Now there’s a loaded question! (Yet I’m asked it all the time.)
“How many houses should I see before buying, Karyn? One? Five? Fifteen? Fifty?”
My throwback? How many dates should you go on with someone before you kiss them? How many episodes of ‘House Of Cards’ is too many to watch in a row? How much money should you have in your savings account before you’re 30? How many wedding dresses did you try on before your buy one?
Such a personal question! With no concrete answer.
‘How many houses should you see before buying’ you ask? Or condos? Guess what. There is NOOOOOOO answer to this question. Because every buyer is different.
I have clients who buy the first day out. I’m one of them. I bought my first house that way. It was showing #4 on the first day out and the offer went in that night. Happily lived there for 3 years before selling. My second time around at buying? I think at least 40 properties were seen. Last week I had a client buy on her second day out. Last month I had someone buy after his 50th time out. Some people see a lot. Some people don’t.
What it comes down to is your level of expectation, your level of reality, the time of year you’re looking and your level of research before going in.
The average amount of time — at least from what I see — is somewhere around 1-3 months for condo buyers, and 3-6 months for house buyers (it takes longer for house buyers because of the education process in offering over-asking amid multiple offers and often times losing a few times before actually winning the buy).
A word to the wise. House hunting is fun but it is not all glam like TV shows make it out to be. By your fifth showing it’s going to start to feel like work. It’s also not financially smart to unnecessarily prolong the process and ‘window shop’ for too long since the market is rising so fast that the house sold yesterday will be less than the house that sells even two weeks later.
My Tips To Streamline Your House Hunting Process:
- Get a feel for potential neighbourhoods you could live in and what the vibe is like even before you call your Realtor. Yorkville is for some people; Leslieville is for others. Go drive around, make reservations at restaurants and get to know where you can imagine yourself. (PS – talk to your Realtor. She can help expedite this process as a neighbourhood expert)
- Identify your lifestyle. Where do your friends live, where do you work, what do you do for fun? Is the neighbourhood you’re looking at complimentary to all that?
- Go visit your friends especially the ones who live in buildings you haven’t been in before. Snoop their home by making sure you get them to give you the full tour. (Judge their building. Could YOU live there?)
- When you’re in your car on the streetcar or going for a run, look at buildings. What appeals to you more? Big and glassy in Distillery District, low rise boutique in Leslieville, tall townhouses in Cabbagetown or residential old gems in Riverdale? (Cross reference this with your budget of course).
- Make a list of your must-haves. Separate the ‘would-be-nice-to-haves’ in another column
- Seek your Realtor’s advice. A great Realtor will be able to ask you the right questions to help you narrow your focus and your expectations right from the get go
- Know your budget. Go consult a mortgage broker, get the facts, and then have your Realtor send you listings at that price point so you can compare and contrast starting from in home in front of your computer
- Recognize that the perfect property does not exist.
- Sometimes the first property really is the one.
- Recognize that it’s love at first sight for some people and others it’s not quite that obvious.
And then the next question they ask is…. “How Do I Know If It’s The One?”
Dear lord…..that’s a whole other blog entry………………………………