Realtor Shauna Arthurs Serving the GTA

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First Time Buyers: How to Get the Best Home for the Best Price

first time home buyer tips torontoAre you ready to buy your first home in Toronto or the Greater Toronto Area?

Having worked with many first time home buyers, I know that this is an especially exciting time but that it is also nerve-wracking. So many questions, so many unknowns. Having some sound strategies and a good, patient and thorough Realtor by your side will make the experience more fun and less stressful.

Saving as much money as possible should be high on your list as well, since owning a home is indeed an unknown, and you cannot be certain what your daily/monthly life will look like in terms of unanticipated expenses, etc.. As with any purchase we make, when buying a home for the first time getting the best possible price and value is paramount.

There are many ways to save money – both up front and over time – when buying your first home. Here are a few ideas:

  • Financing: Since your mortgage rate and terms have an enormous effect on your monthly payments and how much you pay overall – the differences can be in the tens of thousands over the life of a mortgage – it is imperative to search for rates and terms that suit you. There’s more to a mortgage than just rates; features count too, such as extra payment options, portability, and penalties.
  • Location: Often with first time home buyers, expectations are high and budget is limited, which can lead to disappointment. In my experience, first time home buyers start out with a ‘must’ have list that includes features and location, but soon find they must be willing to widen the search. Having a Realtor who truly listens to your wants and needs will pay off: after getting to know you and listening to your feedback while we visit properties, I can invariably get to work and unearth a gem that is unexpectedly perfect for you. This means that instead of just showing you the few on your wish list (I know you can’t stop looking at the MLS! :) ), I will look at other options, such as private sale homes, homes which haven’t sold, bank sales, neighbours of listings on streets you like, etc.. I always have buyers come back saying their home is absolutely perfect for them and they never would have found it with a basic MLS search. Overall, be open to your Realtor’s suggestions about neighbourhoods and homes you may not have considered; that advice should include resale considerations, as many first time buyer homes are not forever homes but rather starter homes.
  • Finishes/Condition: Especially in a hot market, many homes get more than one offer from eager buyers, and this can frustrate buyers who really want to purchase but get beat out, possibly multiple times. By employing strategies for unearthing homes as in the point above, I can often help you save money – and heartache – by negotiating with an owner who is also eager to move, rather than someone who has multiple offers to choose from. Sometimes homes sit on the market for reasons I can see but buyers can’t, and some little fixes are all that are needed to turn a home from a dud to a gem. Negotiating a great price on a property like this leaves more room not only for your monthly payments but also your resale value: it’s a win/win!

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“My wife and I had set out to buy our first home, our starter home, but have ended up with a gem that could potentially be our forever home. Our place needed a little love before we moved in, which is how we got it for the amazing price we did. Shauna helped us see through the horrible paint job (“crayon green”) and the excessive use of mirrors (I counted 24 in our three bedroom house, four of which were floor-ceiling mirrors throughout the dining room!) to see the potential in this consistently overlooked property.” ~ Sara & James (full review)