As we all are adjusting to a new norm, real estate practices and procedures are also adjusting. Deemed as an essential service, real estate hasn’t stopped as people still require housing. What normally would be a really busy spring market, March and April saw a dramatic drop in sales as social distancing and self isolation caused people to bunker down. The reality was that even though sales decreased, people still needed to move for various reasons and I had to adapt quickly. I set new practices and procedures to protect myself, my clients and everyone involved in the buying, selling and leasing process. Whether it is buying or a new rental lease, I help my clients through these times to ensure they still find the perfect condo in Toronto.
On average, I used to show about 10 properties to each client before finding the perfect space. Now being faced with COVID-19 buyers will want to limit their exposure and reduce physically going out to see many units to find the right condo.
Below you will find a step by step guide and tips to help you purchase despite the coronavirus.
Determining what your maximum budget and what you can afford is crucial to finding the right place. As mortgage guidelines and rates are always changing, knowing what you can afford sets a clear price point to stay within. Avoid the mistake of having an undefined budget as it becomes difficult if you fall in love with a condo unit that is well above your price point. Your expectations can change as a result as you naturally compare every unit to something that wasn’t affordable in the first place.
Make a List of Must Have’s
The second step is knowing what your needs for your new condo are and what is important to you for your purchase. This list should include things like number of bedrooms, number of baths, parking, balcony and a general idea of the location or boundaries you would like to stay within.
Make a Wishlist
Making a move is not something we do everyday so when it comes to purchasing a new condo in Toronto, you want to make sure that it is place you will want to live in for years to come. Having a list of wants are items that you would find ideal in your new condo but not necessarily a deal breaker. Things to consider for this list would be items like exposure, building amenities, types of finishes, amount of space and storage, surrounding neighbourhood amenities etc.
Hire a Realtor
As a buyer, there is absolutely no cost to work with a realtor. Using the expertise and knowledge an experience realtor has of Toronto condos for sale is to the buyers benefit and cuts so much leg work and avoids costly mistakes. Given COVID-19 restrictions, it is also more important to have a realtor to get buyers access for condo viewings. Buyers should have a bridge between the sellers and their agent in order to negotiate a fair deal. Share your budget and wish lists with your realtor so they have a clear understanding of what you are looking for. A great realtor will hand selects properties instead of sending hundreds of listings. This ensures the buyer does not get overwhelmed and confused in the process. As a full time active agent for over 20 years, I know what buildings and areas are safe to invest in. I focus on the best fitted condo listings for my buyers and also get access to exclusive listings that are not shared on MLS.
Marking Favourite Listings
Once you receive listings, mark your favourite ones and make notes of the things you like. Discuss with your realtor which condo units caught your eye and why. Also don’t forget to include things that you didn’t like about properties that didn’t make the list. This will help the realtor make sure they are on the right track. Your realtor should provide insight on your favourites and maybe add some feedback and information about properties that you may have overlooked. Remember, this is the scanning stage!
Making a Short List
Because of the coronavirus, we want to minimize as much close contact as possible. Showings have many restrictions and some units can be difficult to show if they are owner or tenant occupied. You and your realtor should have formed a short list from your discussions to know which properties fit you best.
Pre- Inspection via Facetime
Even though all my listings have had virtual tours and 3D walk-throughs for years, many sellers still have not adapted to this form of technology. If there are any condo units on your list without a virtual tour, I now go to the unit first and FaceTime my clients from the unit to give them a better feel. It is during this time I also pre-inspect the unit and take pictures of closer details that were not included in the online photo gallery. I also make note of and bring to the attention of my buyer any maintenance items or things that may need repair.
Once discussing all the positive and negatives of properties on my buyer’s short list, I do a market analysis of the properties they are interested in to make sure that pricing is inline with today’s market. It is only then we set up a time to view any units that my buyers are extremely interested in. Condo buildings have restrictions with the number of showings and times of showings so appointments usually need to be set up with at least 24-48 hours notice. I no longer drive with my clients in my car but rather meet in the lobby of each building. During showings, both myself and my clients are expected to wear masks and keep a distance of at least 6 feet at all times. Additional steps that I take is to take separate trips in the elevator from my buyers to ensure distancing. Safety remains top priority and we aim for little to no contact with surfaces however hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes are provided during any of my showings.
Should a buyer find their ideal condo and decide to move forward with an offer, all paperwork is now only completed electronically. All discussions, meetings and negotiations are done either by phone or video conference and there is no need to meet to physically sign a document. Even though I try to minimize buyer meetings in person, I am always available to answer any questions or concerns throughout the whole buying process.
If you have any questions or interested in buying a condo in downtown Toronto, contact Reza at anytime to get you started on the right track to finding your perfect new condo!