What to look out for when buying a new home
8 house hunting tips for buying in Toronto’s red hot market
It’s no secret that buying a house in Toronto is an investment. In the midst of a global pandemic, the market has skyrocketed, with the average home in the city selling at a record-breaking $1 million. But not every home in the market actually lives up to its price tag. If you’re house hunting, these tips will help you make sure you get your money’s worth.
Think beyond the list price
The cost of a house doesn’t start and end with the list price. Things like renovations, remodelling, and repairs can quickly add to your expenses. Talk to your Toronto mortgage broker about whether it makes sense to make a sizeable down payment to secure great mortgage rates and conditions or pay down less upfront and pour the extra cash into upgrades.
Start from the very top
A beautiful home with a bad roof is a disaster waiting to happen. Before you put in a bid on a home, find out when the roof was installed and if it was recently damaged or repaired. Also, be sure to request a roof certificate and an inspection by a roofing specialist trained to spot the less visible issues average inspectors might miss.
Don’t pour money down the gutter
Eavestroughs might seem like a minor detail, but blocked or damaged troughs can cause major problems like flooded roofs, attics, walls and basements. It’s well worth the upfront investment to install gutter protection to avoid the headache and expense of repairing water damage down the road.
Avoid waterlogged basements
Basements give you a fantastic opportunity to expand your living space when properly maintained. Basement waterproofing is one of the most important things you should have done for your new home to avoid the costs that come with flooding damage. When viewing a home, check basement floors and walls for the telltale signs of leaks–cracks, stains, mould or puddles–to avoid shelling out thousands on foundation repair or mould removal.
Don’t skimp on the duct inspection
If you want your home to be cozy in the winter, cool in the summer and safe all year round, a well-maintained HVAC system is a must. Ensure any home on your shortlist has had the ducts properly inspected to avoid carbon monoxide leaks that put your family at risk or inefficient furnaces and A/C systems that will raise your hydro bills.
Choose quality over style in the kitchen
Kitchens are one of the go-to spaces sellers renovate to add value to their homes but remember that your kitchen needs to be just as functional as it is beautiful. The costs associated with a kitchen renovation can add up quickly, and this is why it’s important that the initial state of the kitchen is not overlooked. Pay special attention to the quality of the appliances, whether there is adequate storage and cabinet space and a smart layout when you are viewing the house. Make sure to have the plumbing and electrical inspected as well to ensure that they are also in great condition.
Be wary of damp bathrooms
Just like kitchens, bathrooms often get a facelift before houses hit the market. But this is another space where quality should outweigh aesthetics every time. The bathroom renovation in your dream home should cover proper ventilation to avoid grout and mould developing on the walls and ceilings. You should also check for leaky pipes and fixtures that lead to water damage.
Take a hard look at hardwood flooring
If a house you’re considering has hardwood flooring, there are a few things you should check for before you buy. Watch out for dark stains or sunken planks that usually indicate moisture and mould issues. Giving special attention to flooring in basements, crawl spaces, closets and under carpets and rugs can ensure you catch any damage that is often hidden in those spaces. If in doubt, ask the homeowner or realtor when the flooring was installed or last repaired.
Keeping these details in mind as you navigate the housing market in search of the home will leave for the best home buying experience you can give yourself. Invest in a property that fits your needs and comes with safe conditions and no surprises.