No doubt about it, buying a home in Toronto can be expensive. Even when the market isn’t at its hottest, it can still be difficult to find a living space that meets your needs at a price you can manage. For many buyers, affordability ends somewhere around $1 million. While you may not find the absolute perfect home for this amount, you can find some highly-attractive properties with a whole lot of potential.

If you’re looking to purchase a beautiful home in Toronto under the $1 million mark, here are a few tips for meeting your goal…

Consider a condo or townhouses

BBQs on the deck, gardening in your own backyard, and the freedom to renovate as much as you want. Does it get any better than owning a house? Unfortunately, Toronto’s real estate market has put the dream of single-family homeownership firmly out of reach for many buyers. The good news is, condos and townhouses are (on average) significantly less expensive than standalone homes. If you’re willing to consider these options, your chances of finding a property that checks most of your boxes for under $1 million dollars becomes much higher.

The right freehold townhouse can provide you with your own indoor and outdoor space. All you’ll share with your neighbours is a wall or two—and depending on the sound-proofing, you may not even notice their presence. If you like open-concept layouts, a spacious modern condo might meet your needs just as well. Increasingly, developers are making more family-friendly units—something worth looking into if you’re in the market.

Be open to different neighbourhoods

In Toronto’s rapidly-changing market, it’s easy to get priced out of your ideal area. Just a few years ago, buying a well-maintained house in the Junction for under $1 million wouldn’t have been a pipe dream. Today, your options in this ultra-hip neighbourhood are far more limited.

The good news is, you’ll still find up-and-coming pockets in the city. I’m talking about places where the homes have potential, and there are plenty of popular shops, eateries, parks, and schools just a short jaunt away. Junction Triangle is a great example. Situated between the Junction, Roncesvalles, and Bloordale Village, this neighbourhood-on-the-rise is near some of the trendiest parts of Toronto. It’s close to transit, and (while it’s well on its way to being a home-hunting hotspot), there are still some great deals to be found under the $1 million mark.

Pro tip: generally speaking, you’ll find more reasonable prices in neighbourhoods where homes are on the smaller side.

Be flexible about transportation

It’s a well-established fact: living directly on the subway line is going to cost you. Time and again, studies show that as you move further away from major transit stations, home prices and rents tend to go down. While this may sound great from an affordability perspective, the result is often a longer daily commute. I’ve seen buyers outright reject gorgeous homes near their ideal neighbourhoods because the route to work or the downtown core wasn’t completely straightforward.

Fortunately, it’s entirely possible to find a balance between affordability and convenience. When it comes to tiny sacrifices that can help you save a bundle, think about different potential transit routes. Are you willing to hop on a bus before you transfer over at the subway station? If so, it could help you find a home with a lower sticker price that meets your criteria.

Work with an agent who moves quickly

When you’re searching for your ideal home at a price you’ll be happy with, remember that countless other Torontonians are out doing the same thing. Gems listed at under $1 million tend to ignite bidding wars, and they usually get snapped up quickly.

Having an experienced, dedicated, and highly-responsive agent in your corner can make all the difference. I’m talking about someone who knows about properties as soon as they go on the market. This is the real estate professional who gets in touch with you immediately when they find a home matching your criteria, who encourages you to be decisive—and stands by to negotiate with sellers at a moment’s notice. The best way to determine how committed an agent will be is to talk to them. During the interview process, ask about workloads and response times.

Don’t give up!

Last but certainly not least, be ready to persevere. I can’t tell you how many Torontonians enter into one bidding war after another (and lose) before finally finding a wonderful place to call home. Sometimes, all it takes is a little bit of time—and some expert guidance from an agent who knows the market, inside and out.

Before you start looking for your next home, prepare yourself mentally. Take it from me: while home hunting in Toronto can be discouraging, nothing compares to the feeling of finally finding the right house, condo, or townhome.

Looking for the right home at a price you can afford? I can help you explore your options. Get in touch, and we can set up a time to discuss your needs!