Toronto is one of the hottest housing markets in Canada, with an average sale price of one million dollars in 2021. Recently, home sales have seen a decline which is good news for those who are house hunting in Toronto!
Now that the house-buying frenzy has calmed down, it is the perfect time to hunt houses in the busy streets of Toronto. There are tons of options available for your move to Toronto, ranging from detached and semi-detached homes to townhouses and condos. Before buying a home on a whim in Toronto, you have to take into account certain factors. Is the neighborhood safe? Do you have easy access to everyday essentials? Which areas in Toronto are a no-go?
Let’s dive into what to look for (and what to avoid) when house hunting in Toronto.
What to Look for When House Hunting in Toronto
House hunting is not just about looking for a place to live in. You have to consider the whole locality, neighborhood safety, fair pricing, and much more.
Proximity to your everyday essentials
Suppose you rely on the Toronto subway for your daily commute, and you end up buying a house in the outskirts of the city with no access to a station. Doesn’t match, right?
Based on your lifestyle, your new house should be in proximity to your everyday essentials. If you are a professional who likes to dine at highly rated restaurants and enjoy the nightlife, a condo in Yonge-Eglinton will be a better option than a classic detached home in Bloor West Village.
Having all the everyday essentials nearby will save you tons of time and money. So, next time you go house hunting, make sure you look for your everyday essentials nearby like your favorite restaurants & bars, public transit, workplace, school, daycare, and hospitals.
Not every neighborhood is safe to live in Toronto. Depending upon the condition of schools, per capita income, and state of houses/buildings, the safety can vary.
If unsafe members occupy the majority of homes and schools and unemployment is at its peak, chances are you might face adversity sometime in the future.
Forest Hill South is one of the safest neighborhoods in Toronto, with an average rate of assaults of 17.4 per 10,000 people.
Look for fair pricing in the home you’re buying
Buying a house is one of the most important financial decisions of your life. People often go for extremely low-priced houses and regret it later. The same goes for a ridiculously expensive house. Both of these extremes are considered a poor investment in the long run.
Before making an offer to purchase a home, you have to find the sweet spot considering “what you want” and “what you can afford.” While doing all this, you must avoid getting into a bidding war. A seller might go for a lowball listing in hopes of selling for more than the asking price.
The solution? Hire a good real estate agent, conduct your own research (Google has everything!), and trust your gut feeling.
Look at the cost of the property taxes
Toronto has the lowest property tax rate in Ontario. Your total cost of property tax will be based on the property’s assessed value, residential tax rate, educational tax rate, and city building fund.
So, when buying a home, be it a house or a condo, you must consider that the property tax will vary depending on the home’s assessed value. If your house goes up in value, so does the property tax and vice versa. For instance, you will pay, on average, $6000 annually for a $100 000 house.
Look for a storage unit
Properties in Toronto are small and so you might have a hard time finding space for everything you own. Some houses come with backyard sheds and some condos come with storage units. These storage units are very important so that you can store essentials like bikes, tires and all sorts of other things you don’t want to display in the main living area.
Look for reasonable condo fees (if it’s a condo)
You will have to pay a monthly condo fee that covers maintenance, utilities, amenities, and other miscellaneous charges. This fee varies depending on your neighborhood, size of the unit, age of the building, and the type of amenities in the building.
It’s important to look for reasonable condo fees as the average cost of condo fees in Toronto ranges from $0.50 to $1 per square foot. It can go over $1 for some affluent neighborhoods.
Look for amenities (if it’s a condo)
When you are hunting for a condo, you must check if the necessary amenities are being offered. These include additional security, gym, event space, outdoor garden, car wash area, swimming pools, and more.
What To Avoid When House Hunting in Toronto
House hunting is not straightforward. Here are some things you should avoid when house hunting in Toronto:
Avoid house hunting on your own: get the help of a real estate agent
Finding the right home in Toronto is like looking for a needle in a haystack. You can find the listings online, and the thought of saving commission by NOT hiring a real estate agent might feel tempting, but without an experienced person, you won’t get the best deal.
Toronto’s real estate market is the hottest in the region, and one cannot fool around by lowballing and adopting other shady tactics. Instead of house hunting on your own, a real estate agent will help narrow down your options, save time with negotiations, lower your expenses, and help you get the best deal.
Avoid bailing out cause it’s too small
Toronto is a jam-packed city with a population of 6.25 million. More people are moving into the city each day. Toronto’s current condo size is 40% less than what it used to be in the 1990s, with an average of 647 sq. ft. So even if it seems small, but you like everything else about it, don’t bail out!
Avoid skipping the mortgage pre-approval
You want to position yourself as a top buyer in Toronto’s property madness, right? Having a mortgage pre-approval increases your chances of grabbing the deal and helps you assess your current financial standings. There are tons of banks in Toronto with different mortgage plans so make sure you compare the top ones.
Avoid neglecting a home inspection
Don’t neglect a home inspection as it is where you actually dissect the whole house, spot issues, and forecast future costs. A home inspection includes both exterior and interior inspections, covering everything from the roof and foundation to plumbing and HVAC.
Avoid moving scams by getting an authentic mover
Getting an authentic mover for your move to Toronto is a must. There are so many moving scams out there, you definitely want to avoid overpaying due to hidden fees. When looking for an authentic mover in Toronto, search for a moving company with good ratings (over 4 stars), who is dedicated to customer service and who has good insurance.
In the End, Trust Your Gut.
House hunting and then moving to your new house is hectic. You consider hundreds of different factors, conduct home inspections, and whatnot. While it’s important to do your due diligence, you will still have a couple of similar options after a tedious house hunt.
In the end, trust your gut and go for it. The whole process will allow you to make the right decision, and you also have your awesome agent by your side.
Toronto is a big city, and the housing market has been a rollercoaster ride in recent years. With tons of options available now, you must be extremely cautious as one wrong move can cost you thousands of dollars.
Conduct your own research, visit the neighborhoods yourself, and check if all the necessary facilities are available. In summary, don’t just rely on your real estate agent for everything. Now that you know what to look for (and what to avoid) when house hunting in Toronto, you can easily find your dream house in your favorite neighborhood.
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