like King West, Leslieville, Yorkville, or other current hotspots.

These neighbourhoods are obviously great and offer an amazing lifestyle to those that call them home, but if you're looking to have your property appreciate more in value, you'll want to focus on the up-and-coming pockets of the city for condos. 

This doesn't mean giving up the urban lifestyle or living in a bad location, it might just mean you don't have all the trendy restaurants on your doorstep or 5 Starbucks within 3 blocks (but a brand-new Starbuck's opening in the area is probably a good thing). Our team of condo experts can help you spot the up-and-coming pocket that's right for you.

Shortage of Good Units

If you're looking for the best of the best, be prepared to pay for it in 2018. Our prediction is that the best units will still get top-dollar. If you're looking for a larger condo (2 or 3 bedrooms) or something unique, you'll likely have to compete for it still in 2018.

Toronto has a real shortage of larger "family friendly" units, which means those looking to stay downtown and not escape to the boring suburbs, have less inventory to choose from to begin with. If you're someone who is thinking about moving up or downsizing you're likely to be met with some competition from other buyers.

On the flip side, this does create some opportunity for those who are willing to look past the bad on the "ugly duckling" units and see the potential of turning an outdated condo or beaten-up rental into an urban oasis personalized to your liking.


Obviously, it's impossible to predict the future entirely, but the 3 points above are solid advice given the long-term market trajectory for Toronto's condo market. 

The most important thing for anyone thinking about buying in 2018 is to get your finances in order immediately and get your team of professionals organized to help you with your search. Your Real Estate Agent and Mortgage Broker are important people to help you navigate the realities of the shifting market and mortgage environment as we enter 2018.

5 Factors that Impact Your Home's Value

When it comes to home values everyone knows the basics. Everyone knows that the location (the golden real estate principle), number of bedrooms, and the condition all affect the home's value. Everyone recognizes that a large estate home in Rosedale will always be worth more than a 400 sq.ft. studio in North York.

There are however smaller factors though that homeowners often overlook when comparing their home to other properties. Some of these overlooked factors can have a big impact and need to be accounted for when figuring out what your Toronto home or condo is worth.

Here are 5 factors that impact your Toronto home value that you may not have considered.


1. The worst (or best) house on the street

Everyone has heard, "it's always good to have the worst house on the best street". This is usually true but there are exceptions to this rule.

Having the cheapest, or the most expensive, home in a neighbourhood can make it harder to sell. People have an expectation of what type of home is in a particular neighbourhood. If your home is not like the average home in your neighbourhood, it can make it harder to find a buyer or command the highest price possible for your property.

Being average when it comes to real estate and achieving FMV (fair market value) for your home is easiest if your home fits what buyers are expecting to find. This doesn't mean the nicest house or the worst house won't sell, it just means it's harder to achieve outstanding results on those properties.

 
The Doll House - Leslieville neighbourhood in Toronto

2. Sketchy neighbours next door

The properties around your home can impact the value of your home too. If your neighbours partake in keg stand contests or attach weird stuff to their home, it's going to reflect poorly on the perception people have of your home. The last thing a buyer wants to see when approaching a house for sale is a home covered in dolls...

The photo above is 100% real and the house is located in Leslieville... imagine being the neighbour trying to sell with this next door.... 

We've all seen Neighbors with Zac Efron and Seth Rogen too. It may have been funny to laugh at their neighbour woes in theatres, but imagine if that was your life.

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Hopefully you have neighbours that maintain their property, aren't noisy, and respect those around them. If those are your neighbours, it's probably having a positive impact on prices in the neighbourhood. Thank your neighbour next time you see them and don't forget to cut your front lawn to do your part in keeping up neighbourhood appearances.

 
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3. The Starbucks Effect

Want to know where values are likely highest and will appreciate at above-average rates? Simply look where Starbucks is opening new locations in your city. Why? It's been proven that Starbucks locations in your neighbourhood have a positive impact on prices, the rate at which properties appreciate at and homes even hold their value better during a market correction when a Starbucks is nearby.

It makes sense when you think about it, Starbucks is a multi-billion dollar company with almost 27,000 locations worldwide that sells coffee beverages for $10. Being able to spot real estate trends and get into neighbourhoods as they are starting to gentrify is smart business for them.

So next time you're sipping on that $8.00 non-fat Chai latte triple whipped beverage on a Sunday morning, don't feel too guilty... the coffee shop you're sitting in is good for your property value!

 
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4. Technology in the home

Most people don't think much adding smart home technology until something breaks.

With younger generations jumping into the housing market today, having modern technology like WiFi thermostats or remote-controlled lighting, can impact the value of your home.  Adding this tech to your home doesn't cost millions. Most items are very affordable.

A good quality WiFi thermostat starts at under $200.  When you factor in the savings, it's a no-brainer, EcoBee reports an average savings of 32% on your heating and energy bill. Plus let's be real, how great is it to be able to lower the temperature from the comfort of the sofa. WiFi thermostats are also easy to install in most homes. I recently installed one in my condo myself and it took me less than 15-minutes. If you aren't the DIY type you can get it installed same-day with a service like Jiffy on Demand.

LED lighting, WiFi connected light switches, WiFi connected video doorbells, and smart motion sensors are all great additions that can usually be set up within an hour. These devices make life a little easier and can save you money on your monthly bills.

These little things can also make your home stand out from the competition when selling. Plus, it's really just cool to be able to say, "Hey Siri, goodnight." and have the lights turn-off and the thermostat temperature lowered "automagically".

 
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5. How the home is marketed

This is probably the most overlooked factor in real estate today. The marketing strategy is what drives buyers to the home in today's marketplace. Without a real marketing plan you'll run the risk of not getting your home in front of the right buyers.

In today’s modern world newspaper ads and postcards are out! 
 

Your home needs to be promoted to people based on how they are looking for real estate. You need high-quality photos, professional video, 3D virtual tours (like the one below) and quality written copy for the home.

Without these things in today's world your property is likely getting overlooked by buyers, as 98% of buyers are looking online for their next home. Whoever you list your home with, make sure that agent has a strong understanding of today's marketing best-practices.

 

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