First Time Home Buyer
Shopping around for a condo can be an exciting time, especially for first time home buyers. Mixed emotions are present and sometimes significant decisions are made on the spot. During this time, there are numerous things to keep in mind, yet it is easy to get sidetracked and forget what is most important.
In this blog post, I want to cover the three biggest mistakes I see first time home buyers make, when purchasing a Square One condo. I will outline each mistake, identify the common false belief which is then followed by the true fact.
1. Shopping For A Condo Using Only MLS – MLS (Multiple Listing Service) also known as www.realtor.ca is a great starting point for anyone interested in a Mississauga condo. In fact, over 92% of all properties that sell are listed on MLS. However, before any condo is placed on the MLS system and is accessible to the public, it is first placed on www.torontomls.net- a database only accessible to Realtors. Through this internal system, a good portion of real estate properties are sold before the public has a chance to place any offers on them.
False belief: “I do not want to hire a real estate agent when looking for a Mississauga condo because it’s going to cost me a lot of money”
Fact: Almost 99% of the time real estate agents do not charge their clients who are buying a property through them. The real estate agent’s commission is paid out by the seller of the property, which the buyer is purchasing. The other 1% (of the time) were commission is due by the buyer, is when they are under a BRA (buyer representation agreement) contract and the real estate agent introduces them to a property which does not pay the specified commission in the BRA. Most commonly this applies to private sales known as FSBOs.
2. Not Hiring A Real Estate Agent Who Knows The Area – Anybody who has a real estate license in Ontario, is permitted to trade real estate anywhere in Ontario. RECO and REBBA actually prohibit real estate agents from calling themselves “experts” in any particular field or area. However, a lot of the top performing agents like to focus their resources and time on one particular area and by doing so inevitably become the “community experts” . Having a focused approach translates into having a Realtor who understands the community at question. For those seeking a Square One condo, hiring a Realtor familiar with the City Center area, can make the new condo searching more pleasant, educational and save you time and money.
False belief: “My uncle, who is a real estate agent in Toronto, will help me find the best possible deal on a Mississauga condo.”
Fact: Having a distant Realtor in the family is great when you’re selling, but not so good when you’re buying. Any agent can take any property, do a CMA (comparative market analysis) and put it up on MLS for it to sell. However, it takes a lot more skill and practice to answer specific questions a buyer may have about a certain neighborhood. For example, here are some questions you may want to ask your Realtor when seeking a new Mississauga condo: “When was the building built?”, “Who was the builder?”, “How does this condo compare against other condos in the area?” In my opinion, hiring an agent who focuses on one particular area results in a great customer service experience and it saves the client time and money.
3. Not Knowing The Terms Of Your Mortgage – A lot of people get obsessed with finding the lowest possible interest rate on a mortgage. I have seen deals fall apart because clients were upset that the interest rate was 0.10-0.20% more than what they have anticipated. This type of difference in percentage translates only to a few dollars a month. Instead of being solely focused on your interest rate, talk to a mortgage specialist and inquire about the conditions placed on your mortgage. Do you have an option for pre-payment? Can you pay more if you want to? What is the penalty to terminate the mortgage term early? By no means am I a qualified mortgage personal, however, all of these are vital questions you should be asking.
False belief: “I’m going with the cheapest mortgage rate on the market, because that is going to save me the most money in the long run.”
Fact: As stated above, YES, mortgage interest rates are important when buying a Mississauga condo. However, what if you get a 5 year mortgage term and after only 3 years of living in your condo you are forced to sell? Do you know what kind of early termination fees you are faced with? These fees can go up to $20,000 or more! Do your homework.
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Thursday, May 24th, 2012 and is filed
1. Buying a Condo Based On Its Interior/Décor – When you are purchasing a Mississauga condo, you are not buying what is inside the unit but the unit itself. You need to look past the furniture, wall colours and décor and focus on square footage, as well as measuring the unit to make sure that your possessions fit how you envision your unit to look like at the end.
2. Waiting Until Spring To Sell Your Condo – Sure, spring is a very busy season in real estate, however, your condo will sell for its value the rest of the 365 days. It is simply a myth that it will sell quicker in the spring time. People purchase all year round. Just ask yourself – Do people move to Mississauga in the winter? Of course.
3. Not Having A Real Estate Agent – A real estate agent will make sure that your property is listed on MLS. Otherwise, other agents will not know that you are selling your property. At the same time, a realtor can explain everything to you and ensure that you get a fair value for your property. I often see Square One condos listed for sale privately for long periods of time without success. Not surprisingly, the moment the seller lists their condo with an agent, the property ends up selling quick.
4. Purchasing What You Want, And Not What You Need – Before you purchase your next Mississauga condo, you should ask yourself – “What do I need?” This could be, for example, a bigger closet, a larger master bedroom, maybe a balcony etc. It is a good idea to write some options down and tell your real estate agent what you are looking for.
5. Looking At The Perfect Kitchen/But Forgetting Your Finances – Sometimes, we like a property and it’s perfect. Perfect kitchen, big balcony and a spacious master bedroom. Yet, what we should really do first is get pre-approved for a mortgage. Keeping in mind how much we can spend, we can hunt for the perfect property that fits the budget.
6. Believing That Your First Offer Will Get Accepted – The Square One condo market is hot and you cannot expect to make an offer and immediately get the property. This should not discourage you.
7. Being Indecisive – It’s the first property, you like it, but you do not put on an offer because you believe you will find something even better. This way of thinking will make you lose your dream home. It’s never going to be perfect, a 100%. If you like everything but the kitchen cabinets, then you should definitely go for the unit. The cabinets can be upgraded.
8. Trying To Time The Market – Waiting for the best prices in order to buy, or sell. One may be able to predict the market at the minute, or a few months down the road but not in the future. If a financial crisis hits the country or a tornado hits, anything can happen. If the market was predictable a lot of us would be millionaires.
9. We Have To See The Condo To Buy It – This applies to Mississauga pre-construction condos. Developers sell units before the project is complete. Some people say that they cannot use their imagination when looking at floor plans, and that they would rather wait until the condo is built and ready to move in. However, one should keep in mind that prices of units are higher once the condo is complete and ready to move in, as opposed to, when it’s in its first stages.
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Sunday, April 15th, 2012 and is filed
Over the past 2-3 weeks I have been working with several buyers, all looking for a condo at or near Mississauga’s downtown core. The universal problem I am experiencing is locating a property, that fits my clients’particular criteria and which doesn’t sell within the first 5 days, while on the market. By the time my clients get to see the condo, think it over and give me the “go-ahead” to make an offer; that property ends up being sold. Just last Saturday, I had 9 showings booked ahead of time, only to be told that there are no more viewings for 4 of those condos as the properties were already sold conditionally.
What does that mean for Mississauga condo buyers? The Mississauga condo market is hot and time is of essence. If you see a property you like, consider the fact that it might be off the market in a few hours. Also be prepared to go into a multiple offer situation and don’t be surprised if a unit ends up selling over asking price.
The next interesting fact which I would like to point out is the current residential locations of my potential condo buyers. I am having clients contact me from London (Ontario), Hamilton, Brampton, Barrie, Ajax and even Ottawa and Montreal, all hoping to find a condo in downtown Mississauga. When asked why they want to move to Mississauga, I am given a number of reasons ranging from economic growth to believing that Mississauga is a good investment in terms of both personal and private aspects.
This of course is a great sign that people do in fact want to move to Mississauga, since they see the city as, fast paced, expanding and hence with arising opportunities as compared to the city they currently reside in. I do expect this trend to follow in the coming months.
Questions?Comments? Please contact me.
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Monday, January 30th, 2012 and is filed
I often get the following questions asked by buyers looking for Mississauga Condos. What is the best condo layout? What is the worst condo layout? What should I look out for in a condo layout? I always like to say that it all depends on personal preference and style. However, some points are good to keep in mind.
1. Well managed layout – Space is not wasted. Example – too many hallways. Location of the washer/dryer should not be inside a bedroom.
2. Walls – Ideally two bedrooms should not share a common wall between them. It is much nicer to have one bedroom on one side and the other bedroom across from it.
3. Amount of lighting – Having a window in the Master bedroom for more lighting is a must. However, sliding doors where light comes through should be avoided. It is also essential to have lighting or extra lighting in walk-in-closets.
4. Kitchens – Open kitchen concepts have become very popular over the last few years. It makes the entire space look bigger and you are not shut off from view.
5. Spacing – Wide units appear to be more spacious and look great compared to long and narrow units, where you might feel like you live in a corridor.
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Monday, January 23rd, 2012 and is filed
When purchasing a brand new condo, also known as a pre-construction condo, there are a few things to look out for while deciding on the perfect unit.
1. Location – Once you buy any property, you may change many aspects of that property. However, one aspect that you can never change is its location. A condo such as the Absolute Towers at Burnhamthorpe and Hurontario, will be a lot more active and busy, than the Miracle at the west end of Mississauga. Do not be fooled by condo pictures as they are mere artist impressions. It is a good idea to take a look at the neighbourhood and see what is out there.
Therefore, the number one priority when purchasing a new condo in Mississauga is to decide on the lifestyle that you want, and to keep in mind the surrounding area.
2. The floor plan – Memorize your floor plan and take a look at already constructed market comparables. Over the years, condo suites got smaller, yet the price per square foot increased rapidly. In turn, condo developers started to play around with different aspects of floor planning, such as shrinking the size of the furniture on the picture layout. Therefore, what appears to be a queen size bed in the picture, is only a double size bed in reality. Also, a 600 square foot condo may look a sufficient size on paper; however, when built and ready to move into, some might find the space too small for their needs.
3. Pay attention to ceiling height – When buying a new Mississauga condo, know the difference between 8, 9 and 10 foot ceilings.
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Thursday, January 19th, 2012 and is filed
Attention Mississauga condo shoppers! The Mirage condos have now released their VIP agent sale. These are some of the best per square foot condo prices for a brand new condo in the Square One area. In my professional opinion, the mirage condos make a better investment due to the lower price rates, as compared to the condos down the block.
Mirage condos are located at the corner of Confederation and Rathburn in Mississauga. There are those who live, and those who live well. And finally, there are those who choose to live at the cutting edge of style, elegance and convince. Welcome to Mirage. A soaring statement of distinction, rising above the heart of Mississauga’s most desirable neighbourhood. A sleek, modern condominium residence that combines luxury living with a fine roaster of life style amenities.
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Saturday, November 26th, 2011 and is filed
Mississauga’s downtown core is very unique to say the least. It’s composed of over 40 condos, an array of office buildings, a few hotels, a library, two movie theaters, various places to dine, an outdoor entertainment park and in the middle of all this, a massive 300 store shopping mall – known as Square One. All it takes is a simple drive by Mississauga downtown to see that the two other major GTA condo markets (Downtown Toronto and North York) simply do not offer the same type of living as the one found in the downtown Mississauga.
On a more macro level, Mississauga has been recognized as one of the most ideal places to reside in the Greater Toronto Area. It’s conveniently located near various highways, which make a trip like the one to Toronto Pearson Airport a 20 minute breeze. From an economic point of view, 60 of the Fortune 500 companies base their global headquarters in Mississauga. Interestingly enough, many of those who work outside of Mississauga (such as Downtown Toronto) still choose to commute to work and live in the city they love. The city’s demographics have now reached a population of 750,000, with the biggest percentage increases found at the downtown core.
Given the above points, it is not a surprise that many choose Mississauga, more specifically the Square One condos, as their home. The condos found near the center of city include both older condos which offer plus size apartments as well as new developments which offer luxury and convince at a fraction of the cost of owning a freehold. Square One condos attract people from all ages and walks of life. Whether its the young 25 year old entrepreneur or the baby boomer who is looking to downsize and retire, the downtown condo market has something for everyone.
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Monday, November 7th, 2011 and is filed