August 29, 2019 | Move-up Buyers
There are certain advantages to being a move-up buyer. First, you’re not a first-time buyer anymore. So, you don’t feel like you have no idea what you’re doing when buying a property. Second, you have a better idea what you want this time around. Unlike the first time around, when your target was to buy something that you could simply afford, you are now looking to land the one that you can really expand into, the one that really gets it right. You have a much better idea of what works for you and what will not. If you have kids, you’ll pay more attention to school districts. If you hate your commute, you’ll be looking to close the distance between work and home. If you have been dying for a king-sized bed, you’ll be looking very closely at the square feet of the master bedroom. Simply put, there will be things you learn about yourself by living in the property you bought the first time that will give you a sense of clarity on your second home.
Still, buying a move-up home can be overwhelming. It’s not the learning curve of the first-time buyer, but it’s the amount of time and effort needed to both buy and sell a property. Move-up buyers are different than first-time buyers. Your schedule is less flexible. Your responsibilities are often greater. There is a different set of fears that come with this process. So, let’s look at what fears move-up buyers may have, and how to best address them.
What do move-up buyers fear?
YOU WILL OWN TWO HOMES
This is very possible. Unlike first-time buyers who are usually renting before they purchase a property, move-up buyers may decide to buy the house they want before they sell the one they have. Deciding to take this approach will depend on how the market is performing. This may be a better strategy in a sellers’ market where buying is more difficult than selling. Research is required though. If you first-home is not paid off, you may need to get bridge financing where a lending institution allows you to have two mortgages for a short time. So, you may want to consult with the your lending institution to see if this is a good option for you.
YOU WILL OWN NO HOMES
In other words, when you will sell your home first and then buy one, there will likely be a period of time where you will own no property and need a place to live during that gap. This is more common in a buyers’ market. Something we don’t see very often in the old city of Toronto. It does have its advantages though. If you sell first, then you know exactly how much you have to buy your next property. You also don’t have the stress of carrying two properties. The downside is that you will have to find a short term rental. Between the sold house and the yet-to-be-bought house, you will have to find somewhere to live. This requires moving twice and likely putting all or some of your furniture and accumulated stuff into storage for a short time. Again, this tactic would be more work, but may give you more peace of mind to know exactly how much you have to spend on your next house.
YOU WON’T HAVE ENOUGH TIME TO BUY AND SELL
I won’t lie to you. It’s more work to be a move-up buyer than a first-time buyer or last-time seller. You will be trying to coordinate transactions with two properties and trying to time the closing of them both. There will be a lot to do, but if you have a good real estate salesperson, you will be directed to the right people to help ease the load considerably.
YOU’LL NEVER FIND WHAT YOU WANT
In a competitive market, it can be tough to find the right property. And sometimes that just takes time. Make sure that you and your agent have a good understanding of the market. You may have to make sure that what you want is attainable. You should be following the solds closely in the areas you wish to buy. Just remember that the market changes. You may need to have some flexibility. You don’t have to overhaul your wish list, but I find my clients’ most desired properties don’t always check every box on their wish list. Let yourself be open to those. Let yourself be open to something that may need some cosmetic renovations here and there. You may want to put your mark on the new place.
YOU’LL BUY A LEMON
The good thing about being a move-up buyer is that you’ll have a much better idea now of what works and what doesn’t work for you. You’ll know from your first house if a big yard is important or if your commute is too long. You’ll know how much space is needed. Even with a very good home inspector and your contractor uncle giving you the green light on your house, there will be several years in your new home where you will need to learn about your property. There can be surprises, but you probably didn’t buy a lemon if you vetted your property well. When you are a move-up buyer, you may feel nervous about the new house. All those feeling of “Did I buy the right house?” will come rushing back just like when you bought your first property. The truth is, you are more knowledgable the second time around. You’ll have better sense of what you want. You’ll know what works and doesn’t work for you. Your primary question won’t be: What can I afford in Toronto? But it will be more like: What property is going to improve my life?
You will be juggling more balls in the air the second time around, but with the right guidance, purchasing a buy-up home can much more rewarding. Still, you’ll need a strategy to guide you through this process if selling and buying. So, choose your guide wisely.