Welcome to Toronto where the ‘Spring Real Estate Market’ starts when it’s still -20C outside. Yup. Right now, this very second, homebuyers across the city (by the boatload I might add) are out scrolling through listings and out on showings. There was a Christmas cooling off of the market the last couple weeks of December but now that the New Year has rolled in, the heat is back on. These Buyers that are out? Lemme tell you something: These guys are mad serious; willing to brave even a polar vortex for the home they want. And truth? If you’re a Seller and you’re smart, you’re are out there capitalizing on this. In year’s past the Spring market started in the Spring like it’s name suggested – after the flowers had come out and the grass had grown back – but Toronto in the last couple of years doesn’t wait for flowers. And so I share with you tips (that you will soon thank me for) for how to survive winter in Toronto if you’re buying or selling a house (or condo) before the frost thaws.
Why get the hunt started in this frigid weather instead of waiting until a more balmy March or April? Because it’s a Seller’s market, baby. The longer you wait, the more that place you want to buy is going to cost. It’s a simple matter of appreciation. We saw an average of 8% growth in Toronto last year (in some pockets A LOT more) and if this year is anything like last, the more time you wait, the less of that appreciation on your new found purchase lands in your pocket. Something else? Interest rates. The only way they can go is up. Let me be honest with you too. If you’re in the market to buy a house, you may need to be prepared for losing out amid multiple offers multiple times which eats up a lot of time.
Let’s get you prepared for how to survive winter in Toronto as a Buyer. Dress accordingly. Hat, parka, gloves and layers are necessary. Wear slip on boots with tread. Yes, we’re going to be shopping for your new home in an inside place, but when the lockbox is frozen shut and you’re waiting for your Realtor to pry it open and chip away at the key encased in ice, time ticks slowly. We might have to park a block away or we may have an alley to go through with howling winds. The snow may be deep in the backyard but we need to get back there to inspect drainage. Oh and ya, heads up: that 3 hour home inspection is spent at least 1/3 of the time outside.
Good news! Your Realtor? She comes equipped with heated seats, deicer and WD40 to weld open frozen lockboxes, a Maglite flashlight so we can see the house when it’s dark outside (aka any time after 5:00PM) and a gold card at Starbucks for dethawing afterwards. Pardon her serious parka and North Pole Winter footwear-look though.
Buyers who don their winter boots, parkas, toques, and gloves to go house hunting are serious. They aren’t nosy neighbours or people just taking an afternoon stroll through the neighbourhood to work off their ice cream. They are motivated and ready to buy RIGHT NOW. Do they care about flowers in the front window box being out in full bloom or a freshly cut lawn? Nope. Nadda. Guess what else makes selling in the Winter awesome?? Since there is a huge misconception that waiting until the end of March is a good time to sell, it’s easier for you us to market your home because there’s less competition. We’re going to get more people through your open house and ultimately more offers and a higher price. Amen, right?
Let’s get you prepared for how to survive winter in Toronto if you’re a Seller. The good news about being a Seller in the Winter is that we can keep you largely inside. We’ll declutter it, stage it, bring vendors in to help paint, reno or clean if necessary and up the cozy factor. And this, my friends, is my specialty 🙂 We’ll light some candles, get that fireplace going and set the scene with a fur blanket and baked apples in the oven. If your place is energy efficient we’ll be able to highlight that in it’s truest state. Being a Seller in the Winter is relatively painless except for if you choose to wash the exterior windows (a task I might label as one of the worst activities known to man in sub zero climates) and the move of all the cluttered furniture out of the house and into a cube van for temporary storage. But don’t worry – your parka-done-Realtor will help.
Good news! Your Realtor? She lugs open house signs for your open house through snow drifts so you don’t have to. She’ll be the one to de-thaw the lockbox regularly, monitor the heat in your home, and assist with shovelling and salting the front walk. And they’ll be a fine bottle of wine to keep you warm the night you sign the accepted offer.