How Should You Prepare For 2022?
As a buyer or seller, now is the time to get ready for 2022.
I can't believe it's already December. Where did the year go? Is it just me, or did this whole year feel like a blur? From lockdowns, to reopening, confusing public safety rules, what's allowed to open and what's not...All while every type of market (housing, condos, stocks, crypto, and even luxury watches) reach higher and higher levels. I keep saying that I can't wait for the world to get back to normal but now I'm not even sure what "normal" is going to look like going forward. Hopefully everyone has been staying healthy, keeping their spirits up, and making the best of a very weird time in our lives.
December usually has people slowing down, taking time off, unwinding, and reflecting on the past year. But for me, it's about getting ready for the next year. I always like to use the slowdown in December to think about those clients who didn't buy in the fall for one reason or another, or those who are getting ready to sell in the New Year and what we can do now to make the process less stressful. I hate stress. I like smooth, calm, easy deals. Don't we all? ;)
So while I was at the gym this week I started thinking about what I've been telling both my seller and buyer clients to expect as 2022 gets started and what we can do now to take a lot of pressure off when it comes time to buy or sell. Yes, I write all my blog posts in my head while I'm at the gym. People there probably think I'm nuts because I will literally be talking to myself while working out. I'm not crazy. I swear.
Sellers, here's what you can start doing now to make 2022 a little easier:
1 - You know all those little repairs you have around the house/condo that you've been putting off for years? Those little annoying things we all know about but say "I'll get to that later". Things like broken door handles, crooked cupboards, that light fixture that never worked, those blinds that never roll up, that hole in the basement wall, that leaky sink, that closet door that won't close...Now's the time to get cracking on those annoying things while you have the time. They all add up and doing them all at once right before you want to list your place for sale is going to drive you crazy. Trust me.
2 - Start planning for bigger repairs now. You know how you've always said you needed to replace your floors? Or how you really need to get new appliances? Or replace your kitchen counters before you sell? Or fix that leaky roof that always leaves a stain on your ceiling when it rains? Well, start planning those now. Supply chains are crazy backlogged and getting a contractor to even return your call is a challenge in itself, so start planning and locking in dates for those things now, way in advance.
3 - Paint. Painting is by far the best bang-for-your-buck in terms of return when it comes to selling. But it's a real hassle to do when you're still living in the house. So if you were planning to go away for a few days over the holidays, see if you can get a painter to drop by while you're gone and have your place painted. It's another one of those very annoying things to try and coordinate at the last minute before you sell, so if you have the opportunity to get that out of the way early, go for it.
4 - Start decluttering. Getting rid of all the junk in your home that you know you'll never need again is probably the most annoying part of putting your place up for sale. We all have junk. And I'm going to make you get rid of it all before we list. And it will take a lot longer than you anticipate. So start now. Start emptying out your closets, cleaning out your basement, sell old furniture on Kijiji that you know you'll never want to use again, start clearing off shelves, take down personal pictures and artwork that my stager will ask you to take down anyway. Basically start the process of de-personalizing and getting rid of as much "stuff" as you can so that when my stager walks in the week before it's time to hit the market, she's already working with a blank, decluttered canvas.
Buyers, here's what you can do to make sure you can hit the ground running in 2022:
1 - Get pre-approved. I'll say it again. Get pre-approved. Don't even start looking at condos or houses, even online, until you get pre-approved and know exactly how much you can afford. If you're going to sell in order to buy, start talking numbers with your mortgage broker (yes, use a mortgage broker) so we can work within a range of possibilities. Get the process going now, understand the monthly payments, see what mortgage options exist, what budget you're comfortable with, so that when that perfect place hits the market on January 3rd, you're ready to jump on it.
2 - If you need to sell in order to buy, refer to my seller list up above. There's nothing more stressful than buying a new place then realizing you still need two weeks (or more) to get your current place ready before you can list. Once we find a place to buy, I want your current place on the market for sale within a week so we have as much breathing room as possible to sell for the best price we can. It'll be stressful no matter what, but getting your place ready to sell before we've even found your next place will take so much of that pressure off. So if you're gonna buy in 2022 and need to sell a place in order to do so, start prepping your place now.
3 - Start checking out some buildings and neighbourhoods. Even if the perfect unit isn't on the market right now, go check out a few places with your agent (ahem, me ;) and get a vibe for some buildings you were curious about, see if the neighbourhood fits your style, go for lunch or grab a coffee and walk around, etc. I always dread hearing things like "Adil, I love the house/condo but I don't really know the area". You very rarely have the time to get to know a neighbourhood once you've already found the house/condo you love. Now's the time to start getting familiar with a few areas or buildings that may or may not be on your radar so you know what you like.
4 - Keep in touch with your agent. In my mind, the Spring market starts in January. The past few years have seen unbelievable demand for houses and condos as soon as January rolls around so keep in touch with your agent (ahem ahem, me ;) and get a vibe for how active the market is starting off. In December of 2020 one of my favourite clients (you know who you are) said to me "Adil, let me know if you see the market picking up and I'll get more aggressive with my search and stop being so picky". In late 2020, we had all the options in the world and there was no sense of urgency in the condo market. So buyers could be picky. Well, January 2021 rolled around and things really, really picked up, seemingly overnight. So we adjusted our expectations, realized that the prices we saw in late 2020 were gone, and adjusted accordingly. Looking at the market from a month or two ago may not reflect the market today, so it's important to stay current and adjust as needed.
5 - Stop listening to the media. This is sound advice for any time of year but especially when you're just starting your search and everyone around you will be giving you advice on whether it's a good time to buy or not. And that includes the media who, by the way, have never gotten anything right about the housing market, ever. So don't click the headlines and get sucked into the drama. When you work with me, my first advice is always the same: "Don't listen to the media. Don't listen to your uncle who bought a house 20 years ago and thinks the prices today are crazy. Don't listen to your co-worker who has been renting for 5 years waiting for the crash. Listen to me and listen to your gut. Those two will never steer you wrong".
Hopefully this was helpful! Happy Holidays everyone and I'm always here if you need to reach me!
Have you checked out my previous blog posts?
Your Toronto condo lover,
iPro Realty Ltd, Brokerage
Direct: 647-223-1679 (call/text)