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Donal Ward-McCarthy
Sales Representative

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Frequently Asked  First Time Buyer Real Estate Questions in Toronto


1. What Real Estate Agent is best for me / you?

2. What property can I afford?

3. What mortgage should I get? My bank or a mortgage broker?

4. What type of home should I buy? a house or a condominium?

5. Should I buy Preconstruction or Resale?

6. How do I choose a Lawyer?

7. What is the Process of buying a home?


1. What real estate agent is best for me / us?

An agent who is patient and has a great ability to communicate every stage of buying your first home. I am that realtor who is very passionate about the first time buyer process. These are not just words. Read my blog on why I love working with people starting out on the road to home ownership.

(click here to read "Do you remember your first time?)

Also there is absolutely no reason why one wouldn't use the experience and guidance of a professional since it is the seller who pays the agent when you buy. So all you have to do is find an agent whom you'd like to work with as you're about to spend a lot of time with them looking at places.

Other important questions for your prospective realtor;

a). Are you a full time agent or a part time agent? (Big difference, ask why?)

b). How long have you been a full time agent?

c). Do you own your own home?

d). Can they provide you with some numbers of previous first time buyer clients?

Finally, ask yourself, do you trust the agent your are considering? Like when I am selecting a tenant for one of my investment properties, once all due diligence is done, I ask myself, what does my gut tell me?



2. What can I afford?

This a very early step to take before looking at any homes. It lays out the parameters of what you can and can't afford and will help shape your decisions around what and where you ultimately buy.

Both your real estate agent and your mortgage specialist can help you with questions such as:

a). Fixed, Variable, Opened and Blended Mortgages - what does this all mean and which one for me?

b). Interest Rates - where are they going and where can I get the best rate?

c). What will my monthly payment be, can I afford it? Banks like to see your monthly housing costs to be about 32% of your gross monthly income.



3. What mortgage should I get? My Bank or a Mortgage Broker?

a). What type of Mortgage? This is a very individualistic question and really depends on who's asking. Are you risk adverse? How long are you hoping to stay in your new home? etc etc. As you can see, very specific answers based on the individual(s) and their goals.

b). Bank or a Mortgage Broker? I regularly encounter first time buyers who wish to use their own personal banks as their financier without really understanding the benefits of using a mortgage broker. Simply put, a bank can only offer you their own products whereas a broker has access to all the different financial institutions' products. They'll also have access to more creative lending products. This may be advantageous if you are self-employed for example.



4. What type of home should I buy? a house or a condominium?

Your agent will be able to guide you here and will show their experience in ascertaining you and your lifestyle, trying to find the work and social balance for you based on price and location preferred.

Such question as follows are good starting questions;

a). The responsibilities of tending to a home i.e. shoveling snow, maintenance etc, how do you feel about these?

b). Are you planning on having a family one day?

c). Where do your family and friends all reside?

d). Where do you work? currently what is your commute? do you wish this time to be decreased or are you okay with it being a little bit more?

e). Describe what you like to do on weekends?

f). What amenities do you absolutely need close to your home?


I could go on and on with these questions but I believe you get the idea. It's getting to know you and who you are that helps me as an agent find you the right home for sale.


5. Should I buy Preconstruction or Resale?

Ask these questions to help determine which of these or both might be options for you;

a). Do you wish to know and see exactly what your are getting for your money?

b). Timeline? Are you comfortable waiting a few years before moving into your new home?

c). Do you wish to be able to negotiate the purchase price of your home?

d). Ask your realtor what are the risks of buying preconstruction versus the risks of buying resale?

read my page on 5 key tips on buying preconstuction homes in Toronto.



6. How do I choose a lawyer?

Ask your realtor for a few referrals and interview them. Ask them questions about;

a). Their costs?

b). Do they mind providing a retainer letter for the services?

c). Do they practice only Real Estate Law?

d). How long have they been practicing Real Estate Law?

e). Do I trust them?




7. What is the process of buying a home?

So now you're ready to rock n'roll and find your new home! Ask your real estate agent what the entire process is going to look like once you've determined all these above steps.

An agent's job is to be patient here and explain everything along the way.

Ask your agent do they have a booklet or material that you can read ahead of time to help you get ready.

click here if you would like my informational booklet entitled: "7 Stages of Buying Your Home"


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