Toronto real estate has a reputation for being notoriously expensive, but with proper budgeting and tracking of finances, there’s no need for buyers to become “house poor”. By setting a budget and taking a realistic look at your income, savings, and expenses, you can help to save for the home of your dreams, while still being able to afford living your life. There are a few tips you can keep in mind, in order to make the Toronto real estate market more affordable for you.
Step One: Calculate Your Net Income
Each person who will be contributing to the household expenses, including the purchase price, should sit down and calculate your combined net income. This is what you bring home from each paycheque, from each source of income, after taxes are deducted. If you are uncertain what this amount may be, you can contact your Human Resources department or payroll department, and ask for a copy of your paystub. Include any government benefits, support payments, or other minor sources of income in order to get a full and accurate picture.
Step Two: Deduct Monthly Expenses
After you’ve totalled all your sources of income, deduct the amount of expenses that are required on a monthly basis. Consider breaking these down into categories, if the thought of looking at all your expenses becomes overwhelming. Categories can include utilities, food, medical costs, transportation, and entertainment. Be honest with how you spend your money, you want to be sure that you are creating an accurate picture of your spending. If the math doesn’t work out or won’t leave you enough room for the home you want, there are things you can do to help rework your spending.
Step Three: Figure Out What Costs Can Be Cut If Necessary
If your budget seems tight, or if there is very little wiggle room, take a closer look at each of your expense categories to determine if there are any costs you can cut. For example, if you spend a lot of your income on entertainment, consider a Netflix subscription as an alternative to high cable bills. You can also call your cell phone provider to see if you can work out a lower monthly bill, and consider taking public transit to reduce transportation costs. While some of these cost-cutting measures might not seem attractive, they can lead you to your dream home without making your family “house poor”, which will be worth it to you in the long run.
Step Four: Determine Costs Associated With Purchasing
While the purchase price of your dream home may be up in the air, there are other set fees associated with home ownership that you can consider at this stage. Lawyer’s fees for real estate purchases tend to be fixed, and you will need to hire a real estate agent to ensure that the transaction goes as smoothly as possible. It’s also a good idea to take the time to investigate whether there are any tax credits or rebates that you qualify for with respect to your purchase. If you currently own a home, it’s a good time to get it ready for sale, which may also include additional costs. Factor these costs into your budget as well, to be sure that you aren’t setting yourself up for a surprise shortfall.
Now, let’s talk about how you should stage your home for a fast Sale….
Toronto real estate agents agree that staging your home is one of the quickest ways to help it sell. Not only will this help your home sell faster, it will help you make the most off the sale as possible. A fast sale doesn’t happen because of luck; it’s because of careful planning, elegant décor, and the overall appeal of the home to prospective buyers. Buyers are attracted to properties that make them feel at home, not ones where they have to imagine a comfortable atmosphere. The Toronto real estate market is fiercely competitive, but these tips will help your home stand out above the rest.
Remove Personal Belongings
It’s helpful to remind yourself that once you’ve decided to put your property on the market, it’s more of a commodity to be sold than a personal home. By packing away your photos and other personal mementos you encourage prospective buyers to imagine themselves and their families living there – which will in turn encourage a faster sale. It’s also a good idea to pack up any sentimental chattels that you want to bring with you, such as appliances or window coverings. A buyer wanting a particular item that he or she cannot have can often be the difference between getting your asking price and getting far less.
Fix Broken Items
Have any broken or faulty items repaired before you begin showing your home. This includes leaky faucets, imperfections in walls, floors, or ceilings, and ensuring that there are no squeaky doors. Prospective buyers won’t be drawn to a property requiring significant work in order to make it their ideal home, and by making these minor repairs now you can encourage a faster, more profitable sale later.
Many homeowners are surprised by how much “stuff” they have accumulated over the years. When you move, you’ll likely do a massive purge of items that are unused, or no longer needed. It’s a much better idea to start the purge now, before your home is on the market. This helps to make your home look tidier, and more attractive to buyers.
Put Non-Essentials In Storage
By putting your extra or surplus furniture in storage, you help make each room in your home look larger. It also helps to encourage buyers to imagine their own belongings in your home, which can lead to faster sales. When deciding what to keep and what to store, ask yourself about the universal appeal of each item. Store the ones that are unique in taste, and leave items that are generic in nature. This helps make your home appeal to almost every buyer, regardless of personal preference.
Organize What’s Left
When your real estate agent is showing your home, he or she will allow buyers to inspect things like cupboards and closets. When de-cluttering, don’t just shove the mess in one of these areas, and hope no one sees. Most people are naturally curious and will open and inspect all cupboards, closets, and cabinets. A well organized cupboard or closet will show the best possible side of you as a homeowner and of your home in general, to buyers.
Have Your Home Professionally Cleaned
Ensure that your carpets are in their original condition, and that unpleasant odours are removed by having them professional steam cleaned. Hire a cleaning service to come in and scrub down the floors, walls, and to ensure that your kitchen and bathroom are spotless. Buyers don’t want to move into a home that looks like it will need elbow grease to be in mint condition, and by investing in a professional cleaning service, you can attract even more buyers.