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John Helfrich, Broker, Real Estate Homeward , Brokerage | 416.698.2090 | Direct: 416.464.8920 | John@EastEndTorontoHomes.com

First time buyer mistakes and how to avoid them

March 4, 2010

First time buyer, first time buyer mistakes,You can Avoid The Mistakes I made as a First Time Buyer

I made almost every first time buyer mistake you can make, when I bought my first home in Danforth Village years ago. I was 25 , and the home needed a lot of work, but it was all we could afford.

Our Plan to Own Toronto Real Estate

My brother and I bought it as partners, because neither one of us could afford it on our own. We didn't think much about 'Quality of Life' issues, we just desperately wanted to own a home. We would duplex it, rent it out, buy another, do the same thing over again, and be zillionaires by the time we were 30.

We were young, had more energy than experience, and tore into that reno with everything we had. Bit by bit we fixed it up, replacing every major system in the house. It took about 5 years before it was in any shape to rent out or sell, because we did most of the work ourselves and didn't have enough money to take on more than one project at a time.

Lessons We Didn't Want to Learn

We learned a lot in those 5 years. Wiring, plumbing, insulation, all kinds of things.

But mostly I learned how much I hated living next to, and sharing a driveway with, that supermarket on the Danforth. Separated only by an 8 foot wide lane, trucks would roll up and block our driveway for 'just a few minutes' a dozen times a day. The loading gate door was maybe 10 feet from my front porch. They'd bring in slabs of beef the size of 'Smart Cars' and bring out cases of rotten produce deserving of a 'hazmat' suit. They stacked the rotten produce and meat trimmings about 8 feet high and 3 feet deep right across the driveway from us. We waited for garbage day like school kids wait for the weekend.

What we did wrong

I don't really remember, but I'm guessing we bought in the winter. Probably saw the house after work, in the dark, after delivery hours. No trucks, no wasps, no rats, no smelly rotting garbage, and what luck, a nice big lane to drive around to the back of our house.

In hindsight I regret buying that property. I doubt I would have bought it at any price, if I'd known what it would be like to live there. Back then there was no such thing as 'Buyer Agency' and the Realtors all worked for the Seller, according to the law at the time. It was truly a 'Buyer Beware' situation.

You have better protection when you buy Toronto Real Estate today

As a Toront Real Estate Agent today, I have a legal and ethical obligation to represent the interests of my Buyer clients. I disclose every fact I know that would influence how much my client might pay, or affect their decision to buy the home at all. It's my job to look for pitfalls and steer my Buyers away from them.

Every neighbourhood, every street, and even each lot has it's own bundle of pro's and cons's. You need someone who can open a discussion (or open your eyes) to what it might be like living there. You should go back a second (or third) time. You should see it in daylight. And if you work from home, you should spend some time there during business hours.


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