December 15, 2023 | Buying

How NOT To Buy a House

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What are some of the worst mistakes buyers can make when looking for a house? In a fast-changing market, it’s essential to be aware of all of the pitfalls before you even begin your search. We realize that the process can often seem overwhelming and stressful, especially in a market as competitive and challenging as the GTA.

That’s why we’ve created this guide where a hapless buyer makes every mistake in the book. They may seem over the top and ridiculous, but someone, somewhere, is falling into one of these traps. Knowing about them is a massive advantage in a tight market. 

If you plan on purchasing in the next year or two, your path is simple–simply read all of the instructions you’ll find in the post below. Then do the opposite! This is meant to be a fun take on a serious subject that will help you become a more informed and savvy buyer who is ready for anything. 

Don’t Bother With a Plan

Planning can help you narrow down your choices and keep you focused on realistic goals while staying within a comfortable budget. But what fun is that? Plus, it takes sooo much time to create a plan that works, time that would be better spent backtracking all the way to square one every time you make a mistake that you would have otherwise avoided. For a successful house purchase, the last thing you want to do is take a few minutes to determine the best course of action.

If you want to experience the most aggravation, stress, and disappointment on your journey to failure, then be sure not to plan. Just let the chips fall where they will. After an extended period of time has gone by, and you still haven’t purchased your house, you will know that your lack of planning was a smashing failu… we mean success!

As lighthearted as this post is, we are still committed to helping you buy a house–successfully! The information below will be a valuable resource:

Visit Every Listing Within a 100 Km Radius

Sure, a house might be hundreds of thousands above your budget or located a hundred miles from where you want to live. But why not explore every possibility, even if they’re not within reach? There’s always someday, right?

In the meantime, a successful failure to buy a home starts with confusion and far too many choices. And there’s no better way to do that than by spending all of your time looking at 75 listings instead of zeroing in on the homes that are most suitable for you. 

If all goes well, you’ll experience an acute sense of paralysis by analysis. Since you won’t know what to do next because your head is spinning, you’ll end up doing nothing at all. And there are few better ways to fail in your mission to buy a house. 

If you want to narrow down your search to a few likely contenders, our featured listing page is a great place to start. 

Never Leave Your (Existing) House

What if you don’t have the energy to waste time visiting too many options in person? Take heart! You can be equally inefficient with far less energy expenditure by doing all of your browsing online and never leaving your living room. 

For even greater inefficiency and lack of results, why not try multi-tasking by watching TV or checking social media at the same time? If a listing catches your eye and is in your price range, avoid the temptation to contact your real estate agent and book an in-person visit. That has a high degree of risk of resulting in a successful purchase. Instead, put your headphones on and go back to looking at listings online. Extra points if those listings are not even in Canada!

Trust the Advice of Everyone You Meet

For a successful failure to purchase, be sure to avoid the expertise of a local GTA Realtor® at all costs. It’s even worse if that Realtor® is current and up-to-date and works full-time in the industry. To ensure your home-buying dreams never come true, the best thing to do is to listen to someone who has never bought real estate, but who has perhaps watched a YouTube video. 

If you are unable to find a YouTube expert, you can move on to the second-worst option: well-meaning friends and relatives. You undoubtedly know someone who bought their last house twenty years ago or more. They are generally happy to tell you everything you should and shouldn’t do, and their advice is always excellent in terms of creating extra headaches, paying too much, or not ending up with a house at all. 

Do you prefer accurate, up-to-date advice instead of relying on Internet “experts”? Book a free strategy session with us right here.

Make Lots of Assumptions

It feels so good to think you’re right when you’re absolutely wrong, doesn’t it? That’s what makes assumptions so much fun, and so detrimental to the possibility of buying a house. That’s also why you should never ask your real estate agent to check current statistics as to what houses are actually selling for in the neighbourhood of your choice. 

If your assumptions alienate the seller, even better! So, if your instincts are telling you to come in $200,000 less than fair market value, you should definitely try it. 

There’s no better way to negotiate with a seller than to insult them with a lowball offer. You should also not do any market research before submitting offers so that you can be way off base about what, if any, conditions to include. 

Rely Exclusively on an Online Brokerage

One of the first steps to choosing a house is to conduct an evaluation to ensure you’re getting the best value. If you were to work with a local real estate team, an agent would personally investigate everything about a potential property to ensure that it is suitable for you in every way. But remember, working with a real, live Realtor® comes with a substantial risk of success. 

An online brokerage with no personalized services or detailed analysis will ensure the worst buying experience you can hope for. Instead of receiving one-on-one attention from an expert who cares, an impersonal algorithm will calculate the value of a house based on statistics that may be outdated or irrelevant. 

Just type in the address, and voila! You get a number so fast it’s practically magic. Should you trust that value? Absolutely! There is no need to worry about minor details such as:

  • How busy the street is
  • Whether the house has a pool
  • Whether it backs onto a hydro line
  • What level of upgrades it has
  • Any stigmas that may be associated with the property

These factors are why the listing price is often not the final selling price, which helpfully adds to the confusion. With so many small details to be aware of and juggle at all times, the last thing you want to do is work with someone who understands them.

Overextend Your Budget

When buying a house, treat your budget as a mere suggestion. There’s no need to have a firm ceiling in mind or to stick to your guns after you’ve determined the maximum you can afford. Also, don’t worry about the land transfer taxes or closing costs afterwards. 

Disregarding your budget makes the process much more thrilling. You can bid on homes that are way out of your range and enjoy the excitement of a fierce bidding war. If you commit to paying more than the appraised value for a house, the bank may not approve your mortgage for the full amount. What could be more satisfyingly stressful than a large financial obligation you didn’t expect?

Let Your Emotions Take Over

If you want to fail to buy a house or enjoy the risk of buying the wrong house, just put your logic aside and operate 100% from emotion. Never mind the fact that a skilled listing agent knows exactly how to present a listing to tempt you to overspend.

The right choice might be the house a few doors down the street that is undervalued and simply needs a coat of fresh paint. By being logical, you might save money while ending up with a beautiful place to call home. But logic is boring, and who wants that?

Let Your Fears Control You

On the opposite end of the spectrum, you could also let your fears stand in the way of all of your dreams. Buying a house can be risky. What if the market changes and your property loses value temporarily? Pay no attention to the fact that GTA real estate has always consistently risen in value over the long term.

By worrying excessively about everything that could possibly go wrong, you’ll soon find yourself terrified to do anything. Now, your goals of buying a home get pushed further and further into the distant future until they fade from reality. What a relief!

Wait for the Perfect Listing

In real estate, you hear a lot of talk about finding the “perfect” home, or the home that’s just right for you. In reality, this level of perfection doesn’t exist, and waiting for it can spell doom for your prospects of buying anything.

Playing the waiting game is one of the most insidious reasons that some people never break into the market. No matter how many houses you see, nothing calls out to you, and none of these listings are absolutely perfect. A realistic buyer might purchase something that needs a modest amount of work and take the time to make it their own. A down-to-earth first-time buyer might even start with a small, one-bedroom condo. In the meantime, their equity will grow, eventually allowing them to upgrade to a semi-detached or even fully detached home one day. 

But that’s not the path for you. You can boldly determine to wait for the perfect house in the perfect location at the perfect time. With any luck, you might find yourself priced out of the market altogether.

The GTA real estate market can be especially daunting for first-time buyers, but have no fear. Read What Creative Solutions Are Available for First-Time Buyers? next.

Try to Time the Market

Of all the mistakes you can make when buying a house, trying to time the market is among the worst. Instead of acting when the time is right for you, why not obsess over what the unpredictable market will do next? And since you never know when prices will peak or bottom out, you can keep waiting forever before that new home becomes yours.

There’s a reason many real estate experts suggest “not to wait to buy” but to “buy and wait.” The longer you’re in the market, the more equity gains you would stand to gain.

Where should you look for your next home? The following posts might give you some ideas:

Take on Everyone’s Bad Energy

Lastly, the past couple of years have been challenging for many people, especially in real estate. As a result, you may have picked up on some of the negativity from the news and online. And yet, people continue to buy and sell houses and happily celebrate these milestones. If you want to avoid being one of them, be sure to soak up all of that bad energy. 

Don’t Do Any of This (Seriously)

We hope you’ve enjoyed this fun and hopefully humorous take on how NOT to buy a house! By doing the opposite of everything you’ve just read, you can remain positive and upbeat no matter what is happening in the world outside. 

The current market may have numerous challenges, but there are also fantastic opportunities for those who stay informed and work under the guidance of a local Realtor® who is well-versed in your neighbourhood. By following a carefully crafted plan, you can defy all the odds and soon be celebrating the purchase of your new house in the GTA.

Do you want to know more about buying a house in today’s fast-paced market? We are happy to help! Reach out today to or call 647-875-8000 to begin formulating a plan for your success. 

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