What were my top tips in 2022?

And just like that, the year is nearly over. What a year it has been!

From major shifts in mortgage rates to significant changes in home prices, the real estate market has experienced quite the twists and turns in many parts of the province and caused countless Ontarians to reassess their approaches to buying and selling.

For those who continue to navigate the ebbs and flows of the market, I hope that the information and advice I have shared through this weekly column has been helpful. Here is a recap of some key tips I shared this year.

Review the market. It’s not news that many parts of Ontario’s residential real estate market have cooled down compared to the past few years.

If you are currently leaning towards buying a property, you may be able to get one for less than you could last year, but you will pay a higher interest rate. There may even be some room to negotiate terms and conditions – but that will depend on your local market.

Do your research. Knowledge is power, and a great place to start is the Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO)’s website. Here you can find plenty of helpful resources, including the real estate professional search tool which lets you confirm whether agents and brokerages are registered to trade in real estate in Ontario, and also check for any past disciplinary action.

Look at the fine print closely. All the paperwork you have to sign is legally binding. This holds true for any agreements for working with an agent and the purchase agreement. Because of this, I highly suggest reviewing everything in detail, asking questions, and consulting with a lawyer who is insured to practice real estate law.

Hire a real estate agent. While RECO and other sources of information will be helpful, they are not a substitute for guidance from real estate professionals. An agent and their brokerage can provide strategic advice that will support you in your decision-making when buying or selling a particular type of home in a specific area. An agent is an expert who can help you understand that fine print.

There’s no single best time to sell a property. While yes, spring is generally considered peak season in the market, it’s important to note that real estate transactions happen all year ‘round. Determining the right time to sell a home will depend on many factors, that an agent can help you assess.

If you are buying, don’t assume what you see is what you get and don’t skip the final walk-through. Confirm whether things like light fixtures and appliances come with the property and, if they do, ask your agent to include them very specifically in writing as part of your offer.

As well, remember that home purchase closings typically range anywhere from a few weeks to several months. As such, a final scan will give you an opportunity to verify that everything is still in the same condition you saw earlier.

For more advice, I encourage you to read my other columns available on the Toronto Star and RECO websites or speak to a local agent.

If you have a question for Joe about the home buying or selling process, please email information@reco.on.ca.

This column is for general information purposes only and is not meant as legal or professional advice on real estate transactions.

Joseph Richer is Registrar of the Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO). He is in charge of the administration and enforcement of all rules that govern real estate professionals in Ontario. You can find more tips at reco.on.ca, follow on Twitter @RECOhelps or on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/RECOhelps.

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