We’re just as guilty as the next guy when it comes to making New Year’s resolutions only to break them weeks into the year. Sigh. It’s not something we’re proud of but we can also honestly say there are some resolutions that have lasted well beyond March! That said, New Year’s resolutions don’t have to focus on things like healthier lifestyle choices. No sir! They can apply to any and all aspects of your life from correcting bad behaviours to career changes and relationship adjustments to financial health. Here we share 10 achievable real estate “resolutions” you can make with tips to help you reach your goals.
Before we get started, here’s an easy one to check off your list. Stay up-to-date with the latest real estate news by signing up for our newsletter here.
Real Estate Resolution #1:
I WILL START SAVING MONEY FOR A DOWN PAYMENT FOR MY FIRST HOME
This is a big one because it requires a lot of cash to buy your first home. You’re looking at between about $45,000 for a condominium and upwards of $350,000 for a detached home today. However, if you’re at a point in your career and/or relationship where things are stable, it’s possible to achieve this goal.
Here are some tips to help you save for your down payment:
- If possible, consider moving in with your parents so most of your earnings can go to savings.
- Consider living with a room mate so you can save more on your monthly expenses.
- Make serious lifestyle sacrifices giving up anything you don’t need from your morning soymilk half pump caramel macchiato to Thai takeout and from going for drinks with friends after work to eating less meat.
- Consider selling your car and taking transit to reduce your expenses for gas and insurance.
- If you have debt, pay it off using the money you save from the above tips.
- Speak to your financial advisor to learn more ways to build your down payment as quickly as possible.
- Improve your credit score by making payments to debt, utilities, rent etc. on time.
- Consider ways to increase your income such as taking on a part time job, taking courses to improve your skill set, working overtime, or finding an exciting side gig.
Real Estate Resolution #2:
I WILL BUY MY FIRST HOME
If you’ve been sitting on a nest egg waiting for the opportunity to buy your first home, make 2024 the year you make home ownership a reality. The first thing to do is to speak to your bank about pre-approval. This will establish whether you can afford a home right now and tell you how much money the bank is willing to lend you. If you don’t qualify you can switch gears and focus on improving your credit score and building your down payment. If you do qualify you can take the next step and speak to a Toronto real estate team (we’re happy to help!) about your options based on your mortgage budget. Exciting!
Do you have more home-buying questions? Read these posts next:
- How to Buy an Affordable Home in Toronto
- 10 Signs a Home is “The One”
- When is the Best Time to Buy a Home with a New Partner
Real Estate Resolution #3:
I WILL SELL MY STARTER HOME
Is now a good time to consider selling your “starter” home? It could be. Inventory is still pretty low, and more people are expected to start their house hunt in the early spring of 2024 with news that interest rates have stabilized and will likely go down.
If you’re worried about prices being low, the truth is, when the market is kind of off kilter like it’s been since the interest rate nightmare the Bank of Canada started, you have to remember that interest rates aren’t the only reason we’re seeing properties selling for tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars less than you’d like. Although it seems like this is the case, prices have still risen, albeit not as drastically as you might hope. Also, there are other reasons prices might be lower. A lot of homeowners are either settling for a “discount” brokerage or less qualified agent in the hopes of making up for what they fear is lost equity in a slow market by paying less commission. Big mistake!
Ironically, it’s actually the fact that sellers are using the wrong agent that is more likely costing them money. So, whether it’s us, or another agent that comes highly recommended from people you trust, you need to find an experienced agent to optimize your home for sale so you can list for a higher price and see higher offers.
So be diligent and find a full-service real estate team who will provide the following services (we got you on every one of these points BTW):
- Professional photography (check out some samples here)
- Staging (check out some before and afters here)
- Professional print materials (check out a sample here)
- Professional virtual tours & videos
- Professional floor plans (check out a sample here)
- Professional cleaning
- Full access to Client Care Services
- A pre-listing home inspection for homes
- A status certificate for condos
Also, you want to get a head start on prepping your home for sale, and that starts with a free assessment in January with an experienced real estate team. We’re here to help and can put together a selling strategy that sets your home apart and attracts top dollar just before other sellers are considering listing their homes.
Discover more resources to help sell your home right here:
- Is it Possible to Sell a Toronto Home in the Winter?
- Can Staging My Home Really Increase the Sales Price?
- Is it a Good Idea to Sell Your Home in a Recession?
Real Estate Resolution #4:
I WILL RENOVATE MY HOME TO IMPROVE ROI TO SELL
Now, if you plan to sell in the next five years or so, but know your home is not really buyer friendly, having a renovation strategy to improve ROI is an excellent New Years resolution. Before you call the contractor for quotes, however, you need to know you’re making the right renovations to improve ROI when you sell.
We can assess your home and consider the best ways to improve your space, investing just enough money to suit the needs of your target buyer based on your location. This is soooooo important, we can’t even begin to stress how much. Because it’s possible to “over renovate” and lose money when you sell. It’s an actual thing where you maybe go too fancy and too specific on a bathroom or kitchen reno only to find the average buyer in your area is overwhelmed by the look and not willing to pay top dollar for a home that feels too bougie. So, by speaking to a real estate agent first, you can put together a renovation strategy that ensures you invest the right amount in the right upgrades to sell to the average buyer who will be thrilled to put in an offer that covers your expenses.
Curious about renovating or making improvements to your home? Here are a few posts to get you started:
- Will Home Improvements Increase My Property Taxes?
- Decor Trends to Leave in the Past
- The Not-So-Handy Person’s Guide to DIY Projects
Real Estate Resolution #5:
I WILL RELOCATE TO IMPROVE MY QUALITY OF LIFE
If you find you’re feeling house poor all the time, or your life feels like it’s lacking something, you might consider relocating to improve your quality of life. This works both ways:
- Moving from the city: Relocating to areas outside the city can help you save money on your mortgage payments, so you have more cash to use for other things. Whether it’s an annual vacation, more dinners out, or saving for retirement, selling a city home, and using that equity as a down payment for a new home further out from the city can provide more cash flow so you aren’t house poor.
- Moving to the city: Many people are still living in their suburban “COVID” homes purchased when the work from home trend made suburban living more appealing. However, if you’re missing the excitement and convenience of city life, selling your suburban home, and moving back to the city could be the answer.
To make this resolution stick, it’s all about home equity. The more equity you have in your home, the more money you’ll have towards a down payment and the more choices you’ll have to find the ideal lifestyle to suit your needs.
Thinking about relocating? Find out how to plan a flawless Toronto relocation right here.
Real Estate Resolution #6:
I WILL SPEAK TO MY MORTGAGE LENDER TO DISCUSS WAYS TO PAY DOWN MY MORTGAGE FASTER
This is what we would say is a very smart resolution. Any efforts to pay off your mortgage sooner will translate into more cash and home equity for you. Off the tops of our heads, there are a few common ways you can pay down your mortgage faster:
- Make additional mortgage payments: Speak to your lender to find out how much more you can put toward your mortgage, based on how much you can afford of course. Most mortgages allow you to either make an annual lump sum based on a specific percentage, or in some cases increase how much you pay towards your regular mortgage payments. This will help reduce what you owe, and over the remainder of your mortgage payments reduce how much interest you pay.
- Accelerate your mortgage payments: Accelerated payments change monthly payments to weekly or biweekly payments allowing you to pay your mortgage off faster and save on interest. This might only work out to one full additional payment each year, but believe us, this does add up and will make a difference.
- Blend and extend: This is an important option right now since interest rates are still higher than usual. If your mortgage is coming up for renewal, ask your lender about blending and extending your current mortgage. This extends the length of your mortgage before your current term ends and then your old interest rate is blended with the higher interest rates now. This saves you money as you don’t get hit with the full amount of higher interest rates.
Regardless of your strategy, make sure you understand potential penalties and balance those costs with the money you’ll save by making the adjustment.
Check out our mortgage calculator right here.
Real Estate Resolution #7:
I WILL FIND A WAY TO DITCH MY ANNOYING ROOMY AND GAIN MORE FINANCIAL INDEPENDENCE
If you’ve found yourself earning more in 2023, this is your chance to ditch your annoying roomy and find a place of your own. Whether you’re subletting part of your lease and ask your roomy to leave, or you head out on your own to a smaller apartment or your parents (parents usually make better roommates than a slug of a roommate who is messy, doesn’t pay their rent on time, or has nasty habits) this is a New Years resolution that provides you with independence free of that “Eddie” roomy who has you sleeping with one eye open.
Real Estate Resolution #8:
I WILL LEVERAGE MY HOME EQUITY TO MAKE REAL ESTATE INVESTMENT A VIABLE SIDE GIG
This could be the year you take advantage of your home equity and invest in rental property to bring in more money. With an average one bedroom going for $2600, this is an excellent opportunity. You can also consider using your home equity to renovate a level in your home to create a rental property such as your basement or attic. Your home equity can be put to clever use, and with rental units in high demand you’re sure to get top dollar and find a worthy tenant glad to have a charming home and a kind landlord like you!
Get the latest scoop on real estate investing in Toronto with these posts next:
- Top 4 Foolproof Toronto Neighbourhoods for Investors
- How to Choose an Investor-Friendly Real Estate Agent in Toronto
- How to Sell a Tenanted Property
Real Estate Resolution #9:
I WON’T BE A SLAVE TO MY MORTGAGE ANY MORE
To achieve this resolution, we advise you to follow our tips in resolutions #3, 5, 6 and possibly 8! The trick is to relieve the pressures of your mortgage any way you can, so your mortgage doesn’t consume you, cause stress, and eat up all your cash flow.
Real Estate Resolution #10:
I WILL LEVERAGE THE KNOWLEDGE OF A GOOD REAL ESTATE TEAM TO UNDERSTAND MY OPTIONS
Regardless of what real estate resolutions you make, you have access to a valuable resource in your local real estate team. Whether you give us a call, or go with another team, free advice that sets you on the right path is something you shouldn’t pass up. A wealth of knowledge is waiting for you whether you’re ready to buy, sell your starter home and upgrade, make smart renovation decisions, or just want to chat about all the options available to suit your particular circumstances.
Speaking to the best real estate team in Toronto is the first step to finding out how you can achieve your New Years real estate resolutions. Call The Christine Cowern Team at 416.291.7372 or email us at email@example.com with any questions or to set up a call. We’d love to work with you!