No matter what time of year it is or what price range or area a buyer is considering, you can bet there is one question that each has in common — how do I get the best deal when I buy?

Here’s an insight.

The first and most important thing to recognize when it comes to “getting a deal” in today’s GTA real estate market is understanding the market itself.

The most common thing I hear from buyers looking for a deal is that they will hold out until a desperation sale emerges.

The thinking being that someone who can no longer afford their home, or someone who has had a sudden relocation in job, or any number of other reasons that’s forcing them to sell with urgency, will sell well below market value. The thing these buyers often fail to realize is that, setting aside the fact that urgent sales are not nearly as common as they may believe, in today’s market simply pricing your home $5,000 below market value will have it sold within a week.

In other words, there often is no upside to hoping or waiting for a “stress sale.”

The other important thing to understand is that if, as a buyer, your tastes are on the picky side, holding out for a stress sale is not a realistic option because, not only are the chances of a gem being marketed under urgency exceedingly slim, but the chances of such a home selling below market are almost non-existent.

The second most common deal-seeking buyer inclination is to want to concentrate only on power of sale properties.

In a nutshell, a power of sale home is one where the owner has been unable to make mortgage payments, so the bank has taken legal rights over the home.

While power of sale can still present unique opportunities, the deals to be had are not what they once were.

Think about it this way — if people don’t need to sell their homes for less than market value these days, then why on earth would the banks choose to do so?

There are a number of other factors to consider when it comes to power of sale, too much to discuss within the confines of this space, but suffice it to say that power of sale is not as routine a decision for the deal-seeking buyer as many believe it to be.

So the question remains — what’s the best way to get the best deal when buying? The answer lies in understating the process and being comfortable with it. Today, in most areas of the GTA, getting a deal, which once meant securing a home for tens of thousands below market value, more accurately means securing the home that’s very suitable for not a dollar more than market value.

That means being ready, willing and able. Of course, all this preparedness is the responsibility of your realtor, whose job it is, ultimately, to ensure that you do indeed get the best deal possible.

- Please feel free to e-mail Amit at Amit is a Realtor/Developer with Re/Max.

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