Top real estate tips whether you’re buying, selling or renting

Whether it’s buying, selling, or renting, real estate marketing is a big deal. If you’re a regular reader of this column, you know that every week I share my tips to help consumers make more informed decisions before buying real estate.

As the saying goes, time sure flies. I can’t believe it’s been 10 years since I wrote my first “Ask John” column!

Since then, the market has shown significant changes. Over the past several years, many parts of the state have seen a seller’s market filled with multiple and “bully” offers and high prices. Of course, the epidemic was (and is) not having the expected cooling effect on the market.

And now, at the end of 2022, we’re seeing the effects of rising inflation and a buyer’s market.

No matter what market we’re in, my essential tips remain the same. So, to commemorate the occasion, I’ve decided to recap some of my top tips from the past decade.

Do your research. A good place to start is the Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO) website. Here you can find a variety of helpful resources, including information about real estate agents and guides. The RECO Real Estate Professional Search Tool allows you to check if agents and brokers are actively registered to trade real estate in Ontario.

Understand the market. You’ve seen it on the news. Much of Ontario’s real estate market has cooled recently, so now may be a more favorable time for buyers than sellers. However, it is important to keep in mind that property values ​​change over time.

Review your finances and priorities. Ask yourself these important questions: How much can you afford for a down payment and mortgage? How is your credit score? How much responsibility are you comfortable with? Do you care more about fairness or freedom of movement?

Set a clear budget. Be sure to factor in the extra costs that come with buying a home – such as legal fees, land transfer tax and utility costs.

Consult experts for strategic guidance and information. These professionals include:

  • Real Estate Agent: They can offer many service options, including sharing knowledge about specific neighborhoods, tracking market trends, providing fair market analysis of similar properties, arranging showings, and negotiating terms.
  • A real estate attorney can: provide advice, review documents, research titles and take the necessary steps to successfully complete the transaction.
  • Mortgage Lender: If you need a mortgage, it’s key to get in touch with the terms of the loan and find an amount that you’re comfortable with. Talk to a mortgage advisor or mortgage broker from a bank or financial institution.
  • Home Inspector: An experienced inspector inspects and reports on property features such as electrical, roofing, plumbing, foundations and drainage.
  • Don’t skip the fine print. All the paperwork can be overwhelming, yes. But it is important to remember that these real estate agreements are legally binding. Therefore, review it closely and ask for clarification if something in the contract is confusing.
  • Include conditions to protect yourself. Keep in mind that while removing conditions like financing or a home inspection can make an offer more attractive to the seller, it can also be risky for you.
  • Don’t assume that everything you see at a showing is included in the property sale. Check everything that comes with the home and ask your agent to describe all items in writing.

If you have questions about the home buying or selling process, please email

Joe Richer is the Registrar of the Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO). This column is for general information purposes only and is not intended as legal or professional advice on real estate transactions. Follow RECO on Twitter: @RECOhelps

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