Buying a new home, especially if you’re a first-time home buyer, is an exciting venture. However, many aspects of the process can be overwhelming. Technical jargon and legal requirements, in particular, can be difficult to follow. With the help of an experienced real estate broker, you won’t need to worry about a thing. They will be there to help you throughout the process and to explain any topics that require more clarity. But, for those interested in understanding the real estate market and the process of buying and selling a home, real estate FAQs are a great place to start.


Beginning her career at a young age, Michelle Kam is extremely knowledgeable when it comes to the real estate market. Michelle began her career with Re/Max immediately after graduating from York University. Specializing in high-end, million-dollar properties in the resale market, Michelle soon found a passion for the urban market in Toronto and began focusing on condos, lofts and townhomes in the pre-sale market. In June 2016, Kam had the fortune of meeting Jamie Johnston and, after managing City Accord Realty Inc. for more than 10 years, decided to join Jamie, the owner of Re/Max Condos Plus. For those wishing to learn more about real estate, she shares her insight and answers real estate FAQs asked by home buyers in the Toronto area.


What does it mean when it’s a buyer’s market?


A buyer’s market refers to a state in which more supply than demand exists in the real estate market. In other words, in a buyer’s market, there are more properties for sale than there are buyers. This type of market offers a significant advantage to home buyers. Not only do buyers have more options to choose from, but they also have more leverage when it comes to negotiating. Michelle Kam advises that buyers, especially first-time home buyers, try to purchase property in a buyer’s market.


What does seller’s market mean?


In a seller’s market, there is more demand than supply. That is, there are more buyers than there are properties for sale. This puts homeowners in a great position to sell. With increased competition between buyers, the seller is in a better position to negotiate. In fact, in a seller’s market, sellers will typically receive their asking price, or more, as buyers compete for properties. Michelle Kam notes that homes also often sell more quickly in a seller’s market.


What can I do to make my home sell faster?


There are several factors that impact how quickly a home will sell. First and foremost, to ensure that your home sells as quickly as possible, make sure you work with an experienced Toronto real estate broker. An experienced broker will help you price your home appropriately for the market and promote it effectively. Michelle Kam points out that when pricing a property, proficient real estate brokers will use comparative sales, market analysis, and their professional knowledge to provide a fair price. If the property is not properly priced, a seller may find it difficult to sell their home. In fact, this factor is one of the leading causes of an inability to sell.


Who pays land transfer tax in Toronto?


Buyers purchasing a home in the Toronto area are required to pay a municipal land transfer tax. This municipal tax is in addition to the provincial land transfer tax that applies to the purchase of homes in Ontario. If you are wondering how to calculate land transfer tax, there are various tools available online. Michelle Kam proposes that buyers can also contact their real estate broker or real estate lawyer who will be able to explain the tax and how to calculate it.


Do you have to pay land transfer tax on new homes in Toronto?


Yes, when purchasing a pre-construction condo, townhouse or home in Toronto, buyers must pay the municipal land transfer tax, in addition to a provincial land transfer tax. The municipal land transfer tax applies to all homes in the City of Toronto. This area is defined using the boundaries of Steeles Avenue to the north, Etobicoke to the west, Scarborough in the east, and Lake Ontario to the south.


What benefits do first-time home buyers get in Toronto?


There are several programs available to first-time home buyers in the Toronto area. One of the most commonly used programs is the federal government’s First-Time Home Buyer’s Plan. This plan allows first-time home buyers to withdraw up to $35,000 from their Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) in order to purchase a home. In most cases, RRSP withdrawals are taxed. However, with the First-Time Home Buyer’s Plan, money can be withdrawn and will not be taxed, as long as it is paid back within 15 years. In addition, the Ontario provincial government offers a land transfer tax refund to new buyers. With this program, first-time home buyers can receive a refund of up to $4,000 on their Ontario land transfer tax. Home buyers purchasing real estate in Toronto can also receive a rebate of up to $4,475 on their municipal land transfer tax. Finally, the First-Time Home Buyers Tax Credit offers first-time buyers a $5,000 income tax credit to help with the closing costs associated with buying a home. If you believe you qualify for one of these plans, Michelle Kam recommends speaking with your real estate broker. They will be able to guide you to the best resources so that you can take advantage of these benefits.


Do I need a real estate broker?


While some people decide to take on the task of selling their own home, this is not advisable. There are many technical and legal aspects of a real estate transaction that require a trained and experienced professional. In addition to assuring legal requirements are met, an experienced real estate broker will know how to properly price, stage, and market your home. In many cases, homeowners who attempt to sell their own homes overlook these aspects, resulting in detrimental and costly outcomes. A knowledgeable real estate broker can also offer insight into the best neighbourhoods and upcoming developments, as well as assist you with financing and inspections. Above all, a professional realtor will represent you in the negotiating process to ensure you get the best price, whether buying or selling. Michelle Kam advises finding an experienced and local real estate agent, as a realtor with knowledge of your area will offer the best advice and service.

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