Expanding Your Family: Moving Up for More Space

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So, you've finally met the perfect life partner and now need a little more space than when you were single? Or maybe you've decided to expand your family with the addition of children or a dog?

If so, the Julie Kinnear Team can help with both the SELLING of your current home, and the FINDING of that new home... the perfect place where to make memories together.

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But before upgrading to a bigger home, there are a number of important considerations to ponder. And nowhere is this truer than in Toronto, Canada's largest city, where the average price for a detached home has now surpassed the million-dollar mark. Yet although Toronto boasts over 2½ million souls and a hot real estate market with prices to match, there are still plenty of excellent opportunities for an upward move for those on the lookout.

Sometimes, however, the question is whether to buy first, or sell first? That's where the Julie Kinnear Team can help you make those crucial strategic decisions.

"Toronto certainly does have a very hot housing market right now," says Julie Kinnear, an agent with Keller Williams Neighbourhood Realty who's based in the heart of Toronto. "It's still a young city, with many young professionals, both new immigrants and locals, who over the coming years will want to move up to something bigger. And larger dwellings are going up in value as demand dictates."

According to Kinnear, buyers need to consider all options, and not just the traditional family home we're all familiar with.

"Not everyone can afford to move up to a large detached home, at least not right away," she says. "There are in fact different options worth looking at that could accommodate the need for more space, and our team can help you explore everything from two- or three-bedroom townhouses to semis or attached homes."

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Kids Room by Boa-Franc

Kinnear is also quick to point out that many of Toronto's older, established condo buildings are set in beautiful neighbourhoods and offer great value with often larger living spaces.

"I do think that what's missing from some of the new-build condos popping up all over Toronto is that they don't offer a lot of square footage and space," she says. "I like to imagine Toronto becoming more like the big international cities like Paris, where it's common for families to grow up in an apartment style environment. That's certainly possible in these older, larger condo units."

Consider your options

As with any real estate decision, Kinnear suggests that you consider the sell along with the buy – something that helps a great deal when you're ready to make an offer, along with being prepared if the offer is accepted. And, says Kinnear, it's as important when looking to move to a larger home to carefully consider not only your immediate needs but, as far as is possible, your future needs.

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DIY Triangle Lamp Shade by Stacie

"Remember, this is a big investment, and it's very expensive to buy and sell in the Toronto market," she says. "It'll likely be the home you stay in for quite a while, where your kids are going to grow up, so you want to get it right So think ahead. Talk about how many kids you want. And will you have pets? What are your long-term needs? "

The following are some of the most important questions Kinnear says should be asked when the time comes to make the move to a larger family home:

  • Is there room for expansion? Consider a property with a basement or attic that could be converted into additional living space.
  • How many kids, and how soon? If you can afford it, allocate a bedroom per child – come those tricky teen years they'll definitely want space of their own.
  • Is there space to grow, and places to play? There's a lot to be said for giving the kids some outdoor space to play in (not to mention the peace of mind knowing they're safely confined to your own property). And check out the nearby parks, open spaces and even laneways, all of which are popular places where kids like to congregate. Another potential benefit is the opportunity to use a yard for an addition to the home (be sure to check local bylaws – or ask your Julie Kinnear Team realtor, they'll know how to get this info quickly).
  • Is it pet friendly? Growing families can also mean adding pets. While yards are always a plus, many condo developers are getting savvier and adding extremely creative solutions, including condo terraces and balconies with features specifically designed for pet use.
  • Is the neighbourhood right for you? The Julie Kinnear Team specializes in homes in the heart of Toronto, and can help you with this critical question. Of course, schools are an important consideration, and Kinnear's team can help guide you by providing details of a school's reputation in terms of safety as well as academic achievement. They can also help you learn more about services such as daycare, as well as off-leash dog parks, sports facilities and libraries.
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Backyard garden by Gary J. Wood

"A big part of the home buying and selling equation is understanding it's all a very fine balancing act," says Kinnear, adding: "Our team can help you through the process, ensuring you're guided and protected along the way by a true professional. For example, there's always the question of should you sell first, or buy first? We help our clients figure out the best and worse case in each scenario."

Continues Kinnear: "We consider ourselves consultants rather than sales people, so our job is to guide you to the right outcome for you and your family. We're here to help you avoid the pitfalls that can happen in this crazy Toronto real estate market! And we have a lot of experience with clients who need more space, many of whom are always willing to share their stories with prospective clients."

To learn more about buying or selling a larger family home, contact the Julie Kinnear team for a free consultation and advice on navigating Toronto's hot real estate market.

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