The Scott Brothers sat down with Mediaplanet Canada to share their tips for first-time buyers and thoughts on new building trends.

Mediaplanet: How important is preparation and education for first-time buyers when entering the market?

Drew: The more you know going in, the more you can avoid chasing homes that aren’t right for you. First of all, make a list of what you and your family really need in your new home, along with a wish list of non-essentials you’d like to have. Online research is very helpful, but there’s no substitute for exploring actual homes and neighbourhoods. Talk to a few real estate agents to find one you’d like to work with, and drill all of them about the local market. Drive around, go to open houses, and talk to area residents about what’s good and not-so-good. How are the schools? The traffic? Access to shops and other amenities? Is crime an issue?

Jonathan: If you’re looking to buy, be sure to get preapproved for financing, not just prequalified.  This will not only tell you how much you can borrow, it will also let you proceed more quickly when you find a home you like, giving you an edge over buyers who are not as prepared.

MP: Are there are any options for buyers looking for a cheaper alternative to big city condo developments without compromising on quality?

Drew: What a lot of condo buyers don’t realize is that pre-owned condos are still a great option. Typically, you can get more square footage for the same price as a smaller new build. You'll want to do your due diligence to ensure there are no special assessments or added costs due to the age, however this is a great option to get a little more bang for your buck.

Jonathan: Alternatively, moving further from downtown decreases the cost and if you stick to major transit lines you can still access a downtown lifestyle with ease.

MP: What are some of the trends that you’re seeing with new builds?

Drew: We definitely see a lot of mixed-use commercial/residential for a more self-sufficient community feel, as well as ecofriendly condo developments that are net-zero builds. We love seeing builders and buyers who care about the planet as much as we do.  

Jonathan: Some people think they know what they want, but most people only know what they’ve been exposed to. Drew and I have been in real estate for over 20 years. We’re constantly doing research to see what’s trending in design and what’s coming down the pipeline. You have to make sure that you’re not being stubborn.

MP: What are the benefits of buying pre-construction units?

Jonathan: One of the main reasons most people love preconstruction purchases is that it’s typically a small down payment and they don’t have to worry about financing until closer to the end of the build. Also, in a healthy market there's opportunity for equity without actually having to make a single mortgage payment.