Tag: home buyer

Buying A Home With Kids

Posted on October 10th, 2019

Finding a new home when you have kids can be a challenge.  There’s so much more to consider beyond the home itself.  Schools, community centres, programs, and safety are all important factors that need to be investigated to avoid any regret down the road.  You want to make sure that the transition is as painless as possible for your little ones and that normally takes some extra due diligence on your part and your Realtor’s part.  So what should you consider?  Here is a list of our top kid friendly home inspection items:

 1) Neighbour check: kids like to play outside – front yard, back yard, side yard – which means you’ll likely be seeing your neighbours a lot more than if you didn’t have kids. Introducing yourself and your family to your potential neighbours can help.  Does your neighbour hate kids?  Does he own a crazy aggressive dog? While you may not be able to give your potential neighbour a full blown interrogation with a full set of fingerprints and a DNA test, a simple introduction will give you a better idea of who you could be living beside for the next one, two, five, ten or more years.  Your potential neighbours are also the best source to get all of the details about the area from – pros and cons.
2) Visit the neighbourhood more than once.  if you’re seeing the home on Monday at 7pm, go visit on Saturday at 11am.  If you’re there for the weekend open house, go visit on a Thursday at 8pm.  This way, you get a more complete picture of the neighbourhood.  
3) Visit the parks: if living in a community with other young families is important to you, visit the local parks.  If the parks are filled with teenagers smoking pot or more dogs than kids, the neighbourhood might not be the right one for you.  
4) Visit the local schools: your kids will be spending the majority of their days at school.  You want to make sure the school they will be attending is welcoming, engaging, well respected, and whatever other qualities are important to you as a family.  
5) Consider commute times: make sure that the commute to and from your place of employment won’t leave you stressed out and scrambling to pick up the kids from school each day.  With that said, confirming the start and end times for school and availability for before and after school programs might have an impact on your home buying decision.  For example, my kids start school at 8am and end at 2:30pm.  This makes a typical 9 to 5 schedule at work very hard to adhere to if there is no after school program available.
6) Extra-curricular programming: does your child love swimming?  Soccer?  Hockey? Depending on how important these extra-curricular programs are to you and your family, you may want to visit the community centres and sports clubs in the neighbourhood to find out the options and availability of programs.  
7) Daycares: if your kids aren’t in school yet, then the hunt for the right daycare can be a challenge.  Some daycares don’t offer half day or part time programs while others cost more than you expect.  A family will want to make sure they have enough options to consider when it comes to finding a new daycare for their little one.
8) Street traffic: is the street you are considering purchasing a home on a short cut for impatient rush hour drivers?  Do you back onto a street with a loud bus route that runs around the clock? Listening and watching for local traffic at different times of the day and on different days will help you better understand how safe and peaceful your potential new neighbourhood really is.
9) Pollution and safety hazards: if you see a home at 8pm on a Monday, you may not notice the cell phone tower nearby or the factory down the street.  Again, check things out during the day and do a Google satellite map search to see what you might be missing.
10) Get the kids involved.  Depending on your child, including their age and personality, the idea of moving can range from pure excitement to pure anger.  Involving your kids in the decision making as much as possible – choosing what homes to see, determining what characteristics make a good home, scoping out the neighbourhood with you (maybe take them out of school for an afternoon to explore!) – will help them to be more engaged in the process and become a bit more positive about a potential move.
We hope that these tips help to make the process of finding a new home for your family easier.  It may seem like a lot of extra work but you do not want to regret a home purchase decision.  Having a trusted Realtor by your side will help make that process smoother by providing knowledge and expertise about the neighbourhood and the home you are interested in purchasing.  
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Why Toronto Should Open Up Home Sale Price Data To EVERYONE

Posted on June 14th, 2017

Photo Credit: Darren Calabrese For The Globe and Mail

There has been a longstanding battle in Toronto where the Competition Bureau is fighting to open up sale price information to the public that the Toronto Real Estate Board currently holds near and dear to their heart.  In our opinion, this is an insult to all real estate professionals as this sends a message that the only thing that real estate agents are good for is to provide sale price information to the public.  The public shouldn’t feel forced into speaking to a real estate agent in order to find out the sale price of a home.  They should WANT to speak with a real estate agent for the many other services that we provide.

There is proof in other markets, such as Australia, where opening up this data to everyone hasn’t wiped out the real estate profession (see this website https://www.realestate.com.au/sold).  The Australian model of selling real estate is built upon transparency – open auctions, easy access to sale price information and no double ending (where a real estate agent represents both buyer and seller in one transaction).  On The Block has been inspired by these approaches and we are working toward a similar model to provide more choice to the public in the Greater Toronto Area.

As real estate professionals, we need to show that we are better than these numbers, work hard and show the benefits of hiring a professional.  Providing comparable sale price information is such a small part of our jobs.  The work we do to sell a home or help a buyer purchase a home goes well beyond this data.  Home buyers and sellers work with us for our experience, skill and knowledge of the industry and how to get the best results based on someone’s specific circumstances.

Working with a real estate professional should be a choice so let’s give people that choice instead of holding them back from accessing this information.  Those people who choose to work without an agent shouldn’t be penalized because they didn’t enlist the help of a professional.  Just like you don’t NEED a plumber to fix your leaky faucet or an interior designer to decorate your home, you also don’t NEED a realtor to help you buy or sell your home.  Working with a real estate professional comes with many benefits and those that recognize these benefits will continue to work with a real estate professional regardless of whether they can retrieve sale price data.  It’s about providing choice, a service and working for the best interests of your clients.

On The Block encourages the Toronto Real Estate Board to open up the vault and give everyone access to sale prices throughout the city.  The time and effort used to fight the Competition Bureau about this case could have been much better spent on other projects such as providing information to assist the city with key planning initiatives or figuring out ways to provide more affordable housing options to those who can’t afford a home in our city.  You can’t do big things if you’re focused on the small things!

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