Home Buyers Real Estate

Here’s How to Handle Home Buying Stress

Have you noticed recent discussions about home buying seem to focus on how tough it is to become a first-time home buyer? Or how competitive the market is? Or how stressful the real estate process is in general? It’s no wonder home buying stress is at an all-time high! 

The process is often even more stressful for first-time home buyers learning to navigate the world of real estate.

Becoming a Home Buyer with Less Stress

If you’re looking for ways to handle home buying stress, this is one post you can’t miss! Although these tips are geared toward a first-time home buyer, they also serve as great reminders for those who have gone through the process before. 

Get clear about your budget

When you’re very clear about your budget before you begin your journey, it can save a lot of headaches along the way. It’s also important to remember that your budget will need to include more than just the listing price of a house. 

For example? There are several closing costs and legal fees to account for, and be sure you’re ready to pay them.

That’s why it’s essential to consider what you can truly afford, rather than just what you’re approved for. 

So, even if you’re approved for a $600,000 mortgage, for example, it doesn’t mean you should buy a house for that much. You’ll need to consider the monthly payments that come with it and ensure you’ll still be able to furnish your home and cover other costs. 

Take a look at this post next to learn more about the hidden costs every home buyer needs to know about. 

Create a detailed plan

Isn’t “buy a house” enough of a plan? Not exactly! The budgeting portion of the home buying process, including getting a mortgage pre-approval, can take a few weeks, to begin with. Then, you need to plan to view several homes, find a realtor you trust, pack up your current house, and more.

(Can you list six of the biggest mistakes new homebuyers make in Canada? Visit this post next to see them!)

Here’s a list of some of the things to plan for when you’re buying a house

This includes things like:

  • Mortgage pre-approval
  • Storage for your belongings
  • Hiring movers
  • Affording your down payment
  • Planning for home inspections
  • Relocating out of province or to a new city
  • Listing your current home and preparing it for sale

Working with a real estate agent you trust is a great way to ensure your plan includes all necessary details. And that brings us to our next point!

Work with a real estate agent

Working with a real estate agent is one of the most effective tools at your disposal for managing home buyer stress. Experienced realtors have seen and done it all, and they can help guide you through the process with ease. This is only one reason it’s best to work with a real estate agent rather than buying a home without any professional help. 

(Visit this post next to find out if you really need to hire a real estate agent if you’re buying a house from a friend)

As for finding a real estate agent, you can trust? We’ve made that easy for you! With Souqh, the complete home buying journey is right at your fingertips, anywhere, anytime. Our online storefronts help you find trusted service providers that match your unique needs, along with verified ratings and testimonials from home buyers just like you. 

Click here to sign up for free.


Did you learn a lot about handling home buying stress in this post? Here are three more posts to read next: 

home renovations

6 Questions To Ask Before Tackling A Home Renovation In Toronto

An upcoming home renovation conjures a cocktail of emotions. On one hand you are happy and excited and on the other you can’t shake off that feeling of dread for what unexpected issues the project may turn up.

A home renovation is an opportunity to finally fix the features you have always hated about your house. That boxy layout, low ceilings, and the old windows made the house so inefficient, and the leaky roof that ruined your walls and furniture.

With the excitement also comes the apprehension about the size and complexity of the task that lie ahead of you. Make no mistake, a home renovation is a big, costly project with implications beyond just the look of the property.

To set yourself up for a successful renovation, planning is everything. Without a detailed plan on how the renovation will proceed, the key skills you will need, and how much it will cost, there is a real prospect for disappointment. Answering the following questions will give you a better sense of what you are signing up for before you order any materials:

Are You Renovating Or Remodeling?

Toronto is currently experienced a home renovation boom, principally because of the Covid pandemic that has forced many of us to spend a lot of time at home, either locked down or working from there. But are we all renovating?

There is a difference between a home renovation and a remodel and knowing it will help you make the right planning decisions. To renovate a house is to update it. This can either ne through a fresh coat of paint, siding repair, window or door replacement, changing tapeware, sanding and resealing your wooden floors, etc. It typically makes cosmetic improvements and maintains the overall structure of the house.

A home remodel on the other hand makes a structural alteration to the house. The goal is usually to turn an old house into a new one. It may enlarge or add a room, replace the roof, knock down walls to improve layout, and rearrange the plumbing and electrical wiring.

So knowing the scope of the work involved will help you plan properly and to know what permits, if any, are required. It also informs how you word your contracts with contractors, which helps to prevent disputes.

What Is The Goal Of The Home Renovation?

Home renovations take different forms. Some are a simple matter of sprucing up the exterior with a lick of paint. Others give the property a complete facelift, with a fresh paint job inside out, new floors, a brand new kitchen or bathroom, and new built-in cabinets. The latter is more complex and will require careful planning and budgeting.

Knowing the goal and true scope of the renovation will ensure that you set a realistic budget and timeline for your project. As well the time it takes to do the actual renovation, factor in the time it takes to order materials and have them delivered. A custom bathtub order for example can take a few weeks to close. 

Do You Need A Building Permit?

Typically, a renovation does not require that you pull a building permit with the local planning authority. But it may entail knocking down a cracked wall, replacing a door or window frame, repairing the foundation, and other works that may affect the structural integrity of a house. 

Some of that work may require that you pull a permit with the City of Toronto’s planning department. You may also need to have the work passed off by a building inspector before you proceed with your project. All that adds to the cost and time it will take to complete your home renovation and needs to be planned for.

How Much Time Do You Have?

Some renovations are such that you may not be able to live in the house while the renovation work is ongoing. Paint fumes, dust, and noise can all make it unsafe or uncomfortable to live in the house. 

If you have to seek alternative accomodation for the duration of the renovation, you will have to make arrangements in time. So it is critical that you know in advance how soon you can return home. Again, it is important that you set a realistic timeline for the project. 

Underestimate the work involved in the renovation and you may find yourself stuck between your unfinished new home and the old one that you must vacate. A costly hotel stay may be your only option.

Will The Renovation Affect Vital Services?

Will the renovation interfere with the plumbing or electrical wiring? If so, you will need specilist skills. For any electrical work especially, there are extreme safety risk with the DIY option. Unless you have opted for a turn-key home renovation service with a contractor, you will need to hire fully licensed and insured electricians, plumbers, and builders.

If you will be living in the house while it is under renovation, it is possible that you may have to survive without your municipal water or electricity for some time while technicians fit new hardware or instal equipment. You have to prepare and budget for this.

Do You Have A Plan For The Demolition And Clean-Up?

When setting a timeline for a home renovation it is quite easy to miss the demolition and post-renovation clean-up as two important parts of the project. While renovations aren’t usually as messy and disruptive as remodels, some involve a bit of demolition work that you have to plan for.

The post renovation clean-up also takes time and resources and will, thus, need to be planned for. Do you have the transport for the rubble disposal? If you don’t, that’s another cost you need to budget for. And even if you have a truck that you can use for this, you will need fuel for it and some manpower for the work. It will also mean that you may not be able to move in as early as you envisage.

How Much Of The Work Will You Do Yourself?

Are you taking the DIY route? Doing so may save you some money, but be sure you are not biting more than you can chew. Painting, updating cabinet door and drawer handles, and other light decor stuff are fairly approachable projects if you’re a keen DIYer. But roof, siding, electrical, plumbing, and floor repairs may be out of your wheelhouse.

Attempting tasks for which you lack skills or equipment are best assigned to professionals. To avoid plunging your project into chaos and failure, be ruthlessly honest when assessing your DIY skills. 

So where can you find experienced home renovation contractors in Toronto?

Search Souqh For The Best Local Home Renovation Contractors in Toronto

Horror stories abound about home renovation projects that went off the rails because a property owner hired an inexperienced contractor. And with a renovation project that may entail hiring several different tradesmen, there’s always the chance of making one bad choice.

Souqh is where homeowners in Toronto are turning to for finding trusted local contractors. We are a free-to-use real estate and home services marketplace where you can search, compare estimates, and connect with local contractors. You can vet contractors based on their location, specializations, experience, average response time, and reviews.

Whether you are looking for a builder, plumber, painter, tiler, roofer, or all of them, Souqh is where you should be. Find a qualified and experienced local contractor and get started with you home renovation with confidence here.


6 Costly Mistakes New Homeowners Make In Canada

The home buying process in Canada can be quite overwhelming for first-time buyers. In the stress of it, many inevitably make mistakes. Costly mistakes. Naturally, this is a popular topic of discussion in real estate circles and a lot of advice is available on how to avoid these mistakes.


But perhaps less highlighted are the mistakes first-time homeowners make in the euphoria of closing what for many is the biggest purchase of their lifetime. The mistakes you make in all the excitement can come back to bite you and can even affect your home’s resale value.


Now that you have been handed the keys to your new home, you should be enthusiastic to start putting your personal stamp on the property. Tread with caution; the mistakes we will highlight below can quickly deflate your enthusiasm and punch a large hole in your pocket:

1. Over-personalizing Renovations


Every new homeowner longs to see themselves when they look at their new homes. The challenge though is your wishes for a home that truly represents your tastes and style can be too far removed from what is practically achievable.


In your attempt to personalize your new home, you may end up overdoing it. Instead of a tasteful modern home, the final result could show a mess of mismatched colours, poorly chosen fixtures, and awkward room layouts. 


That would be OK if this is your forever home. As you will realize, though, very few are. Potential homebuyers may find your quirky decor taste entirely unfashionable. So always consider how a potential buyer may perceive the space and avoid being too bold when renovating. 


Besides interior designers, the best people to consult on colour selection are professional home painters. Because they have worked on many similar projects before, home painters have a good idea of what colour schemes appeal to most people. 


Crucially, unlike interior decorators, painters are more likely to consult for free if you ask politely and especially when they know they’re getting the painting contract. Search Souqh for a curated selection of professional home painters in any city in Canada.

2.Making Major Renovations Too Soon



As a new homeowner, you will have a lot of ideas on what the home must look like. Oftentimes this entails making both cosmetic and structural alterations to the home. 


But it’s important not to rush into any major renovation or remodel and give yourself time to settle in and get a full appreciation of the home’s features. This way you will know what you need to prioritize to improve both the efficiency and curb appeal of your new home. You will likely find that a new roof or more energy-efficient windows are a more urgent project than a new bathroom. 


So for the first year at least, it may be wiser to focus your budget on smaller repairs. Get a home repair and maintenance professional to come in and access the condition of the home and identify repairs and maintenance areas the previous homeowner may have neglected. 


After you have lived in the new home for a while, you will be better acquainted with its features and problem areas and, thus, more prepared to tackle a major renovation or remodel with confidence.


3. Under-budgeting


Another issue you will run into when you plow into a major renovation project too soon after moving into your new house is not budgeting enough money. Because you have not given yourself time to fully acquaint yourself with your new home, there are issues you will only discover after you have already started the project. These are issues you will not have budgeted for.


For example, remodeling the kitchen when the roof above it leaks badly. Whether or not you discover that the roof leaks during or after the kitchen remodel, you have to get it repaired. Otherwise, the leak will ruin the new ceiling, walls, and floors. Needless to say, this throws your budget off, which can derail the entire renovation project.


4. Spending Too Much Money On A Renovation Project


wasting money


Renovations and remodels are costly and can often run beyond their budget. This is especially true for new homeowners who lack prior renovation experience. The issue here isn’t necessarily that you will run out of money before the project is completed. Rather, the danger is you may spend more than you can recover if you decide or are forced to sell the home.


Spending more than you can recover represents a financial loss. So as a new homeowner, it is important to take a step back and work out how much you will have to spend to bring the house to your desired level of comfort, luxury features, overall efficiency, and curb appeal. Then decide if it is an investment you will be able to recoup.


After all, a house is ultimately worth what someone is willing to pay for it, not how much you have invested in it. Factors like location and the current state of the market all intervene and mean some renovations don’t always guarantee a return.


5. Not Pulling Required Permits


At Souqh, we invest considerable resources in vetting and verifying service providers that list on our platform. We do this to make sure you get the best advice and service in your city. We know how many new homeowners have ended up on the wrong side of planning permission bylaws after trusting the advice of inexperienced and fly-by-night contractors.


One of the common mistakes new homeowners have been misadvised into making is not pulling permits before tackling remodels. Depending on several factors, local bylaws may require you to pull building permits and request planning permission before undertaking certain home renovations projects. Not doing so attracts fines and, in some cases, demolition orders that can ruin you financially.


6. Not Hiring A Professional




Of course, failing to obtain building permits may be entirely your fault. In most cases, it is because you take the DIY route and neglect to check with the local city authority and find out if or not you will need a building permit for your project. In other cases, you simply bite more than you can chew.


That’s not to say there aren’t home renovation projects you can tackle on your own. Many may fall right within your wheelhouse. That said, a professional contractor will do the work faster, more efficiently, and as a result, possibly at a lower cost. 


More importantly, you can utilize a professional contractor’s experience and consult with them on issues including building permits, scheduling of the renovation, and where to get cheaper raw materials. 


When you work with the contractors in the Souqh database, you can be sure that they will only start work after every necessary permit has been pulled. They do this because their reputations rest on that efficiency and due diligence. Furthermore, you will know that the work will be done right the first time.


[Bonus] Unfinished Renovation Projects



The costliest consequence of biting more than you can chew, under-budgeting, and failing to obtain building permits is that the project may stall. This setback may prove too much to overcome. 


When a renovation stalls, not only do you risk the money you had already sunk into the project, but the unfinished home may also become less livable and end up consuming too much energy. The unfinished parts of the house may also become safety hazards.

Simplify Home Ownership With Souqh


Finally opening doors to your first home is a major milestone and achievement for anyone. It feels particularly sweet when you consider all the struggles you went through saving up for the deposit, securing the mortgage loan, and filing all the paperwork you had to submit. 


But that can all turn bittersweet if, in your excitement, you make the mistakes we have highlighted above. Fortunately, Souqh has all the contractors you need to create the home of your dreams in one place. 


Search Souqh for all the home repair and renovation services you need and enjoy all the benefits of homeownership without spending too much money.