Many popular perceptions about real estate are based on myths and half-truths, rather than facts. Aspiring first-time home buyers receive a lot of unsolicited advice, often from those lacking in real estate expertise. Let’s cut through the hype and look at five house-hunting myths to ignore on your quest to find the right home for your needs.
Myth No. 1: Spring’s the best time to buy a home
While it is true that spring is peak real estate season in Canada, that doesn’t make it the “best time to buy” for every first-time home buyer.
True, the spring market features the most selection, and timing-wise, a home purchased in spring allows for a summer move, when weather is mild and before the new school year begins. But for those who don’t mind waiting, there are definite benefits to winter house hunting.
House hunting in winter may offer less selection, but there’s also less competition from other buyers. Also, sellers tend to be highly motivated this time of year (think about it: why would someone sell in December, the slowest real estate month of the year, rather than May, the busiest?).
Myth No. 2: You can save money by not hiring a real estate agent
Your real estate professional can help you narrow down neighbourhoods, filter through comparables, navigate bidding wars and get you the best deal possible on your first home – saving you stress and money. From house hunting to closing, having a reliable pro by your side streamlines the process of buying your first home.
Myth No. 3: Look uninterested in the home you want
This strategy is one that can backfire quickly. While experts say you should never fall in love with a property until it’s actually yours, you shouldn’t go toward the opposite extreme with nitpicking criticisms or unjustifiably low-ball offers. While it’s fair to identify legitimate issues, such as a broken eaves trough or basement mold, critiquing the powder room paint colour is more likely to antagonize a seller than to bring them to the bargaining table.
Myth No. 4: – You can make a killing predicting the real estate market.
It is a matter of perennial debate whether hot markets will continue to sizzle or “the bubble will pop.”Experts consider Canada’s real estate market to be a balanced one overall and are not predicting any major disruptions.
The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) predicts that new mortgage qualification criteria, rising interest rates, and the foreign buyers’ tax in Vancouver and Toronto will cool the Canadian real estate market. But don’t expect any earth-shaking disruptions.
Ultimately, the best time to buy a home is when you’re financially ready to buy a home and it is more preferable to you than renting. Timing it to financially speculative criteria is to risk disappointment.
Myth No. 5: A heartfelt letter explaining why you love a home will score you major savings
This final myth does have a grain of truth to it. Anecdotally, real estate professionals report that a heartfelt “offer letter” has the potential to sway sellers. It’s unlikely to win you a home for below asking price, but it can have an impact in a multiple-offer scenario, where sellers may favour a potential buyer for sentimental reasons, like wanting to pass on a well-loved family home to a young family, rather than investors – sometimes even if their offer isn’t the highest bid.
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