April 1, 2024 | Buying

What Not to Do Before Buying a House 

Share This Post:

Buying a house in today’s day and age is a complex process, to say the least! It can be a journey filled with excitement, energy, and anticipation, but also with angst, anxiety, disappointment, and frustration.

Sorry to say, but the average home-buyer is bound to feel most of those emotions described above, both the positive ones and the negative ones, and many home-buyers check all of them off their lists!

No shortage of articles, blog posts, or even entire books have been written about the home-buying process, and I suppose today’s post is no different.

But when buying a home, we see so many “Things To Do” lists, which is great, but if you turned that list on its head and came up with a list of things not to do?

What would that look like?

Because we here at Toronto Realty Group like to use humour as medicine, let’s have an honest, accurate, and somewhat comical look at “What Not To Do When Buying A House,” and we trust that you’ll be informed and entertained.

Don’t Ask Your Dad!

Well, let’s rephrase that, just for a moment: don’t ask your dad…..if you don’t want to be told what to do, what you’re doing wrong, and what he would have done “back in his day.”

Our parents are awesome, don’t get me wrong! But sometimes they have this need to be right about things, and that often makes them take a hard stance in areas where they might be wrong.

They also want us to value them, look up to them, and see how smart they are. This means they’re constantly going to tell us what to do in the home-buying process, whether we ask for their opinions or not.

And which of our parents doesn’t want to be heard? Especially when it comes to such a monumental purchase decision in our lives!

Combine needing to be right, needing to be heard, and needing to be valued with stories from yesteryear and you’re going to have a Dad that tells you “Lowball the crap out of this bastard, just like I did when your Mom and I bought our place in ’88,” even though there are twelve offers registered on the house you want and it’s going to sell for $200,000 over the list price.

Maybe ask your dad; just be prepared to nod your head, listen, then follow your own path…

Do you have questions about buying a home in Toronto? Read these blog posts next:

Don’t Listen To The Media

“If it bleeds, it leads!”

That’s a well-known saying from the world of television and newspapers, meaning that the lead stories are always going to be the hottest, shocking, and eye-catching stories.

When it comes to real estate, especially with social media battling mainstream media for attention, real estate “clickbait” is all the rage, and the headlines are often exceptionally misleading.

A headline might say “Toronto Real Estate Plummets,” and the reader is left to think that prices are dropping, when in fact, that story is about sales volume dropping, but meanwhile, prices have gone up!

Certain newspapers are always looking to report that the market is hot.

Certain newspapers are always looking to report that the market is cold.

Newspapers have agendas. They take slants. They cater to their readership.

If you get your real estate insights from social media and headlines, expect to be mislead approximately 50% of the time.

Don’t Tell You’re Friends “We’re House Shopping!”

Real estate is possibly the most talked-about subject in the city of Toronto, and I’m putting it up there with our beloved Toronto Maple Leafs. People live and breathe real estate and they talk about it non-stop!

But every person has different opinions, different tastes, and different means.

You might tell one set of friends, “We’re shopping for a house,” and expect them to take interest in your search for a $1,500,000 home in the Beaches, but if they’re currently renting a unit downtown for $2,800 per month and have absolutely no prospect of buying in the next few years, what type of reaction do you expect?

On the contrary, you might tell another set of friends about the houses you’re seeing for $1.5 Million in the Beaches only for them to tell you all the reasons why the Beaches isn’t a good place to live, but meanwhile, they’re in a $4 Million house in the midtown area with their children in private school.

People love to offer opinions on real estate, but there’s no such thing as an unbiased opinion. Speak to those close to you, whom you trust. But always consider how the feedback that you receive might be based on somebody else’s demographic, tastes and preferences, financial situation, societal views, etc.

Read more blogs about homebuying right here:

Don’t Lead Your Property Search By Committee!

Ask one person for an opinion, and you’re sure to get his friend’s opinion as well.

Ask two people for their opinions, and you’ll undoubtedly receive opinions from a few people they know.

Ask your “team” at the office, or everybody in the lunchroom at work, and you’ll have more opinions than you can possibly make sense of.

Let it be known that you’re in the market to buy a home and you’ll have people offering opinions that you never asked for, don’t value, and honestly don’t even want.

But as I said, people love to talk about real estate in Toronto! So it’s as though we have this inability to keep our mouths shut when somebody says, “I put such a huge premium on a view from a downtown condo,” and we just want to blurt out, “Who cares about a view? Square footage is more important! You can lose a view when a new tower is built next door! A huge terrace is worth far more than a view!”

You’ve heard the term “analysis paralysis,” right? As in, you can spend so much time analyzing something, that you just can’t make a decision. Well consider what happens when you’re on the receiving end of thirty opinions, all different in their own way.

It’s not helpful.

Don’t Skip The Pre-Approval Process

Crawl before you walk.

I know, I know, you were that baby that went from laying on its belly straight to walking, thereby skipping the crawling phase.

But as the analogy goes, there is a proper way to start your housing search and methodically, correctly, move through the steps.

Late last year, I was working with a young couple who were looking to purchase their first home. When I first spoke to them and conducted our buyer-intake call, I asked them if they had completed a mortgage pre-approval. They said that they hadn’t spoken to a mortgage broker yet and obtained a pre-approval but that they had “played around” with online mortgage calculators and that they knew what they could afford.

I urged them to obtain a pre-approval but they instead sent me a list of properties they wanted to see.

Every time we spoke, I warned them of the pitfalls of not having a pre-approval but they were more interested in moving past step-one and onto steps two, three, and four, and before we knew it, they had found a home they wanted to purchase.

The house was listed for $1,029,900, and keep in mind, this was outside of the GTA where properties aren’t all under-listed and sold via “offer nights.” They figured that they could afford upwards of $1,050,000, based on their online mortgage calculators, and thus this was more than affordable to them.

They finally called their bank to get a pre-approval done, and guess what?

The bank approved them for $900,000.

Then as a second opinion, I had them speak to my mortgage broker, and guess what?

He approved them for $900,000.

The next weekend, we were out looking at properties listed in the $850,000 – $900,000 range, and guess what?

They hated them all.

None of those properties compared to the home they absolutely loved at $1,029,900. They had set themselves up for failure right from the onset.

A mortgage pre-approval is an essential step in the home-buying process. Do not skip it!

There’s No Shortage Of “Don’ts”

Don’t quit your job as a lawyer to start designing jewelry two months before you’re supposed to close on your home purchase!

No, seriously. A client of ours did this and she couldn’t get financing on her new home.

All of these examples, and probably dozens more that we could come up with right here and now, are based on our experience with clients of our own.

But over the years, we’ve learned what to do and what not to do, and we have refined our home-buying process through and through.

We have the experience, expertise, market knowledge, systems, processes, and contacts that will get you from curious online browser to proud homeowner.

Plus, we might entertain you along the way, as we hope that we did today with this post.

Thinking about buying a home? Get in touch with us directly by calling 416.642.2660 or emailing admin@torontorealtygroup.com. We’re always happy to chat!

Written By

Tara Amina


p: 647.649.6769

e: tara@torontorealtygroup.com

Want More Insights From TRG Experts?

Sign up here to receive Insights Magazine delivered to you. This resource is full of market advice and industry intuition from our team and colleagues to keep you up-to-speed on the ever-changing Toronto real estate market.

Get Your Copy