“The best fighter is never angry.” – Lao Tzu
“Do or do not. There is no try.” – Yoda
2021 wasn’t kind on many levels, and that was particularly evident if you were attempting to buy real estate in the GTA. It often resembled a piece of meat being dropped into a loaded piranha tank, a frothing stew of blood and guts. That’s what happens when you put 10 people in a bar with only a single beer available. It ain’t pretty.
So what to expect in 2022? The answer, it would seem, is more of the same, just hopefully not quite as bad as the same. Price growth is projected at a more conservative 9-10% (it feels so crazy to write that), and the optimistic hope is that if the Pandemic gets under control (insert big LOL here) some semblance of stability might return.
Is it possible to buy in 2022? Hell yeah! Will it be easy to buy in 2022? Hell no! With that established, here are some thoughts to help navigate the choppy waters.
TRUTH 1 – ALLOW PERSPECTIVE TO GUIDE YOU
Perspective is central to all aspects of life, without exception. Barring some “Saw” horror movie scenario, it’s simply not a matter of life and death if you buy or don’t buy a particular house. Nobody is going to die on the operating table or be permanently maimed if you don’t snag that sweet 3 bedroom semi with the breath-taking exposed brick wall (although it does sound pretty sweet).
It’s ok to feel bummed about missing out on a house, and it’s normal, but ultimately you need to take a deep breath, brew some Chai tea and move on. There will be another house (there always is) and the sun will come up tomorrow. Remind yourself to leave the angst and despair at the door.
Financial perspective is also critically important. I can’t tell you how many times I have had buyers balk at offering $10,000 more to secure a house (over a 25 year mortgage to boot), and then casually go on to tell me how they eat out at restaurants 3 times a week and have 2 vacations planned in the next 6 months. It just doesn’t add up, on both a financial and practical level.
“The moment you change your perspective, is the moment you rewrite the chemistry of your body.”
TRUTH 2 – LOOK AT THE LONG GAME
You are going to end up paying more than you want to for a house. That’s just the game you have chosen to play and the rules are inflexible. There are no deals in Toronto real estate, in spite of what some clickbait articles will lead you to believe. But the long game is always there.
The long game is that the market always does the heavy lifting. You may have “overpaid” by $50,000 last night, but in a year from now your house will have increased in value by $100,000. In 5 years it will have increased by $500,000 and in a decade it will have doubled. That’s long game.
“When the mind is perfectly clear, what is is what we want.”
TRUTH 3 – COMPROMISE IS NOT A DIRTY WORD
Whenever I start working with new buyers I ask them to create a wants and needs list for the type of property they hope to buy. A need is something they absolutely must have (a roof over their head), and a want is something that isn’t essential but nonetheless highly desirable (ie big backyard).
I’m often shocked when I see what is on the needs list for buyers on tight budgets. Things like a main floor powder room, no main streets, 8 foot basement etc etc etc. Guess what? Unless you can’t walk or are 90, nobody needs a main floor powder room. Nor does anybody truly need an 8 foot basement, and let’s show some love to that main street.
If you are serious about getting into the market then you will need to embrace the notion of hard compromise. Everybody always wants more than they can actually get, so buckle down and get as much as you can of what you actually need.
“The truth is not always beautiful, nor beautiful words the truth.”
TRUTH 4 – STAY IN THE GAME
Initially, you are going to get your butt kicked. It’s going to feel like you contracted Covid, Ebola, The Spanish Flu and Bubonic Plague all at once. There’s just no way to sugar coat that.
You are going to get blown out of the water on your first couple of offers. The “perfect” house is going to sell in the first hour on the market before you even get a chance to see it. It’s going to feel hopeless and you are going to feel like it’s never going to happen and the universe is torturing you for all those twisted Google searches you did. Again, this is normal.
But if you stay in the game, put in the work and are realistic (and have enough money) it will eventually happen. You will get a house, it will probably just take longer than you anticipated.
“You miss one hundred percent of the shots that you don’t take.”
TRUTH 5 – THE MARKET DOESN’T DISCRIMINATE
The Toronto real estate market doesn’t care if you are Black, White, Brown, Purple, Blue or Orange. The only colour that matters is green. The market is a beast that never stops or slows down, and you feed it with green. It’s like a great white shark in perpetual motion.
So here are the rules of the game. If you have enough green you can play, and if you don’t you will remain the wallflower at the Prom. Andrew Mccarthy ain’t plucking you from the table. It’s not personal and it never has been. It’s business, no more or no less. It’s green.
“Things are as they are. Looking out into the universe at night, we make no comparisons between right and wrong stars, nor between well and badly arranged constellations.”
TRUTH 6 – BUYING IS A FULL TIME JOB
I always chuckle at the utopian scenario that real estate TV shows portray. A couple goes out and sees 4 or 5 properties that all more or less tick the boxes. Then they go have a leisurely lunch with their agent (LOL) to discuss the relative merits of each house, before selecting one and then successfully negotiating a deal UNDER the asking price!
In our reality, this is but a beautiful and elusive dream. In Toronto, being a successful buyer requires a 24/7 commitment. When a house can literally sell within an hour of hitting the market you have no choice but to be all in. If something in your wheelhouse comes out you have to drop everything to see it., whether that is at 11 pm on Friday or 6 am on Sunday. And you have to put in the legwork so you can be comfortable pulling the trigger at a moment’s notice.
“The resistance to the unpleasant situation is the root of suffering.”
TRUTH 7 – BE NICE TO MOMMY AND DADDY
More and more buyers are entering the market due to one big reason – a nice fat loan from the Bank of Mom and Dad. Maybe you were born into a family of Logan Roy types replete with coal black hearts, so soften them up with a kiss, bake them a souffle and send them the Tom Selleck CHIPS reverse mortgage CD package. Landing that dream home might depend on their dowry more than you could ever imagine.
“Who’s your Daddy and what does he do?
Stay warm and stay safe friends. And happy house hunting.