Buying a new home is the beginning of a new chapter in your life. It can be a thrilling experience once you’ve found the perfect place and the transaction is complete. However, keeping up with the many details during the purchasing process can be challenging, particularly in an uncertain real estate market.

Currently, sales are slower, and prices are still down from one year ago. For buyers, that would be a good thing, except new listings are also down.

When few houses are available, you must get creative sometimes, and some compromises might be necessary. 

Is Building a Custom Home Worth It?

Limited supply has many people considering building a custom home. Since you can design and construct the home to your precise specifications, this may seem like the ultimate solution. However, with the rising cost of labour and materials and lengthy construction delays, building costs are nearly always far more than buying an existing home.

During times like these, buying and renovating a home to suit your tastes is usually a better option. 

Start With a Dream and a Plan

Before browsing endless unsuitable listings on the MLS® or visiting open houses every weekend, it helps to create a viable action plan. Knowing what you want and need will help you understand what you can compromise on and when to hold absolutely firm. Start by asking yourself a few questions:

  • How long do you want to live in the home? If you’re there for the short term, you may be open to more compromises than you would in your forever home.
  • What location do you want to be in? Once you’ve chosen your city, you can start researching ideal neighbourhoods.
  • What amenities do you want to have nearby? For example, living close to transit may be non-negotiable if you don’t have access to a car. But if you drive, it may not be necessary.
  • Will your family increase or decrease in size as time goes on?
  • When do you need the home? 

Your timeline will have a significant impact on where you can and can’t compromise. If you need to move quickly, you may have to be open-minded. If you currently have a house and are not in a hurry, you can afford to be more selective.

Are you thinking about downsizing your family home? Early planning can help you achieve the best outcome. Here are some resources you may enjoy:

What Can and Can’t Change

As a buyer, it’s your job to scrutinize a house very carefully during showings before making your decision. However, it’s easy to forget how much you can change to transform what may seem to be an unappealing choice into your dream home. The only real limits are the location, lot size, and what permits you can obtain from the municipality.

For example:

  • Ugly wallpaper, unattractive paint, and outdated fixtures are fairly inexpensive fixes that can be made quickly.
  • Walls can be torn down (with guidance, of course). 
  • Additions can be constructed for more living space.
  • Entire storeys can be added, allowing you to completely remodel the main floor or even add a secondary suite.
  • Basements can be finished, and there are ways to make them brighter, such as using neutral-coloured paint and modern lighting fixtures.

Some renovations are more extensive than others, so you will want to prioritize what needs to be done first and what you can do gradually over time so as not to stress your finances. But with a bit of patience, creativity, and a team of expert tradespeople by your side, the transformation of a home you initially thought was “ugly” can seem almost magical!

Conditional or Unconditional Offers

It isn’t just the features of a home that you must sometimes compromise on. Depending on how busy the market is, you may have to be ready to negotiate on how much you’re willing to pay or the terms of the sale. You’ll also need to consider whether to submit a conditional or unconditional offer. This will depend primarily on market conditions.

  • If there is a lot of competition for a specific listing, an unconditional offer is more appealing to the seller.
  • When not competing, you can often add conditions to the sale, such as a home inspection or condition of financing.

Regardless of the market, unconditional offers are an individual choice. Because of the increased risk involved, you may decide to stick with conditional offers to protect yourself, even if it takes longer to secure the right home.

A successful purchase starts with getting to know the current market. The posts below will bring you up to date:

Expert Guidance is Invaluable

In today’s real estate market, there’s only one thing you can be sure of, and that is everything changes in a heartbeat. Buying or selling a home can be challenging because the rules and guidelines that applied five years ago no longer work. 

For buyers, ideal listings that fit your needs can be few and far between, especially during conditions when homeowners are hesitant to put their houses up for sale.

In any market, working with a local Realtor® can help you with every aspect of your search, from getting early alerts of new listings to negotiating the price and terms and seamlessly finalizing the close.

Expert guidance, along with a healthy dose of patience and perseverance, can be the key to finding your ideal home when and where you want it.

Has the time come for a change in your life? If that change means beginning the search for your new home, we are here to help you every step of the way. Reach out to us at or call 416-450-5900 with any questions or to get started.

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