Frequently Asked Questions

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Although our main office is located in Markham, our team’s expertise encompasses all parts of the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) including but not limited to Toronto, North York, Scarborough, Vaughan, Richmond Hill, Mississauga, Stouffville, Oakville, Milton, Pickering, Ajax, Whitby, Oshawa and beyond.

Our services include but are not limited to Buying, Selling, Leasing Residential Resale, and Pre-Construction, as well as commercial properties.

We stay on top of real estate trends and developments so that you don’t have to. Buying, selling and leasing is part of our expertise, and with the combination of our knowledge, resources, and dedicated staff, we can help our clients achieve more.

Our experienced realtors can walk you through all the steps of selling your home to make this process as seamless as possible.

Big City Realty brings your home into the spotlight and outlines its uniqueness using top-of-the-line marketing tools and strategies, and the newest technologies. We treat your home like our own.

Our listing services include professional photos and video including a drone-shot bird’s eye view of your property. We also offer hands-free services for your convenience, meaning we will take your property from its current state and take care of all the packing and moving for you. Other services we offer include professional staging, a custom-designed website for the property, exposure on our Social Media, and access to our extensive database of buyers from across the GTA to get as many buyers as possible

We have several knowledgeable and experienced Realtors who can walk you through all the steps of buying a home.

We take our time listening to our client’s needs to formulate a step-by-step plan based on their specific needs. Negotiations and offer-writing will be taken care of on your behalf to get the lowest possible purchase price. We look to make the most out of your money today for sound long-term investments. And when it comes time to find secure financing, we utilize our network to provide reputable mortgage brokers from all major banks and financial institutions.

We offer personalized real estate investment advice and provide our market trend expertise to help our clients find their dream homes and/or expand their realtor profiles by adding the right income-producing retail property.

For numerous years, we’ve established strong relationships with the top builders across the GTA to ensure front-of-the-line access to premier pre-construction developments. With our network, we’re able to offer our clients access to developments ahead of the general public and broker community at the lowest prices and with the best incentives. Moreover, we outline the costs associated with purchasing a pre-construction property for each project, along with a custom ROI spreadsheet that outlines both short and long-term income potential. On top of that, we offer a free lawyer review of your purchase agreement to ensure full disclosure of important facts.

The internet is a great resource for all things, but when you’re making one of the biggest financial decisions of your life, trust a professional to help you navigate the intricacies of a real estate transaction. As our Broker of Record says, “Would you rather fly with a pilot that flies once a year OR fly with a pilot who flies every day?” At Big City Realty our Realtors take pride in building long-lasting friendships that go beyond the typical buyer-broker relationship and continuously strive to provide up-to-date information, skilled analysis, and sound real estate advice.

A home inspection is key. It provides an opportunity for a buyer to identify any major issues with a home prior to closing. Your first clue that a home inspection is important is that it can be used as a contingency in your contract with the seller. This contingency provides that if significant defects are revealed by a home inspection, you can back out of your purchase offer, free of penalty, within a certain timeframe. The idea of getting a home inspection is to know exactly what you’re buying. Every house comes with its issues, it is just about what you’re willing to take on.

For new construction homes, homeowners will undergo a Pre-Delivery Inspection (PDI) which is your first opportunity to inspect your new home for any deficiencies prior to occupancy. This is a time to report cosmetic issues, defects, damages, etc. to the builder so that they can be fixed. Furthermore, you Tarion warranty occurs in stages: 1) PDI; 2) 30-day; 3) 1 year; 4) 2 years; 5) 5 year warranty service. The warranty enables you to report problems such as plumbing, electrical, and mechanical issues which you may only begin to notice after a period of use.

Common areas of focus typically include decluttering, painting, flooring, and changes to the bathroom(s), and kitchen. However, the best thing to do is talk to one of our agents to determine if you should update your home. Every home and neighborhood are different, so there’s no use in spending money if you don’t have to! Additionally, our hands-free services mean we do the hard work so you don’t have to. We’ll take care of the decluttering, touch-ups, and a professional Home Staging Consultant will visit your home and offer a free consultation. It’s an all-in-one service from Big City Realty!

Pre-approval financing is important. It establishes your credibility as a homebuyer.

A mortgage pre-approval shows home sellers that you have your finances in check, that you’re serious about buying a house. Most importantly, it ensures that you won’t be denied a mortgage if they decide to sell you their home

Depending on the situation and current market conditions in your area, we can photograph, stage, market and list your home in anywhere from 2-7 days!

The earlier the better! At Big City Realty We stay on top of real estate trends and developments so that you don’t have to. Buying, selling, and leasing is part of our expertise. The combination of our knowledge, resources, and dedicated staff, helps our clients achieve more at every stage in the process.

It really depends on your individual situation and tolerance for risk. If you’re thinking  of buying and selling, we’d be happy to talk through your options and help you decide if you should buy or sell first!

Yes, it is possible, but can be difficult in a competitive situation (or in a competitive marketplace).

As long as your purchase is conditional upon inspection, there are several options. We can negotiate the repair of the condition, a price adjustment to offset the condition, or we can terminate the purchase without penalty to you

Let us help you shop around. Banks can offer competitive rates, but we have strong relationships with bank reps and mortgage brokers who may be able to get you a  much better rate and save you thousands – all at no obligation to you.

Yes. Closing dates can be discussed during the offer negotiation process.

The general home inspection cost in Ontario could range from anywhere from $500 to $1000 or more depending on your type of home (apartment, condo, semi-detached house, townhouse, single-family home), your home’s location, your home’s size, your home’s age. It is well worth the cost as it’s difficult to spot problems on your own.

Yes. All showings are booked through our Appointment Desk and Agents are required to provide their name and brokerage information before showings are confirmed. Prospective Buyers are not permitted to book an appointment without an Agent. During open houses, our real estate Agents take prospective buyers’ information and accompany them through the house.

An important first step is to get pre-approved for a mortgage. You don’t want to start house-hunting and fall for a home you can’t afford. Your credit is one of three factors that will be considered before you get approved for a mortgage. The other two are income and your down payment.

Our strict COVID guidelines require that you do as much as you can online first. Take a close look through photos, virtual tours, and whatever else has been provided, and if the place looks like a winner, book a showing and follow COVID guidelines while you’re there.

Our agents continue to do in-person showings by appointment, following all health and safety regulations. They have all been fully briefed on all necessary health measures for in-person visits. Beyond that, they will complete your entire transaction electronically, including paperwork, mortgage, and legal transactions.

All agents who book showings on our listings must confirm that they and tenants have agreed to the following terms:

  • They aren’t showing any symptoms of COVID-19.
  • They haven’t come into contact with anyone experiencing COVID symptoms, who have tested positive in a COVID test or who are waiting for the results of a test.
  • They haven’t traveled outside Canada in the last 14 days or been in contact with anyone who has.
  • They have viewed the property online first before an in-person visit.
  • They limit attendees to 2 people (not including the agent).
  • They will respect physical distancing guidelines of 2m / 6 ft.
  • They will not use washroom facilities, touch any surfaces including light switches and interior door knobs.
  • They will wash and sanitize their hands prior to entering the home and wear masks throughout the visit.

The down payment is an essential part of your purchase. There are private lenders who offer mortgages with zero down, but the interest rate will likely be much higher. The cost to you will be much greater in the long run. This is generally not recommended. Don’t cut corners and risk your home and investment. Save up at least five percent of the purchase price, and consider reducing your home-buying budget to make it more affordable.

Aside from good ol’ scrimping and saving, you can also take advantage of the first-time Home Buyer’s Plan to borrow from your RRSPs – tax-free!

Prices depend on a number of factors like supply, demand, absorption rate, and other housing market conditions. These can vary greatly from city to city, and from one neighborhood to the next. Rather than a season, the number of days on market is the biggest indicator of your negotiating power as well as months of inventory (link to definition). If the home was recently listed, the seller will have had less time to test the market and gauge buyers’ response to the price and will be less likely to negotiate.

Our advice is that the best time to buy or sell a home is always now because while you’re waiting on the sidelines trying to “time” the market, you may end up being priced out of a neighborhood as prices continue to climb. If you’re selling at a lower price, it’s very likely you’ll also end up buying at a lower price too. The best time is always now.

The best time is always “now”

Closing costs will typically range from 1.5 to 4 percent of the home’s purchase price. These include things like legal and administrative fees and are payable on closing. You can expect to pay for your home inspection, mortgage default insurance if your down payment is less than 20 percent of the purchase price, the Land Transfer Taxes, lawyer fees, appraisal fee, and property taxes, among other things. Make sure you budget for this! On a $500,000 home, closing costs can range from $7,500 to $20,000.

The most important thing to look for is the property type and condition that fits you best. This will depend on your risk tolerance, available cash, investment strategy, your network of tradespeople, and personal capabilities. Start small and see if this is an investing strategy you like before you buy a property that needs a significant amount of work. As an investor, just on numbers, return on investment is the most important. Ultimately, talk to us – we’re well-versed investors ourselves!

Your credit score is a measure of your financial health. According to the Government of Canada, your rating “indicates the risk you represent for lenders, compared with other consumers…The credit-reporting agencies Equifax and TransUnion use a scale from 300 to 900. High scores on this scale are good. The higher your score, the lower the risk for the lender.” Thus, a higher rating will typically secure a better mortgage rate, since you’re considered to be more likely to make your scheduled payments.

If you have a poor rating, build up your credit score before you apply for your mortgage.

A buyer’s market is characterized by declining home prices and reduced demand. Several factors may affect long-term and short-term buyer demand such as economic disruption – a big employer shuts down operations, laying off their workforce. A buyer’s market works in favor of those looking to buy as they’ll be able to purchase at lower prices.

  • Interest rates trending higher – the amount of money people can borrow to buy a home is reduced because the cost of money is higher, thus reducing the total number of potential buyers in the market. Home prices drop to meet the level of demand and buyers find better deals.
  • Short-term drop in interest rates – can give borrowers a temporary edge with more purchasing power before home prices can react to the recent interest rate changes.
  • High inventory – a new subdivision and can create downward pressure on prices of older homes nearby, particularly if they lack highly desirable features (modern appliances, etc.)
  • COVID-19 – the undeniable impact of a worldwide pandemic on the real estate segment has definitely influenced home prices in the GTA. Particularly, the number of new condo listings far-outstripped growth in sales which meant more choices and bargaining power for condo buyers. This led to a year-over-year dip in average condo selling prices during the last few months of 2020. The demographics that typically live in condominiums (i.e. international students, new immigrants, etc) have been reduced due to strict border controls.

 

In a sellers’ markets, increasing demand for homes drives up prices. Here are some of the drivers of demand:

  • Economic factors – the local labor market heats up, bringing an inflow of new residents and pushing up home prices before more inventory can be built.
  • Interest rates trending downward – improves home affordability, creating more buyer interest, particularly for first-time home buyers who can afford bigger homes as the cost of money goes lower.
  • A short-term spike in interest rates – may compel “on the fence” buyers to make a purchase if they believe the upward trend will continue. Buyers want to make a move before their purchasing power (the amount they can borrow) gets eroded.
  • Low inventory – fewer homes on the market because of a lack of new construction. Prices for existing homes may go up because there are fewer units available.
  • COVID-19 – Single-family home types in the suburban regions of the GTA experienced the strongest average price and sales growth with strong competition between buyers and double-digit price increases. The pandemic has spurred a preference for more square footage and private backyards as more people are working from home and children are taking classes online.