To help you navigate Muskoka's red-hot real estate market, we spoke with a couple of our realtors to provide insight on the top questions they’ve been getting from buyers and sellers lately.
Q: Should I wait until the market cools down to buy?
The short answer: It depends on your situation. “The reality is that in the red-hot COVID market, houses have been selling for over asking and without conditions when perhaps they shouldn't be,” says Rolly Robert, a sales representative at our Royal LePage Lakes of Muskoka Realty office in Bracebridge. “The time between seeing the house and the offer date is short and leaves little time for reflection.”
So, if you're in a situation where you have the benefit of time, it's always helpful, says Daniel Cleland, a broker at our Royal LePage Lakes of Muskoka Realty office in Gravenhurst. “You never know when the right home will become available, so it’s good to keep your finger on the pulse and make a move when the ideal property presents itself,” he adds.
Q: Should I waive my right to a home inspection?
As much as you may feel inclined to waive an inspection to advance your position in a multiple-offer situation, you need to understand why it’s important to have your home inspected. “For instance, you may uncover things in an inspection that you least expect and are potentially costly to remediate,” says Cleland. “If you choose to waive your right to a home inspection, be sure you have the means to handle any surprises you may end up with.”
Suppose the home appears to have so much competition that an inspection will kill your chances. In that case, you may want to factor in the worst-case scenario and assume work will need to be done and let that reflect in your offer, says Robert. “If they say the fifty-year-old septic is in good shape, you have to know that at best, it's living on borrowed time and will have to be addressed at some point,” he says.
Q: Should I put down a larger deposit to make my offer more attractive?
“A larger deposit, although it shouldn't be a determining factor in a multiple-offer situation, often does help,” says Cleland. “It can show that you’re financially comfortable and will be more likely to either firm up (if you have conditions) or close the deal.”
Robert agrees that a larger deposit certainly sends a message to the seller that you're serious. But, on the other hand, “if you put a small deposit down, the seller may interpret this as financial weakness,” he says.
Q: Should I wait to sell until I can find a new home?
Cleland says this is a double-edged sword. “Waiting to sell your home could put you at a disadvantage in the purchasing process, as you may require a condition,” he says, adding that you won't have a concrete number to work with until you have a firm sale.
On the flip side, if you sell first, you may be in a position with no place to live given the current competitive market, adds Cleland. “One way this can work in some situations is to list your home for sale (while shopping for a new one) and require any offer to have a condition for you to find suitable accommodation within a given period of time,” he says.
Just know that you'll be shrinking your number of potential buyers, Robert warns. “Many buyers are squeamish about doing things this way, as it does leave them in limbo.”