Paul Toffoli Vancouver BC REALTOR®

Cell: (604) 787-6963 | EMAIL |


Real Estate Buying Criteria


We're exploring the buying criteria that is so important in choosing the best home for your family with Vancouver award winning realtor Paul Toffoli.

Mark:  Hi, it’s Mark Bossert from Top Local Lead Generation.  We’re here with award winning for the fifth time in a row Vancouver’s best realtor, Mr. Paul Toffoli.  Paul, how are you this morning?


Paul:  I’m feeling really good Mark, thanks very much.


Mark:  So voted by consumers as the best realtor in Vancouver, we have to give the props and congratulations.  That’s very, very cool.  So let’s dig into why you’re the best realtor in Vancouver.  Let’s talk about the real estate buying criteria and how to select a home that’s going to fit me, so how do I select an area?


Paul:  So just to clarify that was the readers of the Georgia Straight that voted me best real estate agent in Vancouver, it’s a nice honor for 2014.  So how do we select criteria for where we want to buy property, whether it’s a place to live in, whether it’s a revenue property or even commercial real estate, what is it we’re looking for.  Let’s talk about a place to live because that’s really the bulk of the people I work with are people who are looking for a home to live in and the first criteria is pretty straight forward; it’s what can I afford, how much money do either, will the bank lend me or how much money do I actually want to spend because believe it or not I have a lot of clients that come to me and say but I can’t believe how much money the banks are willing to lend me.  I don’t want so spend that much money and I’m a person who believes in that.  Don’t spend to your maximum if you don’t have to.  Now that can be very challenging in Greater Vancouver.  We find people are pushed to their maximum whether they want to be or not often, but so the first step is talking to a mortgage broker, talking to your bank, going through the process of getting pre-approved for your financing and that has a couple different aspects to it.  Number one is how much equity do I have for my down payment, so where am I getting my down payment from, is this money that I’ve saved over the years, is this a gift that I received from somebody, is this an inheritance that I have been given or left, is this equity that I have in an existing property, pull equity out of a property that I already own so either by selling that property or what is often what I recommend the client’s is if you own a property that you bought quite a while ago and if you’re able to just pull equity out so do a mortgage where you pull a chunk of cash out of that, keep that property as a rental property for your retirement down the road and then buy something else.  It is a great way to go if you can swing it.   


But getting those ducks in a row so talking to your mortgage broker, going through the analysis, do I want to just put five percent down if that’s all I have which is the minimum you can put down under the current guidelines or do I want to put 20% down so I don’t have to pay CMHC fees or do I want to put a little bit more down.  So that’s number one, finding out what you are able to borrow and how much equity you have or how much cash you have so that you can set your price criteria in a realist spot because there’s really nothing worse than in going out and looking and seeing a bunch of properties in a price rant that you think you can afford and then push comes to shove and you find the one you love and make an offer and the bank says no we’re not going to lend you that much money.  It’s absolutely devastating from an emotional perspective and so why go why go through that.  So get pre approvals in place and tick off all those boxes, that’s number one.  


Then number two is, where do I want to live, what fits my lifestyle.  Am I thinking apartment condo, am I thinking townhouse condo, or am I thinking single family home so that’s number one, am I looking at living in Vancouver or am I looking at East Vancouver, West Side.  Do I need to be near schools, am I the type of person who is comfortable living in a strata property where there’s bylaws and rules and regulations and decisions are made on a consensus basis and I don’t have the final say on decisions or am I a person who really wants to have the final say on what I can do with my property, not in all aspects, there are bylaws and so forth, and can I afford that to buy a single family home, and could be I would rather have a single family home in New Westminster rather than a condo in Vancouver.  Am I a person who’ll use transit, do I want to be near Canada Line or Expo Line or one of the other rapid transit options or am I a person who’s going to be and do I need my car at work, am I going to be commuting.  Am I comfortable commuting from Langley to downtown Vancouver or would I rather be in Squamish. 


So these are just some of the things we work through to try and look at the different options about where and what.


Mark:  So it’s lifestyle maybe even a list of here’s what’s important, I like to hike, I like to ski so maybe the North Shore is a better option or you know I’m more of a golfer so maybe Surrey or South Surrey become better options or Marine Drive, etc., etc., all those things sort of become, make a criteria list of your lifestyle and then and then like you said what are my personal requirements in terms of what kind of a place am I going to live in.  Is that right?


Paul:  Absolutely, and this is something that I go through with my clients regularly and most people by the time they’re sitting down with me have already gone through a list and hopefully they’ll have met with a mortgage broker, if they haven’t I can refer them to one to work with but they’ve already got a sense, if they live in an area that they’re happy with that’s number one.  Most people will sort of have a few different options for different areas, but then it’s about what’s happening in their lives.  Am I about to get married, are we thinking about a family, do we need two bedrooms or three bedrooms, what can we afford in our different areas or  from the other side of the equation often it’s people who are getting ready to downsize.  We’ve been in the family home; we don’t need the four bedroom home anymore.  Are we comfortable moving into a condo, are we comfortable moving out of our neighbourhood or do we really want to stay in our neighbourhood.  So it’s those are the questions that we go through a process and people come to me with a lot of questions around that.  I’ve lived in the Lower Mainland my entire life, I’m really familiar with a lot of different communities and neighbourhoods, I’ll often find I have people who want to look in East Vancouver and North Vancouver because you have similar price points and similar demographics in similar lifestyles in those communities.


So what are the pros and cons of neighbourhoods, what are the schools like, those are all sorts of questions that come up and it’s a process to work through.


Mark:  Sure, that’s great stuff.  I think there’s lots of, this is probably, I don’t want to drag this on too much today because you have lots to do today.  You’re basking in the glory of your latest victory.


Paul:  No basking allowed.


Mark:  So I think next time that we should probably talk about how we can maximize getting the best deals like how to fixer-uppers apply into it since you’ve done contracting and all that kind of stuff, how about rental options within a home.  All those other things that might be a little bit outside of the box but really good options for people to try and make things work in Vancouver for themselves.  So thanks a lot Paul.  We’ve been talking with again award winning best realtor in Vancouver as voted by his clients and the readers of the Georgia Straight, Mr. Paul Toffoli.  You can reach him at or give them a call at 604-787-6963.  Thanks Paul.


Paul:  Thanks Mark.


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